Imagine for a Moment – The Reality of an EMP Event Part One

Print Friendly

From Rourke: Both today and on Thursday I present a special report republished from ModernSurvivalOnline. This is valuable and important information, therefore I felt it time to present it here on SeasonedCitizenPrepper.com. It can be seen in its original format HERE.

 

 

 

Imagine for a Moment – The Reality of an EMP Event

- Part One -

 

By Steve Nolan

with M.S. Wall

 

Imagine for a moment, all of your electronic conveniences such as lights, air conditioners, refrigerators, microwaves, cell phones, computers, ATM machines—anything that contained a microprocessor or required electricity to power it, suddenly stopped working—forever.

 

Imagine for a moment, the most basic things we Americans have taken for granted such as running water, electricity or natural gas suddenly stopped flowing—forever.

 

Imagine for a moment, you or a loved one is on an airplane flying at altitude when an event takes place and suddenly thousands of aircraft begin plummeting from the sky as the aircrafts’ computer-controlled systems suddenly fail.

 

Imagine for a moment, you are driving on the highway when your car suddenly decelerates and you have to veer to the side of the road as nearby vehicles swerve into one another and the entire Interstate becomes one massive parking lot.

 

Imagine this occurs and you are hundreds of miles from your home and you find your only way to get back home is your own two feet.

 

Imagine for a moment, the confusion that would set in when you try to help those injured in their vehicles and find out that everyone’s cell phones or CB Radios no longer work and there was no way to call 911.

 

Imagine for a moment, the feeling of total helplessness of not being able to communicate with your loved ones when your world is instantly turned upside down.

 

Imagine for a moment, you are forced to walk to your local grocery store with the hopes of buying water and food for your family and realize that debit and credit cards are no longer accepted.

 

Imagine for a moment, you or a loved one are in a hospital requiring life support or dialysis when the power goes out and the back-up generators either fail to kick-in or eventually run out of fuel and there are no means of refueling them.

 

These hellish scenarios are not the result of an alien attack or some other science-fictional phenomenon.  They are just a few of the nightmares we might experience in the aftermath of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) event.

 

Electromagnet Pulse Defined

An electromagnetic pulse An EMP is a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic radiation caused by a rapid acceleration of charged electron particles. Depending upon the type of burst, it can cause catastrophic damage to electrical devices due to its impact on both electric and magnetic fields. Modern technology is extremely susceptible to these effects.

 

There are two main causes of an EMP.  The first is the result of a massive solar flare, or a Coronal Mass Ejection, which we will describe later in this article. The other is caused by a man-made event, which is known as a High Altitude EMP Event, or HEMP, which we will describe next.

 

High Altitude EMP (HEMP)—Overview

A HEMP is a caused by a nuclear detonation in the earth’s upper atmosphere—some 50 to 200 miles above the Earth’s surface.  As an observer on the ground you may notice a brief flash of light. But there would be no warning. No sound or aftershock or radiation to worry about.  Chances are you would never know a nuclear bomb went off—except for the fact anything electronic or requiring electricity would suddenly cease to work…Forever.

 

 

On a human level, the results of a HEMP include all the effects described in the “Imagine” introduction to this article…  It seems incredible that a single and relatively low-yield nuclear weapon could have such a sinister and extraordinarily destructive effect without directly killing a single human being.  But this is the reality of living in an advanced technology-dependent world that is extremely vulnerable to the effects of an electromagnetic pulse.  The first observation of the repercussions of a HEMP were during the height of the Cold War as the United States and the Soviet Union were experimenting with high altitude atomic weapon detonations.  It is ironic that the effects of a HEMP could be much broad and more deadly to our country’s inhabitants over the course of a year than the death and destruction caused by any single or multiple-head ICBM.

 

Coronal Mass Ejection (CME)—Overview

The second cause of an EMP is from a solar event called a coronal mass ejection, or CME. The solar flare or CME emits radiation that eventually hits the Earth’s atmosphere, causing similar effects as the HEMP, but the degree of the effects depends on a number of factors. The early discovery of the effects of CME dates back to 1859 when Richard Carrington, one of England’s foremost solar astronomers, observed a series of intense solar flares that fried thousands of miles of interconnected telegraph wires throughout the United States. A CME on a similar scale as the Carrington event would have drastic results on our modern civilization that has become utterly dependent on electricity and microprocessors.

 

 

Similar but Different

In spite of there being two totally different potential causes of an EMP, the outcome can be equally devastating. Both a HEMP and a significant CME could have real world repercussions that threaten our electrical grid. At primary risk in both cases are our high voltage transformers which would likely be destroyed by the overwhelming surge in electrons that race across the tens of thousands of electrical and communication lines crisscrossing the country. Without these transformers and the lines to transmit electricity from source to use, our modern society simply stops…  And unfortunately, the replacement lead-time for manufacturing and shipping these high voltage transformers, which are now all manufactured in China, is longer than 12-months!

 

Imagine for a moment what life would be like without electricity for twelve months or perhaps longer!  According to a 2008 study by Metatech, the time required to obtain replacements of these devices under these circumstances could be up to 3-years!  The devastation inflicted on the United States by either a HEMP or severe EMP event would plunge us back to a life that is reminiscent of how we lived in the 1800s. According to several experts, the resulting death rate in the United States as result of prolonged grid-down event is expected to be as high 90%!

 

It is important to recognize that there is a fundamental difference between the potential scale of damage from a man-made HEMP attack versus that from a solar-based event. It is likely that under the man-made High Altitude EMP/HEMP scenario, we will be dealing with an even greater danger than in the event of a CME. A HEMP differs from a CME in that it is packed with a one-two punch. A HEMP will not only fry unhardened microprocessors (i.e. ruin all electrical devices), but it also could utterly destroy our fragile power grid (i.e. all transformers and transmission devices and wires)!

 

With a CME, at least we have some variables that will dictate the level of damage such as the severity of the solar flare itself, the direction of impact, and the relative defenses of our atmosphere and the earth’s magnetic field.  The fact is that CME’s hit our Earth with some frequency but are often weak, or hit our atmosphere and magnetic field with a glancing blow.  These weaker or indirect CMEs may only cause some interesting visuals in the night sky, or interrupt some radio transmissions, but are not as catastrophic as a HEMP.  But a massive CME that hits Earth straight on may end up destroying electrical our high voltage electrical grid systems  much the same as a HEMP. Unfortunately, in either case, we will not have much time to prepare for such an event once it’s launched or expelled from the Sun, so preparing for both potential events before they occur is what we should all consider doing.

 

Protecting Yourself from EMP

There is much speculation and misinformation circulating about how you can protect yourself from a CME or HEMP attack. A lot of this conjecture and confusion is in part due to our government’s Top Secret classification on the subject and the fact that they only perform tests on their own hardened structures and military equipment.

 

The unfortunate reality is that testing various pieces of equipment at one of the few EMP testing facilities open to civilian testing is extremely expensive.   Because of this, there simply has not been a series of tests of non-military vehicles or electronic equipment inside microwave ovens, or aluminum garbage cans to see if these contraptions can actually prevent the passage of electromagnetic waves through the containers like poor man’s Faraday cage! The only EMP protectors available to the civilian population that are guaranteed to work are likely the very expensive commercially produced versions you seen online.  So, whether you choose to make a contraption yourself, or purchase a device made by someone else, it will be hard to say with any certainty that it will protect electronic devices unless it has actually been tested in an EMP testing facility.

 

The bottom line is that it will be very difficult for the average civilian to protect his/her electronics or automobile with absolute certainty from an HEMP and there is more hope associated with these items “surviving” a CME or solar flare EMP event.  What everyone can and should be doing now is stock up on water, food, medical and other items essential to surviving a world without electricity.  Equally important to taking care of your own/family preparations is to help your neighbors and communities wake up and prepare as well!

 

Coming Next!

In the second part of this article coming tomorrow, we will break down the science of an electromagnetic pulse as well as attempt to dispel more myths and separate more fact from fiction surrounding EMP…

 

As mentioned in the introduction, our Thinking the Unthinkable Report: EMP Attack! report covers this entire topic in much greater depth and explores the repercussions to the major industries that support our modern society—that is, our financial, manufacturing, farming, healthcare, communications and transportation industries.  Along with this information, we will include suggestions of how you might prepare yourself, your family and your community for such a catastrophic event.

 

Thinking the Unthinkable: EMP Attack! is available for sale by clicking HERE or by visiting our Shopping Cart at SurvivalWeek.com. This thought-provoking 80-page report sells for $24.95.

 

In the meantime, keep your powder dry and your faith strong!

 

Steve Nolan

Co-Founder of SurvivalWeek.com and Publisher of The Beacon.

 

Click Here to Purchase Your Copy Today

 


© 2013, Seasoned Citizen Prepper. All rights reserved. On republishing this post you must provide link to original post.

Dislike(0)

34 Comments  to  Imagine for a Moment – The Reality of an EMP Event Part One

  1. servantheart says:

    Most hospitals today have the ability to run independently of the power grid system and some of them do it 24/7, anyway. Most of that power, however, is fossil fuel driven, though, not all. I'm not aware of any hospital in our area relying on solar energy. So, the backup plan is not a long-term plan, is it?!

    Do not airplanes have manual override systems for computerized failures? It is my understanding that they do. So, will every plane drop from the sky? Probably not, unless a strike absolutely fries all electronics. Then, nothing will keep it in the air, as I understand matters, anyway.

    The photo of gridlock above was taken just over the crest of the first big bridge coming out of (northbound) New Orleans on I-10 (Xavier University is visible); that may or may not be an evac from any given hurricane; it could just as easily be gridlock on 10 from a pileup, which is quite common in that stretch of "interstate", such as it is. This is why when entering New Orleans, even if only "passing through", make sure you have plenty of gas on the outskirts, such as Kenner or Metairie if headed South; MS Gulf Coast if headed north; you really DO NOT want to have to hunt for gas (or in anything else) in the New Orleans area - I know it well. Another issue that leads to situations such as the one pictured has to do with the mindset of the people. The people of New Orleans have historically had a tendency to wait until the last minute to heed warnings to get out of Dodge; I spent a lot of years there working with them before, during, and after. Part of that attitude goes back to the "everything will be o.k. - let's party!" attitude, and part of it is the fact that 80% of the residents are entitlement people. And if you're going to do more than pass through NO, make sure you have an equalizer at the ready, and be prepared to use it. You may have no choice.

    Do I believe the threat from EMP or CME is real? Yes, I do! But so are a lot of other threats.

    Be ready: for anything....at any time...for any reason.

    Like(0)
    Dislike(0)
    • Pilot ret says:

      Hospital emergency power is dependent on generators. These have electronics as does all the hospital equipment. Unless they are within a hardened enclosure they are toast. Most commercial aircraft are fly by wire and are unhardened there are no cable operated controls. Loss of electronics = flying brick!

      Like(0)
      Dislike(0)
      • servantheart says:

        Only smaller hospitals (without sufficient funding for more elaborate systems) tend to rely on generators, or, so was told. The larger ones, particularly sttate-funded, university-led teaching and research hospitals have independent systems for everything: water, sewage systems, power systems in "layers". At least, the one I worked for did.

        Like(0)
        Dislike(0)
  2. Lee says:

    While I agree with @servantheart that we should be prepared regardless, thanks @Rourke for sharing this. I am curious to hear more of your opinion on home made Faraday cages and if they will actually be useful. I'm wondering if we need to 'harden' our generator, as it is fairly new and not 70's era. I also think protecting cell phones is a waste of time as the infrastructure will not be there to support them even if you do. But what about CBs, ham radios, walkie talkies?

    Like(0)
    Dislike(0)
    • servantheart says:

      Some of the same questions ran through my head, Lee.

      One of the things you can do to run a gen more quietly in "IHTF" situations, and, hopefully, keep you and yours safer as a result, is to build an earth shelter for it. It can be as simple as dig a square just big enough to put the gen in it, with a bit of extra room to maneuver about it. You can not just dig a hole and drop it straight down unless you can rig something that will let you raise and lower it on demand, and gens are heavy. Ours are on the wheel kits made by the manufacturers, and each has a long "handle" at the front. Yes, they take up more room like this, but they're much easier on aging body parts to move! Dig your square hole with a "ramp", and pack the soil down very, very well (harden it)for the ramp. You can even use water to help harden it, before using. You can get concrete pavers at any home improvement store for not too much $$, or, even pour a concrete foundation from DIY ready-mix bags; you don't want you gen sitting on just dirt, I don't believe. If you can't do that, at least get some free OAK wood pallets and pull your gen up on this in storage. You could reinforce the walls of your genhole with trees off your property, if you are like us and have plenty of them. But if you are not going to reinforce the walls, don't build them perfectly vertical - they will collapse from their own weight. Build them with a slight bell curve (upside down bell). This will provide better weight distribution and prevent collapse of sidewalls. You will need something large enough to completely cover the opening when not in use to keep rain and critters out; it doesn't have to be one thing, it can be several (such as pieces of 3/4 plywood overlapped), but does need to keep water out. while in use, you can keep it mostly covered, but must have enough of an opening for gasses/emissions to escape.

      A good earth-tone or camo tarp over it and cover with whatever local debris is "in" at the time, should keep it hidden from prying drones and other "uninviteds".

      If you're going to do all that, however, dig it a little larger and let it double as a food storage place, root cellar, etc.

      No gen will ever run "silently", but this can certainly quiet it down a good bit; one would need to get fairly close to pinpoint "where that noise is coming from".

      Like(0)
      Dislike(0)
    • flutterby says:

      Any Faraday cage device, regardless of size, will only be as effective as the cage itself; is it all metal of sufficient thickness to keep things out? is it sealed well at every seam? If an ant could get through, so could a charge. Even duct tape can suffice for seam sealing, if need be. Can anything get through, anywhere? Is there ANYTHING, even in the most minute amount, that could act as a catalyst for a charge? a tiny bit of liquid inadvertently left inside the "cage"? If the answer is "yes", it will fail, regardless how well planned. If "no", the chances of success are fairly high, IMHO.

      Like(0)
      Dislike(0)
      • Deltazulu says:

        Use a metal garbage can with lid. Line it with a 1/2" foam gi style sleeping pad or similar with glue. Make wooden shelves to fit inside to stack in more electronic gear. The point is to have no metal to gear contact with the can. Do NOT ground the unit with a wire to the ground. You can home test your can by putting your cell phone inside and calling it. Or putting in a running radio and covering. Neither should be able to get a signal. Here is mine if the link will show. copy and paste into browser:

        //i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee204/deltazulu19/DSC00225.jpg
        //i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee204/deltazulu19/DSC00221.jpg

        The faraday cage does not have to be solid material. It can be a screen. EMP is a ground wave like a radio signal that carries an electrical charge with it. It will flow around on the surface of a metal barrier and follow antennas and wires like electricity does. Microwaves have a metal screen in the front so you can see the food. Yet no radiation hits your face. Metal garbage cans are just the easiest simple and cheap solution for regular people.

        Like(0)
        Dislike(0)
        • servantheart says:

          yep; I've seen this done with metal screening, and it did work.

          Like(0)
          Dislike(0)
  3. Gary says:

    I have a pace-maker, defrib. Will an EMP effect this device?

    Like(0)
    Dislike(0)
    • HerbalGerbil says:

      Personally, I do not know. But I did find this post from CommonSensePrepper on the subject, which I though was a pretty good answer:

      http://www.commonsenseprepper.com/2012/08/pacemakers-and-emps.html

      then here's the Army's 74 page report, which is linked in above:

      http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA242990

      Like(0)
      Dislike(0)
  4. Denton McLaughlin says:

    Even if an electro-magnetic pulse caused an aircraft's automatic flight control system to stop working, the crew would simply fly the aircraft. A nuclear weapon's EMP doesn't become magical, simply because the weapon is detonated at high altitude. The energy will still dissipate. While the effects of terrain would be eliminated, distance is still a factor. This is much ado over nothing. I would be more concerned about the fact that nuclear weapons are being employed than just the EMP.

    As far as CMEs, they take several hours to propagate this far and advisories are issued. There is no reason to be surprised if one is truly concerned about survival.

    Like(0)
    Dislike(0)
    • servantheart says:

      good to know. Thanks!

      Like(0)
      Dislike(0)
    • Rourke says:

      Denton -

      I appreciate your comments, however I would not dismiss the threat of an EMP attack quite so easy. No one knows for sure what will happen - and there are many takes on the damage caused. Prepare for the worst.

      Rourke

      Like(0)
      Dislike(0)
    • Terry says:

      Most modern, large aircraft are fly by wire. There is no mechanical connection between the cockpit and the actual flight controls. When the electronics get fried, the plane is done. Smaller aircraft with actual mechanical linkages may be able to be flown assuming the hydraulics (if it has hydraulics) are not controlled by a computer. Really small aircraft, think Cessnas, etc., shouldn't be a problem except for any electronics involved with the engine. In other words, you don't want to be on a large, computer controlled airplane in the event of an EMP attack.

      Like(0)
      Dislike(0)
    • Pilot ret says:

      All modern airliners rely on electronics for the most basic functions. There are no direct cable controls. EMP would in the vast majority of cases kill the fuel systems, flaps, under carriage, radios, navigation the lot. As BuzzLightyear would put it you would be falling with style with no way to perform a controlled landing. One of the fundemental reasons military are so expensive is that they have shielded systems.

      Like(0)
      Dislike(0)
      • servantheart says:

        Hello, Pilot Ret! What do you suppose an airline flight ticket that costs, say, $500 today, would cost tomorrow if the gooberment mandated shield systems for commercial carriers?

        Like(0)
        Dislike(0)
      • Rourke says:

        Thanks Pilot Ret -

        Rourke

        Like(0)
        Dislike(0)
    • JW M says:

      Any aircraft above General Aviation class is "fly by wire" there are NO cables to the control surfaces.

      When a weapon is detonated at high altitude (no radiation or fallout reaches the ground) its effects reach the horizon (at 200 miles over Omaha, NE - the entire Lower 48). The effect is an induced electrical pulse of GREAT magnitude.

      As far as CMEs the warning of a CME is about 19 hours

      Like(0)
      Dislike(0)
  5. Ziera says:

    Thanks for the post raising awareness to this very real threat.
    I did a post on the subject a while back. There are several links in and at the end of the post:

    http://theresastormcoming.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/emphempnempnnemp-and-severe-geomagnetic-storms/

    A couple of "instructional fiction" books you might want to check out:

    http://www.amazon.com/One-Second-After-William-Forstchen/dp/0765356864/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373828239&sr=1-1&keywords=one+second+after

    http://www.amazon.com/Going-Home-American/dp/1479743232/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373828295&sr=1-2&keywords=going+home

    The second book, Going Home, could have used a better pre-production edit, but if you can overlook that, it's a compelling story and delves into human nature in the face of disaster. Civilization is a very thin veil which falls away all too quickly in the face of extreme adversity.

    Best Wishes

    Like(0)
    Dislike(0)
    • servantheart says:

      Checked your blog site; interesting reading - I will be back. Thanks for sharing!

      Like(0)
      Dislike(0)
  6. Sparrow says:

    I would absolutley die without my air conditioning! Hope the Lord returns before anything like this ever happens!

    Like(0)
    Dislike(0)
    • Kerry says:

      Since you brought up faith, this is what the bible says in relation to to electricity.

      During the end times, there are 2 witness who basically piss off the whole world with preaching and smiting. 3 1/2 years later, they get killed and their bodies lie in the streets for 3 days and the whole world, is happy and throws a party.

      The exact wording is 'people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies' and 'they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice' (Revelation 11.)

      In order for people covering the whole earth to see cheer their deaths, there has to be electricity for them to see it and rejoice.

      Now, with that being said, the grid going down for any significant length of time is not out of reach and prepping and surviving whatever duration should be interesting.

      Families and like minded people would be well advised to be in close proximity to each other and close to home when possible, get off the grid (or have backup ability to do so,) and practice honing their skills. Broken microwaves are a dime a dozen and easy enough to store communication devices and data backups in.

      Great topic, I look forward to the next installment.

      Like(0)
      Dislike(0)
      • servantheart says:

        Hello, Kerry! Interesting observation.

        Quote: In order for people covering the whole earth to see cheer their deaths, there has to be electricity for them to see it and rejoice. End quote.

        Does there? Since when has Holy G-d needed anything produced by man to effect His divine will and purposes?

        I don't know how He will do it (see to it that the whole world sees their bodies), but, if He says He will do it, it's done.

        I think we will know soon enough, eh?!!!

        Like(0)
        Dislike(0)
        • Kerry says:

          Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment.

          To clarify, I should have said that 'it stands to reason there is still electricity during the time of the 2 witnesses' ;) Obviously, I am speculating but it's something that I've given a lot of prayer and thought to; as of right now, I do believe that there will be electricity during this time.

          I also believe that there is a possibility of the grid going down and a year or even more is not out of the question.

          YHVH or Holy G-d, of course, can do whatever, whenever, and however to reach His divine purpose. Exciting times indeed.

          Like(0)
          Dislike(0)
          • servantheart says:

            I surely do agree with you on the grid down and length, Kerry. Or, it may go down and never come back up again! Who knows?

            The problem with communicating online is that there is no good way to clarify intent or message, so, it's not hard to be misunderstood, a fact about which I must, on occasion, remind myself. Thank you for clarification.

            Blessings to you, and all that is yours,

            Like(0)
            Dislike(0)
  7. grayfox114 says:

    I would like input from anyone with more than a passing knowledge about emp: What would happen to the electronic locks on gun safes? Would they fry, locking the contents inside? Spooky! I have a letter in to the mfr of my safe, but this is still a real concern, not only for me but for thousands of preppers!

    Like(0)
    Dislike(0)
    • servantheart says:

      I hope you get the answer you are looking for; unfortunately, I do not have your answers. However, I did find these, although, I found more sites posting the questions than answers.

      http://modernsurvivalblog.com/emp-electro-magnetic-pulse/will-an-emp-fry-the-electronic-lock-on-my-safe/

      You might like a post from the survival blog on the matter:
      http://www.survivalblog.com/2010/05/letter_re_the_emp_threat_and_e.html

      How about a hybrid EMP lock to prevent this problem in the first place?

      The EMP lock uses both an electronic number pad for fast access, and in the case of battery failure, falls back on a mechanical combination lock. These large safes typically don’t have fast-access locks, which makes them less of a go-to solution and more a long-term storage that’s hard to steal from solution. Cannon’s changed that.

      Plus the EMP Lock ensures that in the case of a nuclear disaster, you can still get access to your valuables. From www.guns.com:
      http://www.guns.com/2013/04/03/cannon-safe-introduces-hybrid-electronicmechanical-emp-lock/

      Hope this helps you in some way.

      Like(0)
      Dislike(0)
    • CM Dutch says:

      lightning hit the tree besides our house. My son had an electronic gun safe that would not open. The safe was stored inside of a horse trailer 40 feet from the tree. Took the locksmith 1 1/2 days to drill out the lock. He later stated that he really likes electronic locks. Keeps the light bill and others paid.

      Like(0)
      Dislike(0)
  8. [...] Over at Seasoned Citizen Prepper: Imagine for a Moment the Reality of an EMP Event [...]

    Like(0)
    Dislike(0)
  9. [...]    o o o Over at Seasoned Citizen Prepper: Imagine for a Moment the Reality of an EMP Event [...]

    Like(0)
    Dislike(0)
  10. [...] Over at Seasoned Citizen Prepper: Imagine for a Moment the Reality of an EMP Event [...]

    Like(0)
    Dislike(0)
  11. [...] Imagine a EMP part 1 [...]

    Like(0)
    Dislike(0)