We read about this thing called an EMP in lots of places; from blog posts and emails like this one to books and papers outlining this event and even into fiction. But what the heck is it, actually?
Many know that the EMP was first noticed in the United States in the 1950s when electronic equipment failed because of induced currents and voltages during some nuclear tests. In 1960, the potential vulnerability of U.S. military equipment and weapons systems to EMP was officially recognized. But do you know the damage it can do?
a high-yield explosion of approximately 10 megatons detonated 320 km (200 miles) above the center of the continental United States would produce a nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP), a time-varying electromagnetic radiation resulting from a nuclear explosion. This would mean almost the entire country, as well as parts of Mexico and Canada, would be affected by the EMP—destroying practically all electronic devices and electrical transformers.
According to the EMP Commission Report, “Several potential adversaries have or can acquire the capability to attack the United States with a high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse (EMP). A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack capability without having a high level of sophistication” (Foster, et al. 2004). (find it here)
This means that nearly anyone could conceivably attack almost anywhere with such a device. This subject has been the topic of concern for many preppers as well as the subject of books. It is key to note that this event comes without warning and you may not even know what happened until it is too late to do anything about it. We all love a good zombie apocalypse, but an EMP is the reality of the world we live in and just as much a threat now as when the report was written.
What things might not survive?
- The power grid is woefully susceptible and will not likely survive.
- Vehicles built after about 1950—a few select vehicles manufactured in the 1970s to early ‘80s (they do say now that some even newer cars could survive).
- Municipal utilities.
- Household appliances.
- Solar Panels would be fine but what about the controllers and inverters needed to power anything that does survive.
- Hospital Equipment.
- ATM Machines.
- Electric Well Pumps.
- Cash Registers.
- Gasoline Station Pumps.
- Televisions, DVD Players, etc.
The list would actually be quite exhaustive, but I challenge you to look around the room right now and see how many things would be affected by an EMP and if you are NOT home, would it affect your ability to get there?
I want to consider for this article only one thing… Number one on our list is the power grid. If you lost power, think about your life without it. No computer or TV, no video games, but more than that, what about life-saving things? No refrigeration, no hot water, and even no water if not immediately soon after. Even if your car would run the gas pumps use electricity to pump that fuel to your vehicle. Many would have no heat and no way to cook (electric stoves). It is amazing to think of regulations lately that prohibit wood stoves and gas stoves that could work in the event of such an event.
We recently watched balloons floating around and some raised the question, what if these were rigged with an EMP device?
Some estimates predict up to 90 percent of the population will die during an EMP attack or other type of scenario that provokes a nationwide power grid down disaster. All of these would not be from the event itself [well, unless you’re a lineman on the side of a transformer at the time] but from the effects of what would follow.
First, there would be chaos and mayhem and some may die at the hands of others or in accidents. Then would come the anarchy that will pit neighbor against neighbor for the six tomatoes in a garden. Starvation, lack of medical care, fires, lack of water as well as sanitation.
These can also be produced naturally. Solar flares can produce a coronal mass ejection that could blanket us with a powerful EMP.
Have these happened before? Sure there is a scale from NOAA to classify them
“People tend to think of it as science fiction,” R. James Woolsey, chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency said. “People get into not wanting to think about it, not wanting to worry about it, because it’s too terrible.”
For now, it is science fiction like many of the books out there Find some HERE.
But are you prepared for when it is not? —> Watch for the second in this series Next Week that will have more on the preparedness for these kinds of events.