What is EMP? You’ve seen it in movies, read it in books, and most probably heard about it in the news. EMP, or electromagnetic pulse, is caused by the rapid acceleration of charged particles resulting in a high-frequency burst of electromagnetic energy. This burst of energy will take out anything electronic such as power grids, radios, computers, mobile phones, household appliances, and basically everything that relies on electrical power. The extent of damage will depend on the size of the EMP, as well as your proximity to the burst. There are generally two types of EMP: natural and man-made. Natural EMPs happen during a solar flare or a geomagnetic storm, while a man-made EMP refers to those produced when detonating nuclear weapons.
Real world implications
During short-term grid-down situations following hurricanes and earthquakes, you often see people panicking and rushing to the store to buy supplies. When store supplies run out, most people turn to looting and sometimes even home invasions to get the items they need to survive. Now, imagine what would happen if the power grid and communication infrastructures were down for not only days, but months or years. Mass rioting, martial law, and city wide destruction are all possible scenarios following an EMP attack.
Preparing for an EMP attack
The key to surviving an EMP attack depends on how prepared you are. Here’s a list that may help you and your loved ones prepare for an EMP attack.
- Protect your electrical devices. One useful item to help shield your devices from the effects of an EMP is a Faraday cage. A Faraday cage is a conductive structure that can protect digital devices from electromagnetic pulses. Most preppers build their own Faraday cages, while others use old microwave ovens or tightly sealed metal garbage cans.
- Invest in a generator. Before an EMP knocks out the power grid, it’s a good idea to have a generator ready in advance for possible grid-down scenarios. It will provide you with a limited source of power while the grid is being repaired.
- Food. Most of the food you have refrigerated or frozen will likely spoil in the days after an EMP attack, which is why you should start stocking up on freeze-dried and imperishable food. If you have a large enough space, you can start planting crops and raising livestock to ensure you have a steady and easily accessible supply of food.
- Water. Just like with food, stocking up on water before it’s gone is an important step in preparing for an EMP attack. Rain barrels are sold online and are perfect for helping you gather rain water. If you’re planning to bug out, make sure that you have water purification tablets or a Katadyn water purification system. You can purchase purification tablets and Katadyn systems at various online stores.
- Medicine. Make sure you stock up on over-the-counter medicine as well as first aid kits in case someone gets sick or is injured. You can take first aid and medical training offered by your local vocational tech schools, or you can sign up for the training programs offered by Red Cross.
- Tools and other supplies. It’s always good to keep basic tools such as a hammer, a set of screwdrivers, utility knives, and duct tape in case you need to do carpentry or repair work. Flashlights, batteries, and solar-powered devices will surely come in handy as well once the power goes out.