What Exactly is an EMP?
An EMP is an electromagnetic pulse, or a short burst of magnetic energy. While the acronym “EMP” typically calls to mind images of disaster, lightning, which is largely benign, is actually a type of EMP. The two types of EMPs that fall into the “disastrous” category are Coronal Mass Injections (Solar Flares) and Nuclear EMPs deployed by a military or rogue actor. EMPs of these varieties would cause devastation including, but not limited to, the below examples:
- All electrically powered devices will shut down
- Fires may ignite as a result of electrical surges
- Planes may fall out of the sky
- Nuclear generators will not be able to cool, resulting in nuclear explosions
- Hysteria will ensue
Nuclear EMP: A Very Real Threat
Governments have increasingly invested in their military capabilities, making military-grade nuclear EMPs a very real possibility. These EMPs can be deployed on missiles, follow nuclear bombs, and dropped from drones. Geopolitical tensions continue to escalate, so it’s important to prepare for a weaponized EMP. Below are 5 things to do to survive an EMP:
1. Get to a Secure Location
If you don’t have a bunker, then it’s important that you ensure your home is secure following The Event. You should have a deadbolt on your front door and plenty of strong wood to board your windows and other vulnerabilities in your home. Alternatively, if you do have a bunker or other secure location away from your primary residence, execute your escape plan and head there ASAP. An EMP will nearly guarantee your car will be out of commission, so it’s important to factor this in.
2. Stock up on Food and Water
Your secure location should be stocked with non-perishable food and water. EMPs knock out all electrical devices, so the food in your refrigerator will quickly spoil. It’s wise to have canned food, food pouches, bars, and other such means of nourishment that can sustain you in times of crisis. I also recommend investing in a wood stove. Bottled water and water filters are also necessities. There are plenty of food supply kids available for purchase, like the Red Cross’s 4 person 72 hour food supply kit.
3. Devise an Escape Plan
All preppers should have escape plans in anticipation of an EMP. If your home is not secure from potential threats, you’ll need to escape to your secure location. A bug-out bag should be packed beforehand and you should plan the logistics of getting to your destination. EMPs will very likely render cars inoperable, so you’ll likely need to escape to your secure location on foot. Any good escape plan should account for an EMP.
4. Ensure your Security/Protection
I discussed above the value in ensuring the security of your home. Prepping is practiced among pessimists, so I don’t expect people to be rationally minded following an EMP attack. You should protect yourself with guns and be trained to use them. I also recommend training for hand to hand and knife combat.
5. Build a Faraday Cage
Faraday cages, named after the late English scientist, Michael Faraday, protect electronic equipment from electrical charges. Any vital electronics you want to survive an EMP should be stored within a Faraday cage. I suggest putting your electronics in plastic bags, which are wrapped in multiple layers of aluminum foil. These items should be surrounded by cardboard and placed in a metal trash can. Be careful to prevent your items from touching the metal trash can.
Get smart about EMPs! One Second After by William Forstchen should be required reading for anyone even remotely interested in learning about EMPs. While this is a fiction novel and slightly exaggerated, the book provokes the reader to think further about his safety following an EMP attack. Preppers willing to invest the time and money should consider generators, fuel, and analog devices (wind up radios, mechanical watches, etc.) There is nothing impractical about being prepared. If you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment below or contact me. You can also find other Forstchen books and survival gear in the Bunker Basics Store.