Estimated reading time: 16 minutes
The United States has conducted five atomic weapons tests in outer space. On July 9th, 1962 they conducted a test that would become known as Starfish Prime. The test was done in the Pacific and exploded so high that it devastated the satellites that were orbiting the earth.
It wasn’t the explosion that mangled the satellites, it was the electromagnetic energy. The blast even affected electronics down in Hawaii. This gave developers of these weapons a peek into the potential of an EMP, short for electromagnetic pulse, as a weapon.
The damaging effects of an electromagnetic pulse are not just man-made. The sun could also hit us with a blast powerful enough to shut off the lights. The solar storm of 1859 or “The Carrington Event” was visible from places across the planet.
In fact, Australian gold miners who witnessed the aurora from the event began making breakfast because they thought the sun was rising.
Thankfully, in 1859 there was very little for an EMP from the sun to affect. Still, telegraphs failed all over the US and Europe. Some people even claimed to have been shocked when using the machines. Had there been a world of power grids to destroy, it would have been a much different story.
Our Power Grids
According to Energy.gov, “America’s electric grid is actually comprised of three smaller grids, called interconnections, that move electricity around the country.
The Eastern Interconnection operates in states east of the Rocky Mountains, The Western Interconnection covers the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountain states, and the smallest–the Texas Interconnected system–covers most of Texas.”
For an EMP to shut America off, it would need to affect all three of these power grids. Therefore, the atmosphere above the Midwest has been speculated as the best target for an enemy to detonate a high altitude nuclear bomb that would trigger a HEMP (high altitude electromagnetic pulse) that could damage all three grids.
It makes sense that our power grid should be as well funded and fortified as possible. We should have the best three power grids on the planet and they should already be immune to the effects of a known risk like an EMP, right?
According to the same article from Energy.gov, “Since 2010, the Energy Department has invested more than $100 million to advance a resilient grid infrastructure that can survive a cyber incident while sustaining critical functions.
The Department’s cybersecurity work involves ongoing collaboration with a number of public and private partners including the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the intelligence community, private industry and energy-sector stakeholders.”
The upkeep of our power grid has only landed a measly $100 million dollars over the last seven years! That might sound like a lot, but don’t be fooled. That is far less money than is needed, and today we are still left unprotected from a potential EMP blast.
Remember, the EMP does not just come from hateful nations. Our sun could decide to burp out a life-changing blast of energy that would power down our whole planet.
The Effect – 90% of the Population Would Die
Experts agree that if an EMP strike from the sun or from a nuclear blast were to hit the USA and down all three of our major power grids, it would result in the death of 90% of the population in just one year. This is a staggering statistic that on the face might seem a bit extreme.
What would a nation look like with just 10% of its population left? In America, that’s around 32 million people, a population about the same size as the state of Texas.
According to this article, experts told a House Homeland Security subcommittee the following: “With the development of small nuclear arsenals and long-range missiles by new, radical U.S. adversaries, beginning with North Korea, the threat of a nuclear EMP attack against the U.S. becomes one of the few ways that such a country could inflict devastating damage to the United States.
It is critical, therefore, that the U.S. national leadership address the EMP threat as a critical and existential issue and give a high priority to assuring the leadership is engaged and the necessary steps are taken to protect the country from EMP.”
So why is the outlook so bleak?
It’s because so much of our lives depend on electricity. Let’s take a quick look at the essential services that would be affected by an EMP. Remember, anything that requires electricity in any form could be affected or destroyed.
- HVAC Systems
- Water Treatment
- Shipping (food, resources and people)
- Trash Pickup
One of the more interesting things to consider about an EMP attack is how long it would take for people to realize what they’re dealing with. For the public, the full scope of what a powerful EMP means could spiral them into total despair. How long could people last without the above-mentioned services?
One of the biggest killers would be water and foodborne diseases. Without medical facilities, we would become very similar to the animals that are kept in factory farms. In large metro areas, we would be huddled together in apartments, surrounded by our own waste, and it wouldn’t be long before disease started taking out tens of thousands of people.
For those of us who are prepared, it would still be a hard pill to swallow. Everything changes after an EMP. If the three grids are damaged, there is no going back. We are thrust back nearly 200 years and the American population is just not ready for that.
You Are The Soldiers Of The Next War
All throughout history, wars have been fought using many tactics. We watched the great navies of the British dominate the world. Then came the ugly land warfare of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This gave way to military might through the air that led us up to the point of unmanned drone technology.
The EMP creates a new dynamic regarding warfare. Why waste the lives of your own soldiers when you could simply cut the power to a dependent nation and watch that nation dissolve? The world would watch America eat itself alive if one of our enemies capitalized on a serious EMP attack.
What does this mean to you?
Well, it means you are going to be soldiers in the next war. The next world war will likely be fought using some sort of EMP technology. It is a weakness that other nations are not going to ignore. Whether that blast goes off high in the sky from a weapon deployed by China or a Russia or another enemy, it will come with war.
A nation would be foolish not to use that kind of strength against a military as strong as ours. An EMP is arguably the only thing that would stop America (other than total nuclear war).
If you believe, like me, that we are all going to be soldiers of the next war… start training. Training like a soldier is not just about how strong you can get (although that helps). It’s also about understanding your enemy and learning how to defeat that enemy.
Of course, the most troubling thought of an EMP situation is, your enemies will be the people around you. That is, unless you start recruiting and building a community today!
We don’t all have to be passing strangers in a disaster. There is a very real possibility that our nation could be filled with strategic communities who are able to defend and react to whatever an EMP might bring.
Get prepared, get in shape, and get ready. It’s gonna take work, but there is a great network of preppers, websites, and podcasts that can help you on your journey. I know it sounds cliché, but if you start today, you won’t recognize yourself in a year.
This is your responsibility as an American citizen. Do not become one of the desperate.
Preparing For An EMP
Whether an EMP blast comes from the sun or from mankind, those who are self-sufficient will be able to survive much more easily than those who aren’t. In fact, this factor could be the difference between those who survive and those who don’t. The moment the lights go out, everything will grind to a halt. No more easy food, water, or heat, among other things.
You see, after an EMP the entire world will change, possibly forever. It is estimated that power could be completely restored in about four years. To survive until then, you will need to focus on things like sustainable sources of food, water, security, and heat. The community will play a huge role in this recovery as well.
Most Americans have enough space to store about 3 to 6 months of food at best. The idea that you could possibly store a year’s worth of food is stretching it. We are talking about a long-term power outage. An EMP will affect the population for years. Your food will be gone, and you will need answers beyond that.
Growing food and raising livestock are going to be some of the most important things you can do. Start now and slowly expand every year.
You will also want to explore the world of preservation. Stretch those food items that you are growing. In most climates, you will not have access to food all year. By preserving it, you can dip into that harvest when necessary. Here are a few resources to help you.
- Urban Survival Gardening: A Guide For Beginners
- The Beginner’s Guide to Emergency Food Storage
- The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Without Power
The storage of water is a tough thing to pull off. Even if you do it well, you can only store enough water for a set amount of time. Water collection is what it will take to be successful, long-term. You will need to investigate things like rain barrels, cisterns or even diverting water from local sources.
Remember, you are gonna need to water your gardens as well as drink, bathe and cook. Here are a couple of resources.
Bullets run out. Bricks of ammo run out, too. It is hard to know what level of hostility you will face and how much ammo it will take to protect yourself and your family. What I do know is that, eventually, bullets run out. What does security mean after that?
How can you secure your home and your family if you use all your ammo in a year? Do you have ammo? Are you afraid of firearms? In an EMP situation, that line of thinking will get you killed. Here are some articles you should read.
- 9 Best Firearms to Have After SHTF
- 11 Home Security Tips for Life After the SHTF
- 8 Tips for Defending Your Bug Out Location from Marauders
If you have a home, the creation of shelter may not be the priority, but caring for your shelter should definitely be a priority. Heating and cooling your shelter will be another priority. Without power, there will be no air conditioning or heat. Many people will die from hypo or hyperthermia. You must have plans to avoid these things.
Here is some more info.
While this may seem like a lost effort, there are ways that you can engage your community for the future. A cohesive community can be a wonderful thing to be a part of. It can also be just the structure you need when disaster strikes.
A community can use security in numbers to be effective in ways that an individual cannot. If you are looking for ways to engage your community and start down a path towards cohesion and preparedness, check out my book Come Unity; Community. Not to toot my own horn, but it’s a great read.
The steps you take today to be prepared for tomorrow will make all the difference in the long run. While it may seem like a big hill to climb, I assure you that every little decision and every little purchase you make will pay back exponentially when the time comes.
Don’t be gutted by the horrors of inaction. Today we have time to prepare. Tomorrow may be different.
Of course, there are many items you’ll want to have on hand in case of an EMP. While self-sufficiency is the long path, you will also need some hardware to survive the early days after the EMP. Remember, you are going to see calamity on a scale that the world will not be able to handle.
An entire nation of 300 million fighting for dwindling resources will be a horror show.
To survive, you will likely need a bugout bag, firearms, and ammo. You may have to shoot and kill someone or several people. You will likely need to relocate, and you will always need to be on guard.
No one can really know what a post-electricity world would look like, but if it kills off 90% of the population in one year, then I assume there will be plenty of death, decomposition, and disease. To survive, the most important types of items you will need are:
- Food Storage
- Water & Filtration
- First Aid
- Weapons & Ammo
These items may seem obvious, but there are other things to consider as well.
- Good Boots
- Plenty of Warm Clothing
- Alternate Types of Shelter
- Off Grid Cooking Methods
- Plenty of Materials for Building and Sustaining Fire
- Tools and a Way to Keep Them Up
- Personal Hygiene
- Trash Bags and Bins to Manage Waste
There are many services that will come to an end the moment an EMP strikes, and you must have answers for all of them. Trash cannot be allowed to pile up all over your neighborhood or it will invite pests and they will bring disease. You must give the weather new respect as it will have massive effects on your life.
You must also be ready to leave your home at a moment’s notice. So, a well-oiled bugout plan with well-constructed bugout bags will be necessary.
Just picture the chaos. Tired, hungry, sick, and dehydrated people will be flooding neighborhoods in search of resources to keep their loved ones alive. They will find their way to your door, and they may be heavily armed. You will have to keep your family safe and to do so, your best bet will be to bug out fast!
The big problem with a powerful electromagnetic pulse is that it will destroy all of your electronics, and our world is made up of so many electronics. These electronics govern our money, our vehicles, and our freedom. Without them, things get crazy fast.
To mitigate the powerful punch of the EMP, you can create a Faraday cage which will protect the electronics placed inside. This container will have to be insulated from the pulse, but this is not that complicated.
You can make a small Faraday cage for just a few dollars, but the most common method is to build one using a metal trash can with a lid. This can is insulated using foam or rubber and the items placed inside are often wrapped in foil or more insulating materials.
Watch this video to see it done.
Inside this container, you can place things that will make your survival much easier. Here are a few suggestions:
- Pocket Radios
- Walkie Talkies
- Solar Charger
- Solar Panels and Batteries
- Flashlights or Lanterns
- Old Laptop Loaded with Survival and DIY Instruction
- Zip Drive of Precious Documents
- Small Motors
Just remember, there will be a very small portion of the population that prepares in this way. Your electronics will be like gold in the post-EMP world. They should be kept secret. You may not even want to tell your kids about them as kids have a tendency to blurt out things they aren’t supposed to.
Any electronic that you protect from the EMP will be a force multiplier. Whether a light source or an information source or even a power generator, these tools will give you an edge over those who are left in the dark. Use them wisely and be sure that you are not making yourself a target with your technology.
Vehicles After the EMP
It’s true that all electronics will be affected, and that includes most vehicles. Unfortunately, modern vehicles are heavily reliant on electronics to make certain processes work. That is the sad truth of our cars today. That said, EMP simulation tests have yielded mixed results, even on modern cars. I still wouldn’t depend on it, though.
Cars made after the mid 80’s have the worst chance of surviving an EMP attack. The ideal vehicle for surviving an EMP is going to be a diesel-run vehicle from the early 80’s or before. If you need more detail, try a 1979 Jeep C59. This automobile is manual and has off-road capabilities to make it effective anywhere you need to go.
Another more radical path you could take is to fortify your garage. We mentioned the power of a Faraday cage and how it can protect electronics. You could fortify your garage in the same way. Remember, we are looking for insulation from the pulse.
While I wouldn’t recommend covering your whole garage in aluminum, you could consider some high-level rubber or foam insulation on the ceiling and all the walls. Another consideration would be ditching the asphalt tiles for a tin or metal roof.
If you are going to include a vehicle in your EMP preparedness plan, you better store up plenty of fuel. The allure of the diesel engine is that fuel can be made. In the long run, it will kill the engine, but in the meantime, you can make your own diesel and have a car that runs even after all the gas pumps are dead.
You will want to invest in some jerry cans and be sure you have enough fuel to get to your bugout location. Without that amount of gas on hand, your car could be more of a burden than a help.
Just remember, a running motor vehicle will be at a premium. People will kill for the opportunity to move faster than a biking pace. Just think of the movie War Of The Worlds starring Tom Cruise. He had the only working car, and it wasn’t long before a violent mob stole it from him.
If you drive a vehicle, only use it to get away from a dangerous area and never come back. And you better drive it to a secluded area. While the advantage of wheels is a big one after an EMP, you must also use it wisely or it could get you killed.
Becoming One Of The 10%
I hope that much of the information in this guide sticks. I know there is one line that always sits with people, that “90% of all people will die in the first year of a collapse.”
This might bring about all sorts of terrifying thoughts. What you should recall is a very simple question:
“How do I become one of the 10%?”
Picture the world one year after an EMP and try to imagine what the 10% look like. Where do they live? What do they eat? How do they spend their days? Mulling over these questions will give you some great ideas on how to prepare.
The truth is there is no way to assure that you are one of the 10%. Best bets are going underground in a well-hidden and well-fortified bunker for an entire year. That is no easy feat.
Just the financing of a large bunker and the resources to go inside of it are enough to make the average person weak in the knees. All that said, even somebody in a bunker could still be found and killed.
There is no bulletproof answer to becoming one of the 10%, but we have discussed some very important things you can do put the odds in your favor.