Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks can have devastating effects on our modern-day society. The EMP, whether from a natural source such as a solar flare or man-made such as a nuclear weapon, can knock out all electronic devices within its range, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. The consequences of such an event can range from widespread power outages to complete societal collapse.
As a prepper or survivalist, it is important to understand the dangers of EMPs and how to protect yourself and your family from the aftermath. In this article, we will discuss the different types of EMPs, their potential consequences, and how to defend against them in detail.
Types of Electromagnetic Pulses
There are three main types of EMPs: nuclear, solar, and non-nuclear.
Nuclear EMPs are the result of a high-altitude nuclear explosion. The blast sends out a powerful electromagnetic wave that can travel thousands of miles, frying all electronic devices in its path. This type of EMP is the most destructive and is a major concern for many governments around the world. A nuclear EMP attack could be carried out by a rogue state or non-state actor, and the effects would be widespread and long-lasting. The EMP would cause a sudden and complete loss of power, rendering all electronic devices useless. This would include not just consumer electronics like cell phones and computers but also critical infrastructure like power grids and communication networks.
Solar EMPs, also known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), are caused by solar flares from the sun. These flares release massive amounts of energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation, which can disrupt or damage electronic devices on Earth. While solar EMPs are less destructive than nuclear EMPs, they can still have significant impacts on our power grids and communications systems. A large solar EMP event, also known as a “Carrington event“, occurs once every 500 to 1,000 years and can have devastating effects on our technology-dependent society.
Non-nuclear EMPs are caused by weapons that generate a strong electromagnetic field without using a nuclear explosion. These devices can be used in a variety of applications, including military operations, electronic warfare, and even cyber-attacks. Non-nuclear EMPs can be used to disrupt enemy communications and disable their electronics, making them an attractive tool for military operations. However, they can also be used by terrorists to cause widespread chaos and destruction.
Consequences of Electromagnetic Pulses
An EMP attack or a major solar EMP event can have far-reaching consequences. Some of the most significant effects include:
- Power outages: EMPs can knock out power grids, leaving entire cities without electricity for weeks or even months. This would mean no lights, no air conditioning, and no refrigeration for food. It would also render electronic devices useless, as they would no longer be able to recharge.
- Communications failures: All electronic communications systems, including cell phones, radios, and the Internet, can be disabled. This would mean no access to information, no ability to communicate with others, and no way to coordinate a response.
- Transportation disruptions: Automobiles, trains, and airplanes can all be affected, making transportation nearly impossible. This would mean no way to evacuate affected areas, no way to transport food and supplies, and no way to travel for medical assistance.
- Food and water shortages: With no electricity, food, and water supplies can quickly run out, leading to widespread famine and disease. This is especially dangerous in densely populated areas where food and water supplies may only last a few days.
- Societal collapse: The consequences of an EMP can be catastrophic, leading to the collapse of society as we know it. With no power, communications, or transportation, it would be difficult to coordinate a response and provide aid to those in need. This could lead to widespread panic, looting, and other forms of violence and chaos. In addition, without access to critical services like healthcare and emergency responders, the death toll could be staggering.
EMP events we know of so far
Electromagnetic Pulse events have occurred throughout history as a result of various sources. Some of the most notable EMP events include:
- 1942 Blackout of Los Angeles: A blackout occurred during World War II after a false alarm was sounded. It was believed that the EMP from anti-aircraft artillery may have been the cause.
- Starfish Prime: On July 9, 1962, a nuclear bomb was detonated high above the Pacific Ocean, resulting in an EMP that affected Hawaii over 800 miles away.
- 1967 Carrington Event: A solar storm caused a massive EMP that affected telegraph systems throughout the world. It was the largest geomagnetic storm ever recorded.
- 1972 Operation HARDTACK I: A nuclear bomb test caused an EMP that damaged electrical equipment in Hawaii.
- 1989 Quebec Power Outage: A geomagnetic storm caused an EMP that resulted in a widespread power outage in Quebec, Canada.
- 1998 Hugo Event: A geomagnetic storm caused an EMP that affected power grids in Sweden and Finland.
- 2012 Solar Storm: A solar storm caused an EMP that resulted in a partial blackout in Sweden and a temporary loss of GPS signals.
- 2014 Ice Storm in South Quebec: A winter storm caused power outages and widespread damage to the electrical grid, including the failure of transformers, due to an EMP.
- 2017 Solar Storm: A solar storm caused an EMP that resulted in the failure of a high-voltage transformer in South Africa.
These events demonstrate the potential for EMPs to cause widespread power outages and damage to electrical systems. EMPs can also pose a threat to military and aerospace equipment, as well as critical infrastructure such as power grids, communication systems, and transportation systems. It is important to be aware of the potential consequences of EMPs and to take steps to protect critical infrastructure and valuable equipment.
Defending Against Electromagnetic Pulses
While the consequences of an EMP attack or event can be devastating, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family. Here are some steps to help you prepare:
- Invest in Faraday cages: Faraday cages are metal containers that are designed to block electromagnetic fields. They can be used to protect electronic devices from EMPs by surrounding them with a conductive material, such as aluminum foil or metal mesh. You can create your own Faraday cage by lining a metal box with aluminum foil and sealing it with metal tape. Alternatively, you can purchase pre-made Faraday cages designed for specific items like cell phones or laptops.
- Store non-electronic backups: In the event of an EMP, you’ll need to have backup systems in place. This includes things like non-electronic tools, manual generators, and communication devices like walkie-talkies. Make sure to store these items in a Faraday cage or other protective container to keep them safe.
- Have a plan for food and water: In the aftermath of an EMP, food and water supplies could be limited. Stockpiling food and water is one way to prepare, but you’ll also need to have a plan for how to obtain more in the event of a long-term power outage. This may include having a garden, hunting, and fishing equipment, and knowing how to purify water.
- Have a plan for transportation: In the event of an EMP, transportation could be disrupted. Consider having a bicycle or other non-electric mode of transportation available, as well as backup fuel for vehicles that may still be operational.
- Get involved in your community: In the aftermath of an EMP, it will be important to have a strong community to rely on. Consider joining a local survivalist or prepper group, where you can network and share resources with others who are also preparing.
Building a Faraday Cage: Step-by-Step Guide
A Faraday cage is a metal enclosure that is designed to protect electronic devices from electromagnetic fields, including EMPs. Here is a step-by-step guide to building your own Faraday cage:
- Gather materials: You’ll need the following materials to build your Faraday cage: metal box (such as a metal trash can, ammo can, or toolbox), aluminum foil, metal tape, and any electronic devices you want to protect.
- Line the box: Cut a piece of aluminum foil that is large enough to cover the entire interior of the box. Carefully place the foil on the inside of the box, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles or creases. The aluminum foil should completely cover the walls, floor, and ceiling of the box.
- Seal the seams: Use metal tape to seal any seams or gaps in the aluminum foil. This will ensure that there are no holes or openings in the Faraday cage that could allow electromagnetic fields to penetrate.
- Place devices inside: Place your electronic devices inside the Faraday cage, making sure that they are not touching the sides of the box or the aluminum foil. This will prevent the devices from short-circuiting.
- Seal the lid: Close the lid of the box and use metal tape to seal any gaps or seams. This will complete the Faraday cage and protect your electronic devices from electromagnetic fields.
- Test the Faraday cage: To test the Faraday cage, try turning on one of your electronic devices while it is inside the cage. If it does not work, then your Faraday cage is working as intended.
Note: To provide maximum protection, it is best to use a metal box that is as large as possible. This will reduce the chance of electromagnetic fields penetrating the Faraday cage, as well as provide more room for your electronic devices.
In conclusion, building a Faraday cage is a simple and inexpensive way to protect your electronic devices from EMPs. By following these steps, you can ensure that your devices are protected and ready to use in the event of an EMP attack or other electromagnetic event.
Alternative options to protect your home against an EMP
There are a variety of commercial products available for protecting against Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) events, including:
- Faraday Bags: Faraday bags are typically made of conductive materials and are designed to shield electronic devices from electromagnetic fields, including EMPs. Faraday bags can be purchased in a variety of sizes to fit different types of electronic devices.
- Faraday Boxes: Faraday boxes are similar to Faraday bags, but are larger and are designed to protect larger electronic devices, such as computers or backup generators.
- Faraday Cages: Faraday cages are structures that are made of conductive materials and are designed to protect against EMPs. Faraday cages can be purchased in various sizes and are often used to protect large electronic devices, such as backup generators or electrical panels.
- EMP-protected power strips: EMP-protected power strips are designed to protect electronic devices from damage during an EMP event by automatically disconnecting from the power grid.
- EMP-protected surge protectors: EMP-protected surge protectors are designed to protect electronic devices from power surges, including those caused by EMPs.
- EMP Blankets: EMP blankets are typically made of conductive materials, such as metalized fabric, and are designed to shield electronic devices from electromagnetic fields, including Electromagnetic Pulses (EMPs). They work by wrapping the device in the conductive material, creating a Faraday cage-like barrier that protects against electromagnetic interference. EMP blankets can be used to protect a wide range of devices, including cell phones, laptops, generators, and more.
It is important to note that the effectiveness of commercial EMP protection products may vary and that the full extent of their potential impact is not yet fully understood. It is recommended that you carefully research the products you are considering and choose those that best meet your needs. Additionally, it is recommended that you take steps to protect critical infrastructure and valuable equipment by using Faraday cages or Faraday bags, where appropriate.
An EMP attack or event can have devastating consequences, but by taking the right steps to prepare, you can protect yourself and your family. Investing in Faraday cages, storing non-electronic backups, having a plan for food and water, having a plan for transportation, and getting involved in your community are all important steps to take. By being proactive and taking EMP defense seriously, you can increase your chances of survival in the event of an EMP.
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