EMP protection hasn’t quite made it onto the radar of “things you should worry about” for the general public. Too many people are concerned about the unlikelier scenario of a direct nuclear attack.
But an attack from an electromagnetic pulse poses a more disturbing scenario than nuclear war. Here’s why.
Most countries that have nuclear weapons understand dropping them on a country, especially another nuclear power, could result in full-scale extinction. No winners, in other words.
But an EMP attack is realistic. And it could be targeted in a way to cause prolonged suffering. In the following article, we’ll explain how.
We’ll also tell you what you can do about it. Let’s get started!
What Is EMP?
As touched on above, EMP stands for electromagnetic pulse. It can occur naturally or through manmade means.
It consists of a “pulse” of electromagnetic radiation. A detonated nuclear weapon can create one with far-reaching effects as can an intense solar storm.
The pulse could actually shut down power grids. This would essentially set society back hundreds of years for reasons we’re about to discuss in more detail within the next section.
How Would an Electromagnetic Pulse Attack Work?
Intense, increasing levels of activity from the sun are probably the scariest scenarios. That’s because an attack of such kind would be more difficult to see coming.
But it’s also possible an undisciplined nuclear power like North Korea could launch an attack on a more industrialized nation by exploding a nuclear missile in space over key power grids. If this were to occur, it could shut down electricity and electrical components in huge metropolitan centers like the eastern and western United States.
What Is the Fallout?
Consider for a moment how every aspect of our modern lives depends on electricity and electronics in general. From modern policing to day-to-day communications to manufacturing, the order of society is predicated on access to electricity.
Being forced to live without it in an abrupt scenario like the two described above would put millions of lives in jeopardy. And the more advanced our technologies get, the worse the overall impact would be.
Just imagine a grocery store trying to stop frantic customers from stealing food and other necessities. In a city of millions, it would create food shortages, riots, and desperation that couldn’t help but devolve into violence.
EMPs are among the many threats the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) plans for in their crisis-planning modules.
The organizational focus: how do you access resources and manage them in the event of a widespread catastrophe? Catastrophes would not get any more “widespread” than the kind caused by an EMP attack.
In the next section, we’ll talk a bit more about the steps the government is taking to address the issue. Spoiler alert: it’s not enough.
Preventative Measures As a Society
As a society, FEMA is just one of many organizations that plan on reactive measures in the event of a large “event” like the kind an EMP attack would be. They have created the “ICS,” or Incident Command System.
ICS has a three-fold purpose. It goes like this:
- Protect life
- Protect property and the environment
- Manage resources
Additionally, the US and other governments are investing more in missile defense systems than ever before. This would do a little to prevent a violent attack caused by an intense solar storm. But it can prevent crippling attacks from other countries.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) also has a helpful list of musts that any government would be wise to read up on. You can find those here.
That’s at least some peace of mind. But individuals need to also face the reality that governments and best-laid plans sometimes fail. In the next section, we’ll talk about specific steps you can take to protect yourself in and from an EMP attack.
Individual Steps for Surviving an EMP Attack
One step you can take that the US military already does to protect their electronics is to invest in some type of EMP protection cover. At the consumer level, there are several brands to choose from, including Ska Direct, the Faraday EMP Protection bag and related products, and EMP Defender.
Aside from the gear, you need to think about survival. An EMP attack could last anywhere from weeks to years. So get ready by focusing on the following.
1. Clean Water and Sanitary Measures
Water is one of the key building blocks of all life. You can’t survive without it. And you can’t survive if the water you’re drinking isn’t free from harmful parasites.
Make sure you keep enough water on-hand in the event of a shutdown. One hundred gallons for each member of your household is not excessive.
Furthermore, you’ll need to study up on how to treat water. Consider investing in a top-of-the-line water filter for just such an emergency.
You also should consider an alternative route for sanitation as an EMP attack would shut down the large mass treatment facilities. These guarantee clean water from your faucets and toilets, and their absence would put you in danger of dysentery and other infectious diseases.
2. Alternative Power Sources
The best thing you can invest in for alternative power, especially in the event of an EMP attack, is a solar power generator. The sun will continue to make life on earth habitable.
So harness it to your advantage, and keep your electronics well-stocked with juice through the event.
3. Rest and Physical Fitness
The relationship between sleep and physical fitness is a close one. You work out during the day, tearing down those muscles.
At night, you go to sleep, and it’s during this process the body heals and comes back stronger than before.
Don’t let your physical fitness and sleep go just because the grid’s down. Keep at it. And if you need to, make sure someone always is standing watch so you can continue to protect the resources you do have.
4. Defense Measures
An EMP event leaves uncertainty. It takes time to know when, or if, things will get back to “normal.” You have to assume this uncertainty might bring out the worst in people.
Therefore, make sure your home is stocked with something that would allow you to defend it.
- Guns and ammo
- Pepper spray
- HAM Radios or Walkie-talkies (hopefully ones that you had EMP protection for!)
Obey the laws of the land when purchasing a weapon for security. But get something and make sure it’s stored securely, away from young children especially.
Keep lots of canned goods. Have a manual can opener on-hand. Also, don’t be afraid to use guns or crossbows to “live off the land” for a while.
After all, animals are impervious to EMP attacks. Creatures like deer will have the same overpopulation problems that drive down the health of the overall heard regardless of what happens to our power grid.
By hunting responsibly, you can keep your family fed. And you can do it while helping prevent the outbreak of disease and malnutrition among overcrowded species.
6. Medical Training and Supplies
Not everyone has to be a nurse or a Julliard-trained doctor. But you should have some basic medical knowledge as well as some helpful medical books to help you address emergencies.
Of course, first-aid kits are a given. The American Red Cross provides suggestions for the kit belonging to a family of four at this link.
But you also need to know how to perform CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, in the event you need to provide life-saving care to one of your party. No one wants to be in a scenario where they lose a loved one due to a preventable lack of knowledge.
And if you think emergency rooms can help you in an EMP attack, think again. They’re overcrowded as it is, and a week or two with no power won’t help that situation one little bit.
So many cars depend on electronics today that virtually anything built in the last few years would be worthless in the event of EMPs hitting the power grid. Invest in other means instead.
- Vehicles that don’t rely heavily on electronics
- Good old-fashioned footwear as you’ll be walking a lot more
You can’t assume your home will be a safe-haven as the EMP-caused outage progresses. And you can’t afford to ignore some alternative scenarios for how you’d maintain mobility with your family intact.
One suggestion: find a community of like-minded people. Travel in packs. Watch out for each other until the situation is resolved.
Without electronics, you’ll have a hard time enjoying the movies, television, and music you’ve come to take for granted. So keep a well-stocked library.
And maybe leave a little room for an outdoor survival guide in your wagon!
EMP Protection Is the Investment You Don’t Want to Make
However, without EMP protection, you leave yourself vulnerable in all kinds of ways, up to and including your very existence? Take the steps now, and you’ll make sure you’re never caught in a panic should the unthinkable happen.
Good luck! And be sure to check out more of our life tips over at the blog.