EMP: Going Out With A Bang

EMP: Going Out With A Bang

I first heard about the EMP threat (electromagnetic pulse caused by a nuclear detonation) in 1980 while working at a company that manufactured Geiger counters. This was disturbing information for an 18 year old or for anyone.  I considered myself fortunate that I did not live close a prime target for a nuclear attack.

Then, about seven years ago I found a government commissioned report on the EMP threat and I realized that it didn’t matter where I lived.  Everywhere in lower 48 states is the prime target.  I discovered that the North American electrical power grid could be disabled by a nuclear detonation in space above the United States.

Click here to view the report

Some, who have not read the report, may ask “Is the EMP effect on the power grid and other infrastructural systems just theoretical?” The answer is no.  In 1962 the United States launched a 1.4 megaton nuclear device into space from a remote island in the Pacific Ocean.

The device was detonated 250 miles above the earth’s surface.  The electromagnetic pulse knocked out over 200 street lights and damaged a telephone microwave link in Hawaii.  The detonation was about 900 miles away from Hawaii.  Well that’s not so bad but keep in mind that there are nuclear devices that are over 60 times larger and multiple devices in multiple locations might be used in an EMP attack.  Also electronic devices can be damaged by EMP pulses.

What does this mean for us?

There are a lot more electronic devices now than in 1962 and integrated circuits (microelectronics) were almost nonexistent then.  If the pulse is big enough it will damage or destroy satellites, radio and television transmitters, telephones, computers, micro-controllers, cell phone towers and telephones just like the microwave link in Hawaii was damaged.

Many think that since the cold war is over, the threat of an EMP is a thing of the past.  Actually the threat is greater now than it was during the cold war.  If the Soviet Union had launched an attack we would have also launched an attack and both sides would have lost.

Today there are more countries with Nuclear weapons and more in the process of acquiring them.  There are also plenty of hostile non-state organizations that may be able to acquire nuclear weapons.  Also the United States has been busy making new enemies all over the world since World War 2.

If a successful EMP attack were to be launched tonight what would happen?

It hasn’t happened…yet and as such anything stated is all speculation; but consider this scenario:

AA (average American) wakes up late for work (no alarm).  There is no electricity at his house.  AA checks with the neighbors.  The electricity is out on the whole block.  AA tries to call his work.  His cell phone does not work.  His neighbor has a non-cordless phone but there is no dial tone.  AA decides to take a quick cold shower but changes his mind.  It is 35 degrees outside.  The water is too cold.  A large snow storm will move in this afternoon and the temperature will not rise above freezing for over a week.

There will not be any running water in a week and even if there was, it would be untreated.  AA and his neighbors try to find out what is going on by listening to a portable radio.  Only two portable radios in the neighborhood seem to be working but all they hear is a quite hiss at full volume.  Someone finally gets it.  “It’s an EMP attack”.

Most of the neighbors don’t believe it. Soon the conversation among the neighbors becomes heated.  A few of the more vocal of the group have decided how best to make use of another neighbor’s portable generator.  This will be the last time all the neighbors go outside for chat.  The grid is down and in less than a week society will unravel and fragment into tiny pieces the size of individual houses.

Most cars will not work due to the electronics controlling almost every function of the vehicle.  It matters little since no oil is being refined. No gasoline is being transported by truck and no gas station can pump gas.

No food is being harvested except by hand.  No trucks are delivering food.  No contracts are being fulfilled for grocery stores to stock their store shelves since no orders can be sent.

No one is talking on the phone.  No one is faxing, paging, texting, skyping or tweeting.  No banks are making electronic transactions and no one can withdraw cash since the banks are all closed.  It matters little since the computers can not verify that you have the funds and cannot record the transaction.  Besides, what are you going to buy?  No one is shopping.  The stores are closed.

In less than a week every grocery store, bakery, restaurant, brewery and food processing plant will be picked clean of anything edible.  Will there be food airlifted in to feed the hungry masses?

No one Knows.

After a successful EMP attack, the Federal government will have at least four main issues to deal with.

1. Continuity of government including communication, security, transportation and other issues such as food, water and sanitation.

2.  Preservation of the military to insure the ability of the United States to defend against possible secondary conventional attacks including air, sea and ground invasions.  This will soak up massive resources.

3.  Insuring the power grid gets fixed, which could take months (That is correct…Months).

4.  Emergency response to affected areas (everywhere).  Is FEMA up to the task? How could any or all government agencies make sure over 300,000,000 people have water and at least one meal every day until the grid is up and running again?

The resources do not exist.

The whole western world is “just in time”.  All the systems need to be operational to continually push the stuff needed to survive into one end of all the supply lines and then distribute stuff at the other ends.  But all the systems are down and the supply chains are broken.

Which of the four priorities will get the most resources?  Which will get the least?  Perhaps state and local governments will do better?

This is essentially the biggest game of musical chairs ever played.  If you want to survive you have to make sure you have a chair when the music stops.

Solar Flare | EMP: Going Out With A Bang

There is another threat that can have the same results as an EMP event. Solar flares.  From time to time the sun ejects clouds of electrons and other particles as well as x-rays.  Solar flares are usually harmless but sometime they are powerful enough to affect the power grid.

There are two notable cases of solar flares unleashing enough energy to cause major damage to us:

The most recognized one is the solar storm of 1859, also known as The Carrington Event, which caused telegraph systems all over North America and Europe to fail. There were even reports of the telegraph lines actually catching fire.

The second most widely known destructive solar event happened in March of 1989 when a geomagnetic storm caused a power outage that left 6 million people without power for 9 hours.

Read about it here.

If the solar storm of 1859 were to happen today, what would happen?  The  below excerpt from National Geographic article sheds a little light on what you could expect:

“Imagine large cities without power for a week, a month, or a year,” Baker said. “The losses could be $1 to $2 trillion, and the effects could be felt for years.”

What can you do to survive a large EMP event or a repeat of the largest known solar storm?

If you have prepared for various other emergency situations you are on the right path.  How long do you think the supply chains will be down?  How long will you be on your own?  Think about it.  Make a decision and plan accordingly.

The EMP threat is different from many other threats because it has the potential to affect a huge geographical area; Perhaps the entire continent.  But what is truly unique is the potential destruction of electronic devices, even ones not directly connected to the power grid.

It will happen in the blink of an eye and can come without warning, if it ever comes at all.  It can come from a terrorist organization or even from our own sun but regardless of the cause, the end result of an EMP will be the same…

The digital web that connects us will be severed and then only those that have the skills and knowledge to survive outside of their comfort zones will really be able to thrive.


P.S. When the lights go out the city will quickly descend into chaos. Your best option for safety is to get as far away as possible before the riots and looting set in.

Knowing that you should get out is one great… but HOW do you plan on doing it?

Do you have a plan in place?

You need to be ready and set to go at a moments notice. Don't put it off.

Later is not guaranteed.

Now is the only option… you need to have a system in place before a disaster occurs.

Get started NOW:


HURRY! This offer goes dark tomorrow (12.21.2012) at midnight and may never be available again…


19 Responses to :
EMP: Going Out With A Bang

  1. Richter says:

    Be this as it may, Thousands of us, Myself included, Will Die without Working Electronics. The need for my Oxygen Generator or my Meds ( Amounts Controlled by the Government, So NO Stockpiling Allowed) Being Delivered, Within 30 Days, I’ll be dead. My soul is ready, is Yours?
    On the other hand, Many Items like Solar Power, Wind Power, Hydro-power, While They May work, You’ll not be able to use them without any other Survivors wanting them for themselves. So your Stuck there as well.
    Your best bet, GET out of TOWN, Get as far away from other Humans as you can Get. Starting NOW, Take a WEEK OFF All ELECTRICITY, If you can , Pack up & go on a Wilderness Vacation for a Week, Make sure that your in an area where you & yours can Hunt Small Game & Fish. See what your really in need of & what you can live without.
    Another way to Condition yourself & your Loved ones, LEARN TO FAST, Fasting a Day is Tough for most, but you’ll be the better for it.
    WATER is the Most Important item you’ll need & Forget HOLLYWOOD, There are Very Few Rivers Below the Canada Border that would be fit to Drink, Unfiltered.Make up a Survival Kit, Try to keep below 15 Lbs.
    In the End, Your Life rest in the Hands of Your CREATOR & Yours, Good Luck, Have a wonderful Christmas & a Happy New Year.

    1. Carol Ann says:

      Dear Richter,
      I agree with you whole heartedly! I too am disabled and rely on the grid. I think you have given us good advice and I certainly have learned how to fast and rely on my Creator. We can prepare somewhat and most of us have prepared within our limits. Should the end come, look me up on the other side. Blessings to all.

    2. Lucy says:

      I have mobility issues so ‘bugging out’ may be impossible. Also, I am raising my 9 year old granddaughter. Growing up on the coast in SC, the first thing we always did if there was a weather emergency and could still run water was fill every bathtub in the house with water. Here in my current house, I have enough firewood to last the rest of the winter and then some. There is kale growing in the garden. We also keep a good supply of canned food and water. Lots of dried fruit. I have hurricane lamps and oil, kerosene stoves with plenty of fuel if we need to cook. In fact, in Florida I heated my house with kerosene stoves for years. Also have a zillion candles. And decks of cards, board games, real books. I was raised as an only child so being alone and isolated doesn’t bother me. We have a large dog for protection and other forms of protection as well. I also have chamber pots and used to use them regularly at my grandmother’s growing up. It may be back to basics but we do the best we can with what we have. Of course we keep everything hidden.

  2. Pat says:

    I read a great series by Terri Blackstock called “Last Light.” it deals with the realities after a EMP. Interesting reading.

  3. John Baker says:

    What can we do to protect the vehicles from getting “zapped”. Will lead plates around certain parts in the engine protect them and what would the “parts” be to protect?

    1. JJM says:

      John – Some more on EMP and cars:
      Another “myth” that seems to have grown up with information on EMP is that nearly all cars and trucks would be “knocked out” by EMP. This seems logical, but is one of those cases where “real world” experiments contradict theoretical answers and I’m afraid this is the case with cars and EMP. According to sources working at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, cars have proven to be resistant to EMP in actual tests using nuclear weapons as well as during more recent tests (with newer cars) with the US Military’s EMP simulators.

      One reason for the ability of a car to resist EMP lies in the fact that its metal body is “insulated” by its rubber tires from the ground. This creates a Faraday cage of sorts. (Drawing on the analogy of EMP being similar to lightning, it is interesting to note that cases of lightning striking and damaging cars is almost non-existent; this apparently carries over to EMP effects on vehicles as well.)

      Although Faraday boxes are generally made so that what is inside doesn’t touch the box’s outer metal shield (and this is especially important for the do-it-yourself since it is easy to inadvertently ground the Faraday box–say by putting the box on metal shelving sitting on a concrete floor), in the case of the car the “grounded” wiring is grounded only to the battery. In practice, the entire system is not grounded in the traditional electrical wiring sense of actually making contact to the earth at some point in its circuitry. Rather the car is sitting on insulators made of rubber.

      It is important to note that cars are NOT 100 percent EMP proof; some cars will most certainly be effected, especially those with fibreglass bodies or located near large stretches of metal. (I suspect, too, that recent cars with a high percentage of IC circuitry might also be more susceptible to EMP effects.)

      The bottom line is that all vehicles probably won’t be knocked out by EMP. But the prudent survivalist should make a few contingency plans “just in case” his car (and other electrical equipment) does not survive the effects of EMP. Discovering that you have one of the few cars knocked out would not be a good way to start the onset of terrorist attack or nuclear war.

      Most susceptible to EMP damage would be cars with a lot of IC circuits or other “computers” to control essential changes in the engine. The very prudent may wish to buy spare electronic ignition parts and keep them a car truck (perhaps inside a Faraday box). But it seems probable that many vehicles WILL be working following the start of a nuclear war even if no precautions have been taken with them.

      Protecting Vehicles
      Vehicles are getting more complex, but the majority will survive an EMP attack. Tests show that between 60 to 90 percent of vehicles will survive an attack up to 25 kV/m. For most people, the most practical choice is to accept this level of risk.

      Some people, however, either have critical responsibilities or feel more comfortable prepared for the worst case. In this case, there are three options.

      •If you can repair cars and know electronics, you might buy backup modules for your vehicle’s key electronics. You can store these replacements in EMP Cover bags. This, however, would require you spend time repairing the damaged car.
      •You can also buy EMP shielding devices that zip or wrap around your car’s wiring. These may help, but they are expensive and hard to attach to all the key wiring. You won’t know if you got things right until after the attack.
      •The best option is probably buying an extra vehicle. Make sure it is a different make and model. This will increase the chances that you will have at least one functioning vehicle.
      Again, these last suggestions are for those preparing for the worst case.

  4. JJM says:

    John – Buy an old CLASSIC w/o electronics. While ur at it u might want spare electricals: coil, points, condensor, alternator/generator, voltage regulator, starter, etc. Spares would be packed in a Faraday cage/box.
    It is possible that a metal hood & fenders might protect the engine compartment on today’s vehicles. You could also consider a conductive/metalized (like the lightweight emergency blankets) car cover, if any are being produced.

    1. Lucy says:

      Older diesels are best. No electronic ignitions.

  5. James Norton says:

    Someone is trying to use this as a scare tactic, but a careful reading reveals how shallow this risk really is.

    In this report, they talk about the Starfish Nuclear detonation 1962. They try to make it sound terrible, but in truth it only underscores my point that this is mostly hoax. Starfish was a massive 1.4Mton explosion 250 miles up and the net result was that 875 miles away in Hawaii, a couple of street lights blew out and some circuit breakers popped (not every sreet light and not every circuit breaker). Not much damage. The largest bomb ever exploded was 50Mtons. The typical terrorist bomb would be in the 10-20Kton range (Hiroshima was 22Kton) so Starfish was 100 times bigger than what a terrorist or even most nation states can build. Can a terrorist group even build a nuclear bomb? http://www.nci.org/k-m/makeab.htm Even if they could build it, how would they get it 250 miles above the ground at Chicago or Dallas (somewhere near the center of the country)? You would need a very sophisticated ICBM for that. This is so completely implausible as to be not worth worrying about.

    EMP only affects line-of-site and at 250mi the EMP blast can only affect a maximum of 900mi from center (Hawaii from Johnston Island where Starfish was detonated is 875mi – 100 miles up will effect less than 500 miles). The enormous Starfish explosion only took out a couple of lights at that distance? Big Deal! A hundred times smaller bomb would not even be noticed.

    Directly under the blast of course, complete destruction, but the effect is proportionally less by the square of the distance. If you double the distance, you decrease the effect by four — triple the distance and decrease by nine. Nuclear bombs are not a joke and EMP directly surrounding the bomb is real… but not hundreds or thousands of miles away. This is a hoax.

    1. Lux says:

      Hello James,

      The effect from the Starfish Prime would have been devastating had it occurred directly over Hawaii, just like the nuke tests in the Nevada desert would have been devastating had the testing been done in Los Angeles. I suspect that if /when a nuclear EMP attack takes place it will not be detonated 1000 miles away from the intended target.

      This should be interesting reading in regard to the size, type and number of devices needed to produce an effective EMP attack (in particular, the section on weapon yield):


      One 10 kiloton pure Fission devices can produce an EMP that is 40 percent of the 1.44 megaton Starfish Prime device.

      It would appear that two or three 10 kiloton devices would be equivalent to one B-83 (1.2 megaton device which is a part of the U.S. active arsenal)

      I suspect that a single 10 KT device detonated directly above New Hampshire would be devastating to most if not all of the New England states.

      Last of all, in regard to terrorists building their own device, I have not heard that one before. If they were to acquire one through other means, this would be just one avenue through which an attack might be perpetrated. If a government wanted to take down the United States and avoid retaliation, their best bet would be to have a non-state group do the deed (pawns) and at the same time try to make it look like one of their other enemy states did it.

      No hoax, just a warning and a suggestion to get prepped.

      Good points to be brought up James. I would guess that some people reading this article might be thinking some of the same things.


      1. Lux says:

        I should also mention, in regard to ICBM’s. There is no need to go intercontinental if the launce sites are from freighters just off the Atlantic, Pacific and gulf coasts or worse. A corn field in Kansas.


  6. Lux says:


    I think your hypothetical situation in the article is a realistic expectation of the way things will play out. Things will be much worse if an attack happens during the middle of the day on a week day. You will have everyone deciding it’s time to leave work and go home at the same time (instant grid lock everywhere). There will be some cars that will stop on streets and freeways stopping and slowing traffic. No traffic signals as well as aircraft falling out of the sky and lots of people stuck in elevators. Lots of people will not make it home until the next day. And this will set the tone for the coming weeks and months. Wired, tired, frustrated, scared, hungry and thirsty. Not good.


  7. Tom says:

    You can buy a 30 gallon metal trash can at your local home supply and use it as a Faraday cage/box. Insulate the interior sides using cardboard or sheet plastic of some sort. Cut a round piece for the bottom using plywood or cardboard. Do not use duct tape anywhere on this as the silver coating on it is probably made of powdered aluminum which could possibly conduct electricity.Now you can go ahead and store your electronic gadgets safely inside without worry from an EMP event.

  8. JD Howell says:

    Very interesting read, had to share it on my blog and FB Page…


    Thanks for the article. Glad it didn’t disappear on 12/21 !

  9. Chuck says:

    Read “One Second After” by William Forstchen (not sure of the spelling of his last name) He has written a chilling book of what happens in the U.S. after a deliberate EMF attack. It will change your entire thinking on the matter I believe. Fleeing is to an outlying area is most definitely not an option. I know of a guy who has bought a cabin in British Columbia. It’s a long long walk from SoCal to B.C. Unless he also has a pre-1980 car stashed in his garage, I believe none of the newer cars will survive a deliberate EMF strike. Forstchen Isp) has the creds to make his tale believable. Read his background after you read his novel. Scary, Scary, Scary.

    1. Great Grey says:

      Pre 1980 does not automatically mean nonelectronic ignition. My 1974 van came with factory electronic ignition.
      A quick way to tell is to remove the distributor cap and see if there are points and a condenser if not then it is an electronic ignition.

      1. Lucy says:

        Diesel has no electronic ignition. It has a glow plug. Probably a better bet.

  10. cdweaver says:

    I am always suspicious when our government encourages certain things (like solar power for example). Won’t an EMP surge fry the electrical wiring found in solar lights, etc. and disable many solar alternative

  11. socrates says:

    Read the book ONE SECOND AFTER. it really shows how vulnerable we are as a society

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