Welcome to the March 9th Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you by the www.SurviveInPlace.com Urban Survival course…a 12 week course that will teach you practical and pragmatic strategies for preparing for breakdowns in civil order after disasters, regardless of where you live.

This week, we got a reminder of the fact that we’re in the middle of an upswing in solar activity.  It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about solar flares, Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), and Electromagnetic Pulses (EMPs), and I want to touch on them again today. You’re going to want to read today’s article so that you know what they are, and what you can do to prepare yourself for them. There’s a lot of talk about CMEs and EMPs, and most of it simply causes people to be unnecessarily scared.

I want to start off by saying that, while these threats have the ability to partially or completely destroy the power grid and immediately render some or all electronics completely destroyed, they shouldn’t cause you to worry or stay up at night. But, I’m getting ahead of myself…let me start of by explaining what EMPs and CMEs are—When a solar flare happens on the Sun, sometimes some of the energy breaks free of the Sun’s gravitational field and it’s called a coronal mass ejection (CME).  If that energy reaches Earth, it can cause an electromagnetic pulse (EMP.)  We’ll talk about all three, but I’m going to start with EMPs.

You might remember Saddam Hussein threatening to use chemical weapons against both the US and Israel during the first and 2nd Gulf Wars.

You might also remember that we responded to the threat by promising to “respond with overwhelming force and extract a very high price should he be foolish enough to use chemical weapons on United States forces.”

Many thought that this meant dropping a nuke on Iraq and turning the country to a big pane of glass.

Wile this was definitely a possibility, it’s much more likely that our response would have been for us to use an EMP.

An EMP is an electromagnetic pulse which, in this case, would have been caused by detonating a nuclear bomb 100-300 miles above the Earth’s surface.

Buildings wouldn’t fall down, Geiger counters wouldn’t go off, and people wouldn’t die of radiation poisoning, but the EMP WOULD completely destroy the electrical grid and most unshielded electronic items in Iraq. In essence a wave of energy would emanate out from the blast in the upper atmosphere and cause power line transformers and integrated circuits in electronic devices to burn out or “fry.” In some cases, this would be permanent and in other cases it would be temporary.

An EMP attack like this is the basis for the book, “One Second After” part of the TV series, “Jericho” as well as an episode of “24″ and several other fictional accounts. It makes for GREAT fiction, but interestingly enough, it’s seldom wargamed in Washington, because the far reaching events completely scrambles standard operating procedures as well as command and control.

Where this gets interesting is that in addition to China and Russia having the ability to attack the US with an EMP, North Korea, Iran, and any terrorist organization with deep pockets can do it as well.

In it’s simplest, most unrefined form, an EMP attack could be done with one of the many small nukes missing from the former Soviet Union placed on a SCUD rocket and launched 12 miles off the East coast from a container ship sitting in international waters. There’s even a Russian arms dealer who sells missile silos that look, from the outside, just like a shipping container that can go on cargo ships, trains, or semis.

It probably wouldn’t get up to the optimal altitude and wouldn’t knock out the entire country, but it wouldn’t need to…our economy is so fragile right now that any hiccup, let alone a major attack, would most likely bring down many fragile sectors of our economy, as well as be the final blow to many of our country’s insolvent banks.

On the other hand, an ICBM with a properly configured nuclear warhead that detonated 250 miles over Lebanon, Kansas would partially or completely knock out unprotected electronics and the electrical grid from coast to coast.

How long would it take to recover?  Well, it depends on how you define recovery.  One of the casualties of an EMP attack would be the transformers that step up and step down voltage along power transmission lines.  The power grid as we know it may never recover if several large transformers in the same region failed simultaneously.  The transformers used in high voltage transmission weigh from 100 tons up to 300 tons for one particular transformer manufactured by Siemens.  They take a long time to manufacture, they’re expensive, there’s global demand, and they’re very difficult to transport. In the meantime, we’d have to figure out how to power everything from pumping fuel, water, and waste to implementing alternatives to electronic banking and electronic communication.

It’s somewhat easy for some people to dismiss EMPs.  On one hand, there’s a tendency to discount threats that are so huge that you don’t have any control over them. EMPs definitely fall into this category. They’re such a game changing event that most government agencies don’t even plan for them because they figure it would be next to impossible to actually execute a plan after an EMP.

On the other hand, many people simply don’t appreciate how much some people hate the US, our freedoms, our wealth, and our support of Israel.  They don’t know us, but they want to kill us.  They want us to live the same miserable lives that they live rather than to have individual liberty.

Things play out a little differently on a family level. While it may not be possible to quickly execute a plan after an EMP on a city, state, or national level, it’s much easier to effectively respond as a family and/or neighborhood. I’ll get into this more in a minute…

Well, even if you or one of your relatives are in this group who don’t want to face the threats we face from other countries, we’ve had several recent events that make the threat of EMPs very difficult to ignore.

You see, besides nuclear blasts, EMPs can be caused when solar flares (like this week’s X5)  happen on the sun that are big enough to cause Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs).  CMEs are huge bubbles of electrified gas that are big enough and traveling fast enough that they’re able to overcome the gravitational pull of the Sun and go out into space. Since there is only one small section of the Sun that faces the Earth at a given time, most CMEs don’t head towards Earth. That’s not to say that all CME’s eject perpendicular to the Sun…just that there are a LOT of options of places for CMEs to go besides directly towards Earth.

CMEs dissipate/spread out considerably between when they leave the Sun and reach the Earth, and most of their energy gets absorbed in our atmosphere.

Recently, we’ve had a series of harmless wake up calls reminding us that solar flares/CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejection) DO happen, and DO hit Earth.  Most of our recent ones that have hit the Earth were tiny…the biggest effects most people saw was an interruption of satellite TV and pretty Northern Lights, but last February, China had significant communications problems as a result of a CME.

If or when the sun has a large solar flare that causes a large coronal mass ejection to come our way, it could be like a series of hundreds of EMPs going off every few minutes for days at a time, affecting every country on the globe.

Has it happened?  Yes.  In 1859, Earth experienced a CME so strong that telegraph wires shorted out and started fires from coast to coast.

Where a nuclear EMP or small CME would only damage electronics over a region, a powerful CME would affect the entire planet.

Far fetched?  Not really.  Unlikely?  400 years of data says an increase in CMEs IS very likely.  In fact, here is the chart of solar activity since 1610 from NASA.  I link to it at the bottom of this article.  You’ll see that there’s a peak every 11 or so years.  We were at the bottom of the current cycle in 2008 and are currently on the upswing.  The red arrow points to what some experts believe our next upswing will look like…fairly weak in comparison, but strong enough considering our dependence on electronics.

So, while the worst case scenario may not be likely, it IS likely that we will experience several solar flares of varying sizes over the next 1-5 years.

Right now, we also have a particularly active area of the Sun, called region 1302, that, because of the Sun’s rotation, is coming into direct alignment with the Earth.

The solar flares could simply cause pretty Northern Lights and bad shortwave propagation, they could cause regional blackouts like what happened in Canada in 1989, it could knock out satellites, interrupt GPS, phone, and satellite TV communication, or a major CME like the 1859 CME could knock out electronics and our electrical grid.

One major difference from 1859 is that our infrastructure is MUCH more interdependent and fragile than it was then.  Most of the world wasn’t affected by telegraph lines going down, but most of the world WILL be affected by air conditioning, cars, refrigeration, heating systems, communication, and banking simultaneously going down.

So, how do you prepare for this?  Well, it depends on where you’re at in your process of preparedness.  Some of the simple things that you can do is to make sure that your house has at least one solid ground.  In most areas, this means driving a 1/2″ copper stake 10 feet into the ground, but it could mean burying/driving copper as far as 40 feet into the ground, continually watering your ground rods, or periodically adding minerals to the soil near your ground rod.

Some people put copper mesh between their studs and sheetrock in certain rooms of their house.  Others bury metal ammo cans or 55 gallon metal drums with electronics in them.

I added a second ground rod to our house after we moved in and I put it at the end of a gutter runout that we don’t collect.

If you have a metal shed, you can ground it.  If you have a metal safe, you can ground it.  You can also create mini poor-man’s Faraday cages out of aluminum foil or mylar.

It’s VERY important to note that these improvised methods may or may not work. The strength of a pulse will depend on several factors concerning the blast.  The strength when it reaches you is going to depend on how far you are from it, the atmospheric conditions that the pulse has to go through, the construction of your house, how much dirt/concrete/metal the pulse has to go through to reach your items, whether they’re plugged in or not, AND (perhaps most importantly) the random nature of a large scale event.

What I mean by “random nature of a large scale event” is to think about the effects of a forest fire going through a developed area. It’s not uncommon to have three houses of identical construction in close proximity where 2 burn down to a pile of ash on the slab and the third one have no damage whatsoever. Earlier this year, Personal Liberty had a tornado headed towards their office…it split before it hit the building, went by on both sides, and then combined back into a single funnel on the other side. In other words, you just can’t discount or account for random outcomes in large scale events.

On aluminum foil, most Faraday cages are made of copper…sometimes simply copper mesh. Aluminum has 60% of the conductivity of copper, so it’s still a very good conductor. The electrical engineers that I’ve talked with about this have had two major reasons why they think that aluminum foil makes a good field expedient Faraday cage.

1. The amount of shielding needed for an EMP blast depends on the size of the EMP, the efficiency of the EMP (whether it was purpose built to be an EMP or a “normal” nuclear weapon detonated at high altitude), your distance from the EMP, AND atmospheric conditions. In other words, aluminum foil probably wouldn’t work if a purpose built EMP went off directly overhead, but it might work great if you were 1000 miles away from it, if it wasn’t a purpose built EMP, or if it was a small blast.

2. It’s a guess as to whether or not aluminum foil will work as a Faraday cage in an EMP attack. We are fortunate in that we haven’t experienced enough EMPs to have a large enough dataset to make definitive statements on what will work and what won’t work in the real world. That being said, aluminum foil doesn’t cost much compared to full-on Faraday cages and still gives people a lot of potential bang for the buck. It’s a case where everyone can keep aluminum foil and wire on hand, but most people have more pressing things to spend money on than certified Faraday enclosures.

With an EMP, it’s unlikely that the general public will have any warning of an attack, but with a CME, we’re getting better and better at identifying CMEs and that means that we’ll have between 17 hours (as in 1859) and 3-4 days (as in August, 2010) warning to unplug, shield, and possibly even bury sensitive equipment.

Hold on a second!

Before you go off and spend a bunch of time and money preparing for one specific potential event, make sure you have all of your fundamentals in order.  What I mean is that instead of preparing specifically for an EMP/CME, you’re much better off taking steps that will help you prepare for ALL causes of breakdowns in civil order.

I’m talking about having months or years of food on hand, a way to supply yourself and your family with water, shelter, fire, security, and medical skills. These basics will serve you well regardless of what kind of a disaster strikes.

With a well thought out preparedness plan, you can be ready for disasters ranging from unexpected short term unemployment to short term natural disasters to catastrophic events like a collapse of the dollar to EMPs and CMEs, so focus on the fundamentals and you’ll be ready for WHATEVER disaster happens.

This is exactly why I focus SO MUCH on the core fundamentals of survival and preparedness in the SurviveInPlace.com preparedness course. If you haven’t signed up for these yet, I want to encourage you to click on the links and check them out:

Survive In Place: http://www.surviveinplace.com/

What are your thoughts on EMPs caused by CMEs and nuclear blasts? How about the period of increasing solar activity that we’re headed into? Have you done any shielding/hardening to protect items from EMPs? If so, what did you do? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

Stay Safe & God Bless!

David Morris


Here are some more resources you might want to check out to learn more about solar flares, sun spots, and coronal mass ejections.






    111 replies to "Solar Flares, Coronal Mass Ejections, And Electromagnetic Pulses"

    • Patrick Lowrie

      When people talk about EMPs the words “Faraday Cage” get bandied about a lot. The key to having a Faraday cage that works is two-fold. The first is the question of grounding. A Faraday Cage properly built will work just as good, probably better, if it is not grounded. The principle on which a Faraday Cage works is providing conductive/magnetic shielding around the contents. The second is to ensure that there are no openings in the cage. If you want to use the equipment in the Cage you will need to run wires into and out of the Cage. Those wires will compromise the integrity of the Cage and render it useless unless each entrance/exit in the box is contained in a small box of special dimensions call a “waveguide below cutoff .” As these are difficult to make and very difficult to verify, I recommend that Faraday Cages only be used for storage of back-up units. I also recommend that the box be made of ferrous material – iron or steel, or better yet, nickel/steel alloy. Do not use stainless steel unless you can verify that a magnet will clamp to it. I don’t recommend copper or other non-ferrous materials because, though they will protect against electrical discharge – like a lightning strike – they won’t protect against electromagnetic field action.

      Another point that, I believe, is important is to understand that your emergency electrical generator in the garage will be rendered useless by an EMP because the AVC, automatic voltage control, is solid state. The ignition may be solid state also. One way to prepare for EMP is to remove all solid state components from the engine and the generator, and seal them in a Cage (the galvanized trashcan seems a pretty good idea to me).

      Alternatively you can put the whole generator in an iron box. If the prime mover of the generator is diesel, you probably don’t need to worry about the engine as there are not likely to be any electrical parts. Note, however, that the AVC works using direct current voltage from the alternator. This d.c. is created by means of solid state rectifiers usually mounted into the case of the alternator. AN EMP will take them out also.

      With regard to water, if you have a well you’re in fat city. Without electricity your pump won’t work, but there are several web sites that describe how to build a hand operated pump – several actually sell these devices. Some can be installed in your well right along with your electric pump.

      Whether or not you have a well, you really need to have a means of purifying water. Fortunately nowadays you can buy a pump type water filter at a sporting goods store for around a hundred bucks. Or from the Internet. This type of purifier has cartridges that can be replaced. No chemicals are used, and some claim that you can purify your urine and safely drink it. The hand pump on the filter is required to force the water through the really tight (<5 microns) filter.

      Best of luck to all,


      • Mustang75


        I agree with your assessments generally, but I question why you do not like copper as an insulator, and please explain in further depth why our Faraday cages should not be grounded.

        Please don’t be offended, but could you also list your “bona fides”?

        I would also add that should we be hit with a significant CME or EMP that is strong enough to catch the incoming wires on fire, wouldn’t that also result in your house probably also going up in smoke? Those same lines do run straight into your house. Shutting off the master breaker (CME giving time) would not be sufficient to halt the burning of wiring in our homes. Please find an error in my assessment…I mean, REALLY, find an error! I pray I have overlooked something.

        My RV is diesel and, hopefully, it will run, but it cannot hold anywhere near just our food storage. We have an alternative site to hopefully survive the civil, and racial wars, along with the plagues of illness, rats, ants, spiders, and every other unsavory creatures that will rapidly (albeit shortly) go through their cycle of plenty and starvation. The list is endless. But, while we have a place of refuge, I sincerely doubt that we have any chance at all of getting to it if the result is from CME or EMP.

    • Randall

      Remember the water, without it our lives are very short. See General Ecology for a good purifier (Seagull 4) and First needs portable. These units are great. Get familiar with water purification as it will be a master link in the chain of survival.

    • John Leone

      My electronic safe has a backup key. If the electronic lock doesn’t work, there is a hidden keyhole that takes an 8″ long key. I thought that most electronically accessed safes came with secondary access.

    • JR

      Regarding safes with electronic opening components;
      1-ok…so if I can’t swap my electronic component that opens my safe, can I protect it by wrapping it with multiple layers of foil or another substance (copper mesh?)
      2-is it the wiring in the componant that can fail so it’s useless? OR
      3-the battery will fry and just replace the battery?

      • David Morris


        I’m going to answer your questions in reverse order…

        3. & 2. The integrated circuits will fry, if anything fries.

        1. Despite the catch-all answers that people try to provide, there is no solid answer to this. The impact of an EMP depends on where it happens in relation to you, atmospheric conditions, the construction of your house, whether your safe is below ground in a basement or upstairs, and the random nature of large scale events. Personally, we have both mechanical and electronic safes. I have researched my electronic safes, just like a high-end criminal would, to know how to get into them in the event of an EMP. In the meantime, I don’t want the pain-in-the-butt of having stuff hanging off of or wrapped around my safe. I simply accept the fact/risk that the safe will be fried and everything in it will be temporarily inaccessable in the event of an EMP in exchange for the daily convenience of easy access to my safe.

    • Ed Phillips

      Does anyone know how EMP’s affect Solar Panels and a Battery Back-up System. Please let Me know if at all possible. Thanks. Ed in Southern Calif.

      • Bob

        Hi Ed,
        If the solar panels do not have computer chips in them, which some do not, they may work even better with a solar flare.

      • Mustang75


        If you want your solar to work you must have a spare off-grid inverter…in a “GOOD FARADAY BOX”… The existing inverter WILL be fried. Redundancy, redundancy, redundancy.

        Currently solar panels come in two general flavors, on and off grid. The on grid can also be used for off grid, but new technology have evolved to place a mini inverter in each solar panel…very cost effective…except that this type of panel will not work on off-grid systems.

        I have a grid-tied system and asked if the new panels w/inverters would work when I go off grid. I was told NO, they won’t charge the batteries.


    • udaman

      My question: Will the EMP affect electronics that are currently being used or all electronics unprotected by some sort of cage? I also have a safe with an electronic and have been concerned about the same situation. Just when you will need your guns, ammo, money or whatever, you will not be able to get to them.

    • Reggie Brian

      A Faraday cage is useful for static or electrostatic charges, but an EMP causes a magnet phenomenon which is really a different thing. A simple way to tell if your “magnetic blocking” device is doing what you want it to, is to put an ordinary compass inside it. If the compass still points to the north, then your enclosure does not block magnetics.

      You can take that same compass and walk past a mocrowave oven while it is in operation and watch the needle deflect around the magnetron. This shows you that the metal enclosure is blocking most of the 2450 MHz radio part of the magnetron’s output, but zero of the magnetic field. These are two different things, and the magnetics are not even attempted to be blocked, as they are not harmful to human tissue. It’s why they use it in MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machines.

      While preparation is a good thing, you are well-advised to seek accurate information about exactly what you are trying to protect yourself against. Tin foil hats are transparent to magnetics.


    • JR

      Forgive me if this was already stated, but I thought of some questions on “protecting” items and what might be rendered useless in in EMP.
      1- I have a safe, holds items like money, important documents, firearms, ammo, etc. It has a digital lock powered by a battery. Will an EMP kill it…and now I can’t get to those items?

      2- Will all utilities stop? Electricity is a given…until repairs are made by a city that’s overburdened…going to be a long wait. What about running water? It’s the same city that uses powered grids to operate the pumps that send running water to homes right? So that means no running water? And how about gas? How do they function? Will they stop? If you have a gas generator connected to your house when the power fails….will that still work? I’m guessing the city/company that sends gas will be out of commission too so that means even back up generators on NG will not operate? (And LP will last only days so don’t go there.)

      Does anyone have any thoughts on these items?

      • Ronin

        1. yes… saw, drill, or torch

        2. Potentially. Yes. Right. Perhaps. Depends. Usually with electricity. Perhaps. No. Right.

        • Mustang75

          Ronin; A man of few words…man is generic.

          Concise, and absolutely correct. I would add just this. Water may work for awhile if your line is gravity fed. NG may also work for awhile if it is under sufficient pressure. Beyond that…………

    • Morrinton85

      I thought old microwave ovens were supposed to be great Fa. cages? am I wrong? or a small dry wooden box inside an ammo box ?

    • Dennis

      Just a note about vehicles that would run after an emp. I guess that it would depend on where you live-rural or city. But if you have a vehicle that is running after an emp it seems to me you just painted a big bulls eye on you. If people will kill for a can of beans think what will happen as you are touring around the area. They will do anything for a running vehicle. You really wouldn’t want to drive it around. If you are in an isolated area in the country you could get away with it. They would probably kill for a bicycle. Also if you live rural your transportation will leave tracks and lead right to you. Besides that where and why are you going anywhere? There wouldn’t be anything to buy.
      I watch “I Survived” on tv and it seems that in many instances the victims are attacked by neighbors and people that live close by. I live in a rural area and was warned by the locals when I moved in that the majority of thefts come from people that you let onto your land. You can’t really trust anyone. If they know what you have they will come for it and don’t need a disaster for an excuse.
      I wish someone would investigate and report on Faraday cages from the position of, I really know what works and what doesn’t. There are too many conflicting ideas out there. You don’t really know who is correct.

    • MP

      Another interesting thought I just had falls on two different things. First, look at how cell phones, radios, and TVs tend to suck with reception or transmission when inside buildings with steel frameworks and roofing and concrete. The deeper the device is inside the building the less the radio waves are able to leave or enter. Which then brings me to the second thing. Maybe a test can be tried, take a couple of FRS radios, put one inside an ammo can/garbage can, etc, on a block of wood, etc in order to keep it from touching the can and turn it on. Afterward, have someone take the other radio and transmit from a short distance away, or even right by the can, and see if the radio inside the can picks up the signal. You can even try grounding the can, whatever you feel like. If the radio inside the can picks up the transmission, it means that the can prob won’t stop a higher wattage bolt from an EMP. Just a thought to try.

    • Susie

      For transportation–get out the bicycle. For food–prepare now by canning and drying. For heating–use a wood stove (you can cook on it too!) For water–better store it now. For communication–smoke signals or face to face conversation. Assume NOTHING will work, then you get the idea–you’re on an extended camp out. Hope and pray you planned and prepped well.

      • Mustang75

        For cooking heat try this.

        1. Cut a 12 inch long tube from 4 inch pvc,

        2. Drill holes near the bottom just about the end cap.

        3. Make a plunger (press) to fit the tube (plywood 3 15/16″ X 3/8″ is good). The plunger rod I use is 7/8″ wide pvc.

        4. 3/4 fill a large plastic tub with shredded paper, crushed leaves, and, or sawdust. Fill with water for five days, stirring every day (once is enuf).

        5. Insert 6″ish of the mash into the tube.

        6. Place a small spacer on top of mash.

        7. Add another 6″ of mash into the tube.

        8. Let sit for 2 days.

        9. Use plunger to press out he remaining water.

        10. Let sit for 2 days.

        11. Take out the now solid plug and snap it in half (remember the spacer?)

        12. These will burn well for 30 to 40 minutes each, It is a lengthy process, but man hours is actually minimal…shredding the newspaper is the most time consuming part, then 1 minute a day until filling tubes. Say 1 minute per tube. 1 minute for mashing down the mash. The hardest part is finding storage for all the “useable” fuel you’ve just created.

        I know its a relatively long process for 2 free brickettes, so use 20 tubes. Now you have 40 brickettes with each pressing, OH, the 4″ tube comes in 20′ lengths…very convenient.

        It is easy to do and finding paper to shred along with dry leaves in the fall is not a problem…sorry Nevada. Home Depot, et al, loves to give away their massive quantities of sawdust.

        Please just remember this…Sterno and Propane will not last long…SO MAKE YOUR OWN! IT’S EASY!

    • GWC

      5 Minute Faraday Cage, for cheap.

      2 cardboard boxes with separate lids, once box small enough to fit inside the other.
      Electrical Tape, preferably double sided, but not necessary.
      Ground wire with alligator clip.
      Thick plastic sheeting.
      COPPER foil.

      Buy copper foil here. http://www.nimrodhall.com/
      I like this company because they make a quality product, are polite and helpful (and know which of their products you will need, and will not tell you to buy the most expensive one), and have a funny name that makes me chuckle due to my low sense of humor.

      1. Cover larger box and lid, inside and outside, with copper foil, making sure to overlap each piece at least one inch. Also, make sure inside and outside layers are connected together. Use the electrical tape to secure the foil.

      2. Strip plastic off of ground wire for at least 3 inches on end without alligator clip and connect exposed length of the ground wire to copper foil with tape.

      3. Cover foil with plastic sheeting on outside of big box and lid only, making sure copper on box and lid will be in contact.

      4. Cover smaller box and lid, inside and outside, with plastic sheeting.

      5. Put electronics in smaller box. put on lid. Put smaller box in bigger box. Put lid on bigger box making sure copper on lid and box ARE TOUCHING. Run ground wire out window to grounding rod.

      6. Go eat popcorn.

    • Brad

      I worked for many years building and testing SCIF for the DOD. Sorry but most of the Ideas listed here in coments will just not work.
      You need 99%+ pure copper 16 mesh .011 wire dia min. to build your cage the finer the better for emp.
      You also need interlacing type seals on any door opening.
      Here are some things to google so your readers can build a working cage
      DIAM 50-3
      NASA Design Guide for Shielding
      Optical mesh for shielded windows
      Grounding and Bonding guide for RFI / EMI
      One company for wire mesh is http://www.twpinc.com they have quality products and will cut to size

      • MP

        Which ideas would not work vs a copper mesh Faraday cage? What about the insulating of devices with alternating layers before placing in cage/box? Or using things like ammo cans, metal trash cans, etc as the “cage” vs the copper, since the containers are totally sealed? What about grounding or not grounding? While most of us, myself included are not experts (who honestly is?) I’m fishing for more info to help better prep or fine tune what I’m already doing.

    • rightsideray

      From another source: use an appropriately sized (for your need) galvanized trash can,insulate with a non-conductive material like an insulated sleeping pad cut to fit & glue-gunned into place so there are no gaps. Include the lid so when closed it “seals” and has no gap around the rim. Use Mylar bags to hold your electronics (pairs of GRS radios, hand-crank radio receivers) and heat seal them shut with an iron at “cotton” temperature. insert in can, seal lid to can with metallic tape (heavy like duct tape for A/C units). Add a large gauge copper wire to a can handle (I wrap from one handle to the other, looped snuggly) then attached to a copper ground rod. Remember to clear yourself of static before you open the cage.

    • Shawn

      To say that all the game would be gone in 2 weeks is not realistic.

      1. not every american citizen has a weapon for hunting.
      2. The hunters may already have enough meat for a month or longer.(if it frozen better learn how to make jerky or salt to preserve it)
      3. I looked at my fridge before prepping and I have 2 weeks of food.
      4. During Katrina people first instinct was to pillage food from locate stores not catch it.
      5. Metro areas are far from hunting locations and required fuel to get there and back.
      6. The game with catch on quickly and move to a safer location.
      7. Martial law may be intact during the first weeks and prevent travel.

      Plus there are more factors then this, people will try to survive by the easiest means possible, the hunters would try to be stealthy at first since it they would be like a loin hunting and protecting their food from hyenas. So I would not worry about game disappearing faster then Wal marts.

      If An EMP happens and Knocks out everything, the threats are your neighbors you know nothing about and being prepared to hold out for a year w/out electricity.

    • Joken woody

      A good and entertaining read regarding EMPs are Terri Blackstock’s book’s Last Light, etc.
      They are fiction but very believeable. Thanks for your article!

    • David H

      I found instructions for making a Faraday cage using a steel garbage can and cardboard. Using aluminum foil to wrap portable radios, you can see that they block the radio waves from getting through. The cardboard lined garbage can works the same way. Instructions are found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoQZY1FtI3c&feature=plcp&context=C4e3a0d7VDvjVQa1PpcFN7_thWXt7ehJunT2C9miBM4uyNKqy_6Rw%3D.

    • Ron

      I have been in electronics for 45 years starting with vacuum tubes. I do have non grounded faraday cages for AM/FM radio’s , Ham equipment and will be building one for a generator. My question is….How will you know its safe to take equipment out of the cages. The infrastructure will be down/ power grids and maybe all communications will be down. There won’t be anymore warnings that a second solar flare is on the way to Earth. So days after the EMP I would wait for months and use the great survival skills you have in “placeinplace”. Forget the electronics. I was told that photographic developing paper might be placed outside to see it darken when theres EMP present. Whats your take on this.

    • Marlous Hicks

      One Second After is a good book. I enjoyed the book Lights Out alot more. Both of them made you sit up and think.

    • Snotty

      Quietly listening to the discussion.

      I am a ham radio operator. I would count on information on the ham bands as vital in a really serious situation. I have multiple transcievers. I believe I could take one of them and “pack it away” for such an EMP event.

      My computers would be so much junk after an event, but maybe if i did the grounding and hardened my systems, I could collect and send information using my squirled away radios. There are just too many varibles to guess it correctly.

      Here is a question….If I came up on the air after such an event, would I become a target?
      Would the fact that I was there cause people to seek me out? For good or for bad?

      We can only prepare as best we can.

      A prepper just starting out and a really worried citizen.

      • MP

        My thought on a HAM operator becoming a target might be to rig up a mobile unit with one of the HAM units that uses little power and just set up in a discreet location, moving periodically. Maybe if you’re in a location where there’s lots of tall pine trees or what not, an antenna set up among the trees may be masked enough that no one would really know you’re out there, unless they have an RF sniffer, but after an EMP, who would? Other than the gov’t. The only other idea for radios would be to acquire a vacuum tube HAM radio that’s old enough that it may not have any diodes in it, just caps, resistors and tubes. Preferably a unit w/o a transformer, since any tube radio w/o a transformer can be run off 120 VDC as well as VAC. Just a thought.

    • Jamie

      Would an EMP or CME affect solar panels? Anybody know?

      • David Morris

        EMPs, whether caused by a nuclear explosion or by a CME, have the potential to affect anything with integrated circuits.

      • MP

        Jamie, I actually wondered the same thing since my plan was to implement solar power around our homestead for off grid power in case of any SHTF situation. I know that charge controllers and inverters would most likely be screwed, but research has at best given mixed results, contradictions at best. Some say nothing will happen, but others say that since solar panels are essentially huge diodes with N-P junctions, they could be damaged at those junctions and either work at a greatly reduced efficiency at best or not at all, at worst. Again, redundancy is master here.

    • Ranchman

      As far as preparing for an EMP/CME, I’ve built one of my workbenches, which hold my commo equipment, with a special section on the bottom which is easily covered with aluminum. I ran a ground wire through the hole in the outer wall where my coax goes through and attached it to a ground rod going into the ground. I can simply unplug the equipment, disconnect the antennas and throw them under the bench into the homemade “faraday” cage. Other than that, I really don’t know what else to do.
      God Bless.

    • gil

      as a followup, maybe all the contrails will be a conductive mesh that will prevent emps from getting through…

      so, when we see a CME coming at us, we can ask the cia to fire up the contrail fleet to protect us…

    • Highpockets

      How would haveing a lightening aresstor system on your house affect the EMP? I’m wondering if it were grounded well enough if the charge would follow the “path of least resistance”?

      • David Morris

        There are several ways that EMPs, whether nuclear or solar, destroy integrated circuits in electronics…one is from direct exposure to the pulse and the other is from the pulse hitting something that allows the pulse to be conducted to an integrated circuit.

        An example is having electronics in a Faraday cage, but having a power cord or anteanna that is not shielded. So, you could have electronics that are protected from the direct effects of the pulse, but get a pulse that is conducted to them from the outside of the Faraday cage by the power cord or anteanna.

        Shielded electronics, like what the military has adopted to a limited extent, are shielded in a different way than what is practical (affordable) for most civilian applications.

    • Dave W.

      I’m not buying any more of this hog wash.We got hit hard by that CME.The magnetic field of earth kept it out.So that is one thing that they got wrong.But we could get some nasty weather out of this.And I will tell you why.The moon got blasted by it.And the moon runs the weather on earth.The moon just got super charged by the Sun.I know how it all works now.It all works like a super battery.The earth in negatively charged and the moon is positively charged.The sun charges up the moon.The moon sends electricity to earth and hits the magnetic field and keep the earth in its spin.Kind of cool.So when the clouds get a blast of electricity.The clouds become positively charged.And what is a cloud made of? 90% water and 10% dust.And water makes the best conductor.When the cloud cools down it gets heavy.But when a cloud was made from the sun alone that would be nagatively charged cloud.And when the 2 clouds smash into each other, the power will go to its closesed ground poin. And we get lightning.Add wind and heat to that mix and cool it down fast.Be somewhere elts.That will make tornados.

      • MP

        It is kinda ironic that at the same time the solar burst occurred we got some mad storms and weather across the US, coincidence? You be the judge…

    • gil

      for preppers relying on advice from the NEC (national electrical code), please be aware, that it’s an industry minimum and is only meant as a practical safeguard for persons and property from the hazards of the use of electricity…

      this doesn’t necessarily mean eqiupment protection, especially as it relates to EMPs, etc.

      you really need to go overboard in relaation to the NEC if you’re going to safeguard equipment from events/sources other than conventional electrical generation sources.

    • Sheridan

      Interesting article. Thanks David.

    • MAH

      What happened to my comment regarding RICH EIMERT, Jr.’s run on post? I don’t read the posts very often so I don’t know if he/she (could be, we are all anonymous here) posts in such a run on random way all the time or what. I only meant my suggestion as advice to make an easy to read, informative post for the rest of us.

      Yesterday should have been a warning bell. I know, when I heard the news I said to my husband, “I’m not ready yet!” He said he didn’t think he was either, as we have separate prepping chores. But, then I thought that I probably will never think I’m ready so there’s nothing I can do except make do!

    • Ned Sprockethead

      As far as grouding a Faraday cage in your house goes, is there a problem with tying it in to the waterline?

      • gil


        i would be leary (sp?) about this connection. a faraday cage on the outside will act as an antenna and induce a small current to ground. if youre drinking from the sink, you might get the feeling similar to touching a 9v batt to your tongue.

        also, long term, this might help leach out lead from your soldered joints.

        i’d look for another path to ground.

        • Jade

          Small currents can and will cause pitting of the water system unless it is plastic.

    • Karen Cook

      Installing Ground Rods the Easy Way: http://www.cosjwt.com/index.php?a=16

    • Randal

      David, thank you for your more reasoned response. Yes, I’m familiar with “Confessions of an Economic Hitman.” I’m glad you are too. Perhaps you could be more explicit in your views than in the paragraph above. Colonialism and Empire are exactly why a lot of the world’s people resent us. Let’s all get real about this.

      Dr. Prepper, I’ve been a prepper for over five years. I’m sure there is a lot of diversity among preppers. Unfortunately, your type doesn’t deserve any response from me.

      • Dr. Prepper

        I guess I’ll be the BIGGER man here and just say good luck to you.

    • matrix

      Other great books to read are;
      Lights Out by David Crawford
      Dark Grid by David C Waldron
      EMP Survival: How to prepare now and survive when EMP destroys our power grid
      by Larry and Cheryl Poole
      Each can give you an insite to how things MAY progress should an EMP hit.

    • Caribou

      I installed a whole house surge protector in the breaker panel. I also left the existing surge protectors in place on my computer, TV, etc. I don’t know how effective it will be on a CME/EMP but it won’t hurt and it will help on the surges we get here regularly. I understand that an EMP can enter your home through the grid (a great antenna).

      Most modern heating systems use electronics to operate and manage them. I highly recommend a back up heater that will work without electricity. EMP/CME’s are just a couple of reasons that you might not have power. You might consider a complete set of electronic parts to keep as spares for your heating system and any other vital systems. You will need to store these in a protected manner. Having a spare generator does you little good if you can only plug in your lights.

      • gil


        it’s been my experience that a straight on lightning hit is faster than any protective device, unless you spend some serious moola for them…

        however, if it’s an EMP, one of the simplest answers might be to open your main circuit breaker for a few hours…we were told what, 3 days in advance of this week’s storm that it was coming? opening up the main might afford you some protection.
        that’s all for now…

      • Jade

        A few years ago I was in the business of selling TVSS (Transient Voltage Surge Suppressing) equipment to corporations with large computer systems. These were installed on the main electrical feed panels and worked very well with Lightning strikes as well as Voltage spikes on the grid.
        I have had the smaller units installed on the main electrical panel of homes I have owned.
        I think they would work for Transient Voltage coming in from the power line caused by induced voltage. These units have limitations and if the Voltage exceeds these limitations all bets are off.
        It probably would not do much good with the direct CME/EMP. Proper grounding is imperative .

    • gil

      i’ve read conflicting stories about faraday cages and whether or not modern cars need them.
      also, regarding the game issue, most game, rabbits, prairie dogs, cats, etc. are going to be completely gone within two weeks of an “event” no matter what the event is.
      as far as grounding your cage to disperse an event, i think this is a waste of time and copper…throw a couple ground rods in and call it a day. there may only be one or two strips of states in the nation that have the right soil conditions to affectively disperse that much energy coming into the ground (hint: if you’re west of kansas, forget it)…i took a class at georgia tech a couple years ago on effective grounding for things like this…almost impossible to do without loads of copper and ground rods.
      best case is to store as many stores as you’ll need for all of the various scenarios, whether it be nucular, emp, marital law, etc.

    • Martin

      Don’t know if it will work, but I sunk 2 ground rods on either end of a 20′ steel cargo container and # 4 wire from the container to each of the rods. I keep both of my generators and spare vehicle parts in it. My guess is this nobody really knows what will work and what won’t, or if they do, their not telling anybody. All we can really do is be as well prepared as wh can.

    • Fred

      In reference to Pat’s comment about grounding:
      Grounding a house properly is very important, multiple grounding rods should be bonded together according to National Electrical Code. Having said this, the pupose of the grounding rod is to act as a common return for electrical current and act a s a zero potential. It should dissipate static electricity that is formed before, during & after a lightning strike. If my memory serves properly, before lightning strikes the electrons in the air align themselves. As an example: A tree near a house takes a direct lightning hit and the electrical devices in the house get fried sometimes even when properly grounded. When the air ionizes electrical devices in this ionized field can induce their own electric current and basically self destruct. Lightning is extremely unpredictible and I suspect an Electro Magnetic Pulse and these pulses from the sun are also.

    • cep89

      Any plan for a SHTF situation needs to be practiced, and this latest solar storm gave me a reason to practice. I took my house off the grid and disconnected phone lines and put my everyday electronics into my homemade faraday cage (a metal briefcase lined with aluminum foil. I unpluged applainces and put phones and walkie talkies in the microwave(unpluged of course). I keep some items (SW radio, AM radio, spare computer) always stored in nested faraday cages. Nested faraday cages are more effective. They are made by wraping the item without it’s power cord or antenna in aluminum foil and then wrapping them in thick plastic ( like contractor garbage bags). Then wrap in aluminum foil and put it in a box and wrap it in foil. Then label it and store it with your preps in your safe room. As for aluminum siding or metal roofs, my research has shown that it is not very effective because you need to totally enclose the item in a metal box with no holes.

    • Randal

      “They want us to live the same miserable lives that they live rather than to have individual liberty.” David, I paid good money for your course. But, I have decided to seek information from other sources. Your political and world views are simplistic and delusional.

      • Dr. Prepper

        Adios, don’t let the door hit you in the a$$ on your way out. Taking something very, very complicated like political and world views and condensing it down to
        “simplistic” takes genius. The ONLY “Delusionalist ” [did I just make a new word?] is you. Always looking for that perfect solution to your problems is delusional in and of itself. This is not the “end all” of websites on this subject and is merely one of many I visit. That being said, if you truly got nothing from this site then you are too ignorant [or I guess in your mind… too smart] to be associated with us simplistic and delusional Preppers……see first sentence………..

      • David Morris

        Randal, you’ve been telling me I’m delusional and that you’re leaving for the last year and a half, and yet you keep coming back to call me delusional :) You may want to consider, for just a second, that there’s more than one side of “the truth.” Muslims have been actively targeting and killing Americans since beore America was a country. England protected us from them before the revolution. France protected us during the revolution. We paid “protection money” to the Barbary pirates after the revolution until they decided to STILL take our ships, steal our goods, and kill our people. They were the Marine’s first major overseas operation, why the Marines are called Leathernecks, and more. Extremist Muslims believe that they MUST convert, tax, or kill all non-Muslims (and non-extrimist Muslims, for that matter)…there is no place in extrimist theology for long-term peaceful co-existance with the non-extremists.

        At the same time, we have created and toppled regimes, built and destroyed economies, and done quite a bit to build a global economic empire in a post-military empire world. A great introductory book on this, in fact, is “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”.

        • MP

          Political differences aside, in the end it’s not gonna matter what your political or religious affiliation is. If TSHTF, we’re all equally screwed if we don’t prepare. That’s the real way to look at it. Its fine to disagree with David or Glenn Beck or whoever else out there that has differing views but if they provide good info to keep your tail alive, then I would forgive any differences and just continue to do what I need to do to make sure I come out with as few scars as possible after any SHTF scenario plays out. Just my 2 cents….

          • Miss Kitty

            “Take what you can use, and leave the rest.” I must admit that sometimes I have read or heard things that seemed so outrageous that I thought they had to be total BS. Then I later found out they were true. Conversely, there have been things I’ve read or heard that seemed to make total sense — and then later I found out they were total BS. Often, only time will tell what’s what. I’ve learned the hard way to keep my mouth shut and my mind open!

            And “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” and other related books by John Perkins are WELL worth checking out. Really gives an insider’s perspective on why some people might dislike and mistrust U.S. citizens — of whatever religion or political party those U.S. citizens might be.

    • Rick

      There is an aluminium foil product called radiant barrier that is design to be installed in your attic just below the beams. Usually comes in rolls. It’s purpose is to reflect radiant heat from the roof and keep attics cooler. Works like a champ cooling attic..Ground it to you house ground and you got a po-mans faraday. And your elect bill will decrease and home will stay cooler….You can increase your ground potential by adding ground rods.(better ground) Elect will follow the best and shortest path to ground….By the way this radiant barrier product is used on all space craft, sat and whatever else goes into to space to protect it..
      check out http://www.thermalsolarsol.com


    • Steve K

      According to the Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States of EMP Attack, about 85% of all vehicles would still be functional – with some dashboard functions lost. The report can be found online. It is a profound national tragedy that the report was issued on the same day as the 9-11 commission report. Guess which report got the headlines?

      I think David is correct that if your preps cover the basics, you cover a lot of ground. Have you noticed that on the National Geographic “Doomsday Preppers” the preps taken are analized in terms of the probability of the specific event being prepared for happening? Why not cover a group of preppers that are being good boy scouts and believe in “Being Prepared”? We the people, our cities, and the country would be better off if we all prepared for emergencies.

      • MP

        Being a bit of a pessimist, I would have to take gov’t studies with a grain of salt. With their track record of fudging things to get the results they hope for, which may be to not induce panic or get everyone into a “prepper” mode, I would still prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Besides, this layman has to wonder, how can the scientists actually duplicate a true EMP or CME at the intensity that is theorized from a nuke or the sun? If the nuclear tests that went on in the US during the 40’s and 50’s was able to do things like shut off parts of the power grid and damage radios, and these are tube radios with very little if anything that is really vulnerable ( a couple of diodes, capacitors) then just imagine what the same thing set off as a high altitude air burst can do to sensitive micro electronics like CMOS chips and MOSFETs commonly used in every computer or microelectronic device known to man. The same properties that make these devices power misers make them super sensitive to anything over the small voltage/amperages that were intended for these devices.

    • Sue the Frugal Survivalist

      I’ve read that an old microwave oven makes a great Faraday cage for protecting electronic gear. Thrift stores are full of them.

      • Guest

        Make sure you cut the electrical cord off the unit, as it will act as an antennae and carry the energy inside.

    • Richard

      EMP’s are one of ‘many’ reasons to consider building a home or storage silo using earth bag technology. If you have a minute, go on over to my website and see some of the applications for this type of construction. Best, Richard

      • jmacy

        What is your website address? I would like to about earth bag technology.

    • Pat

      Please be advised that grounding rods MUST be tied together of you may set up a potential difference in the electrical field around your home. This is like nectar to a bee concerning lightning. There are very detailed rules for grounding. The section on proper grounding is quite large in the electrical code.

      I had a friend that had a grounded extension cord hanging out a window from the upstairs so he could do some work on the ground below. Lightning zeroed in on that cord and took out the building.

      When I was putting up a wifi radio tower, I had to ground each of the four anchors, the center post, tie them all together and then tie all that to the house ground or else the lightning would think my tower and/or house was a good snack.

      Look into proper methods of grounding. Consult a professional. Lightning is much more likely to occur than EMP. I do not dispute the dangers of EMP, just in terms of the odds, lightning is an ever-present danger. Here in Texas, we get spectacular lightning displays.

    • Suni

      Being a prepper for 1 year we have not yet gotten into the Faraday cage aspect. One reason being that we do not have the skills to build one, that be said we are planning to survive in place without electricity at least for now. We happen to live in the SW region of Texas, not to cold in winter and very hot in summer. Our main concern is water and finding alternatives to rain water. We have been in drought for some time and are working on obtaining a very large holding tank for potable water. Storing water inside takes a huge amount of space. Our water table is very deep or so we have been told. Although I did find this weeks news letter very informative, as they all are it really doesn’t apply to our current situation. My main areas of concern is storing enough food and water, medical supplies for entire family, 11 people. My grown kids thinks everything will continue as it always has and there is no convening them otherwise. So as a good parent I will just keep storing until something happens or until Jesus takes us home. Thanks Dave for all that you do we would be lost without your site and intellect.

    • Joe Six Pack

      Would a good lightnibg rod system offer any protection from an EMP?

      • MP

        EMP’s consist of many different frequencies of EMF radiation, I think there’s like 3 different types of EMPs that are combined into the overall EMP, the type of spike you get like from a lightning strike is just one of the many types of energies that would be released from an EMP. Just like with a microwave oven faraday cage, you’ll stop one energy but the rest will get thru.

    • Mariowen

      I have heard that refrigerators or freezers make good faraday cages. Is this right? Do you have to do anything to them in order for them to be a safe storage?

      • MP

        An old fridge would probably make a good faraday cage…I would still do the double wrapping of everything though. I don’t know how the rubber gasket would effect penetration of the EM waves though….The better bet might be to get some of those surplus 55 gallon drums with removable lids and store your stuff in em and keep em in your metal shed, or if you have the money, put em in a small storage locker off site, along with some other supplies. With your pre 80’s car/truck, you can make a midnight run to the locker to get your stuff when needed. Redundancy, in case your primary stock gets raided or confiscated.

    • RICH EIMERT, Jr.

      I just wrote you a whole bunch of things about how I’ve been writing about this coming for 20 years, the government is hardened, the public is not this one to say I want up getting a storage unit for my survival things, thinking about it it’s probably the best faraday cage also because they are all in close and pretty sick metal cages so I wonder if that would be a natural faraday cage, I write many things and I’m usually never wrong because I would have to go into it a lot to explain to you what I have done over last 20 years to warn people, and I’m not talking about just some spots, of course you know they’re going to take over the Internet and they’re doing it now as we speak watching every word you say, welcome to Third World America I am very good with technology and I said in the past he thought Russia was up to peoples ass you wait and see with the technology of America will do how many things I cannot even tell you that’s going on this the first time I’ve ever been afraid of my government and as I could see probably the 80% of the population is feeling the same way.
      Like I said I’m very good with electronics I do not have license in electronics but I built my own computers, I would like to know if even if you have electronics that are off Canon EMP fry the circuit board?
      Everything I want to say is that I’ve been having many problems I would like to know if others know because communications are going to be the key between the public I will write something which I just did to you my screen goes black totally just goes off-line never had these problems but I hear they’re really clamping down on saying anything bad about the Schmucker no White House and his pals, I have noticed a new company, I would imagine it’s some kind of Telephone Company Middletown New York and Nice trucks are all over the place and up every single telephone pole had never heard of them before but something big is up and all but the smart grid that was posted go through the Internet so I’m not sure what kind of spying you going to do now, it’s called frontier, it says on the side of the truck a citizens communication company, I have to look it up but these people are up to something man they are all over doing all kinds of things maybe you would know. If so much I want to say. But maybe have a link where I can tell people what I know they’re trying to shows them people ask my question where are the people?

    • mike

      My generator,and a few spare electronic items are stored in an old van type semi-trailer.It’s an all aluminum shell with a steel frame,and the landing legs are grounded.I’m hoping I’m covered with this.I also have three older vehicles(pre 1970) that do not have an electronic ignition.They run on a points ignition,which I believe will still run after an EMP.Whether or not an EMP ever hits,older vehicles are way easier to fix,than a newer one.Other than that,everything else is business as usual.Good Luck.

    • Lloyd

      I agree that the loss of the power grid and modern electronic devices would devistate the entire U.S. and most other countries in the world, I think that our best preparations for this type of scenario is to learn the skills of our forefathers, and add as many of the basic hand tools and materials that they used (and we would need) into our storage supplies.

      As in several of the books I have read, if we get to a full power grid down situation, it won’t take long for a blacksmith or tinker to be in much greater demand than an IT technician.

      I agree, “One Second After” is an excellent read

      It is better to not need it, than to not have it……prepare well my friends.

    • Paul

      “On the other hand, many people simply don’t appreciate how much some people hate the US, our freedoms, our wealth, and our support of Israel. They don’t know us, but they want to kill us. They want us to live the same miserable lives that they live rather than to have individual liberty.”

      You forgot to mention the fact that “THEY” hate us because we are over there bombing “THEM” without a declaration of war. Did you ever think “THEY” want to be left alone without the United States in “THEIR” lands or interfering in “THEIR” internal affairs. It would be no different if China was occupying land in our country.

      • Sheridan

        Every time I read that in these articles and others I just want to vomit. The “they” Morris and others refer to in my opinion are NOT who “they” say “they” are. It is typical however of someone who believes all of what MSM and our “benevolent” leaders tell us to believe. A true nation of sheep. I’m sure our ancestors are rolling over in their graves at how gullible we’ve become.

    • Greg

      I recently purchased a 1986 Blazer diesel V8. I was told it was EMP proof but is there any way to really be sure?
      Also the engine should run on bio-diesel fuel. I have been told that bio-diesel is actually cleaner that standard diesel fuel and clean the engine and make it last even longer. Any knowledge about this would be helpful.

      • Martin

        Greg, I’m no expert, but the big thing is no electric fuel injection, no computer or brain in the vehicle. From my research, most pre 1979 vehicles comply. For gas vehicles, we will probably have to replace points, condensers and probably alternator/generator and possibly the starter motor. Marty

      • Anthony

        You need to examine your ignition system. I have an 83 Ford Mustang with an electronic ingition module box on the inside of the fender. I think that it would be prudent if you purchased this vehicle for EMP proofness, that you have a backup of the module, coil, and alternator. The long wires in the alternator and the coil make them particularly vulnerable to EMP. Keep your spares in a faraday cage and if it ever occurs, replace parts and your vehicle should be good to go.

        • Anthony

          Martin is right about the starter for the same reason as the coil and the alternator. Also about any electronic fuel injection. I overlooked those.

          • Guest

            The starter will survive OK. The Alternator will survive too, except the voltage regulator will not, whether its inside or outside the unit. The ignition coils themselves will probably survive, and the transistorized driver board may survive since descrete transitors have a better chance of surviving than electronic chips whose transistors are so small they simple get overwhelmed even by a simple static discharge.

          • gil

            for what it’s worth, diesels don’t have points, etc. and will stay running without an alternator, unlike a gas motor…they do have an injector control module though he’ll need to protect.

            • MP

              While there’s a chance that the transistors will survive in the first generation electronic ignition systems that were used in most cars starting in the early 70’s up to the early 80’s, what most people should look at is that its real easy to get breaker point distributors for most of these engines. All the big 3 domestics engines used thru these years remained unchanged for the most part. Since I’m a Ford guy, the windsor V8 engines (260, 289, 302, 351) remained the same even into the EFI years. A breaker point distributor can be installed with just a swap of the camshaft drive gear since the points distributors usually used a smaller drive gear. While the voltage regulators that are solid state would probably be vulnerable as well, most regulators from the late 60s and back were of an electromechanical design, basically something like an old time buzzer/bell, constantly opening and closing during the system’s operation. These could be used in place of the solid state systems. If you can understand schematics, it would be easy to figure out how to re-wire an oldie regulator into the system in place of the solid state regulator. Personally I would still think that most if not all the solid state stuff in the car would be vulnerable due to the idea that the whole car’s body will serve as an antenna, amplifying the EMF to a point that it will probably fry everything. Even the power transistors in the old school electronic ignition are not that strong (able to withstand 10 amps give or take). A good EMP could induce currents that dwarf what those components can withstand so everything will probably go “fissst!”

              As far as the old diesel truck from the late 80’s, while the engine will probably be fine, you still have to look at the idea that most cars still had computers to control the automatic transmissions shift points. Unless the car/truck is a manual or an older automatic, then the vehicle will still have a simple computer in it.

              For a while I had the idea of taking a couple of cars from the later 80’s/90’s that are EFI models and “de-evolving” them to the simple setups with breaker point distributors and carbureted intakes. As a consolation to those interested in the same idea, you could put the breaker point distributor in and get one of those “Pertronix Ignitor” conversions for the distributor, then keep the breaker points in the trunk so if something actually does happen, all you gotta do is swap the points back in and you’re on the road again, no pulling distributors and re-timing the engine.

        • Bob Reynolds, PhD

          Or, do what I do. I have a fully restored 1928 Model A Ford in the barn. No electronics of any kind. If the starter got fried in an EMP, I still have the hand crank to get ‘er going again.

          Getting gasoline will still be impossible if the grid goes out, but I’ll look pretty driving around my non-EMP fried car, smiling smugly at everyone else in their smoking piles of useless metal, until my gasoline runs out. Then I’ll be walking just like the rest of you — with OR without your precious replacement parts protected in the Faraday cage.

          Bottom line is that we ALL will be walking. Forget the Faraday cage. Forget replacement parts. Use that money instead to stock up on food and absolute survival gear. With the power grid down, there’ll be no gasoline deliveries to power your replacement-friendly car. And just how long do you think it will take for the local gas station to run out of gas once the EMP hits? Forget trying even to get over to the gas station. Without power, they won’t be able to pump out what gas they have in their storage tanks.

          A lot of this discussion is pie-in-the-sky. If we have an effective EMP or solar storm, we all MUST be ready within that split second to survive on what we have on hand at that split second.

          Prepare for what you can. Pray that the rest doesn’t happen

          • MP

            It’s always cool to see someone tooling around in super classic Americana like that, but we wouldn’t have to go back that far, anything from the 60’s will be more than adequate, preferably with a stick shift, so at least in a pinch you can still push start the thing. Easier to find, parts are still available in most cases.

            As far as fuel issues, it would be a thought to keep a spare carburetor used for drag racing that’s built to use alcohol fuel. In a pinch you can distill your own alky if you have access to feedstocks. Even distilling bulk liquor can net you some alky. Rubbing alcohol, methanol from the speed shop, all useable.

            Another thought would be to build a wood gas producer (easier done if you have a truck), burn wood, go everywhere. The last thing I seen regarding alternate fuels was a methane bladder. People in Europe installed huge inflatable bags on their vehicles that they would fill with methane generated from animal crap. They didn’t need fancy compressor equipment or anything. They let the natural pressure from the digesters fill the bladders then they drove around for the few miles they need to before the bladder gets exhausted. They were huge and cumbersome but they allowed people to drive around if they didn’t want to mess with wood gas. Of course the same idea can be used for your house as far as refrigeration, stoves, heat, or lighting, just a thought….

          • Deborah

            BINGO! You’re a smart man, doc.

    • Gene Terenzio Sr.

      I’m sure most of you have heard of HAARP, High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program I’ll go out on a limb and say that, The Government was testing there capability’s to defect EMP attacks with this last one and are causing this to happen with HAARP.
      With that said I would thing that if we are warned in time if you Took the battery’s out of all your electronic devises shut off the main breaker in your house disconnect your battery in you vehicles you wont get hit with an EMP, What your take on this easy & inexpensive solution? Gene

      • Guest

        This is not true. OK, assume it is. Take a battery powered electronic device and remove the battery. Then place it in your microwave and radiate it for, say, on tenth of a second.
        Take it out an see if it works. Believe me, it wont! You see, the electricity is induced in real time across the entire conductor(s). Put a piece of aluminum foil inside your microwave and turn it on for a couple seconds an watch the electricity dance all over it. This is what happens to all your electronic devices. And yes, it happens equally well on all the replacement parts sitting on the shelf down at the parts store/warehouse. The computers will go down, and there will be few chips that survive, anywhere. And the machines that make the chips?, they’re fried too. Figure it out. You can’t bring the grid back up until you bring their computers back up. And you can’t bring their computers back up until you bring the chip mfg’ing back online. And you can’t bring the chip mfg’ing back online until you can bring the grid back up. Think about it. Now, think about it again. Whatcha gonna do? Huh?

        • davidmobile

          Excellent illustration.

        • Dr. Prepper

          Thats hittin’ the ole nail on the head….sure makes sense…Thanks!

        • Gene Terenzio Sr.

          Guest, Evidently you are very young, I’m 67, I don’t have a cellophane,I was born before T.V.’s were in all homes, Cars Had an generator, points, condenser, No electronics, according to you YOUR world would come to an end if we had a EMP, If we look at the electronic world we live in now, compared to the way it used to be,People that were alive back in the day Had Job’s, all this easer way of doing things with all the hightec crap we have today, If it was gone we could go back to doing things like before, there would be more people working, ( if you want to eat go to work,) there ‘ll be plenty of jobs, back then people helped each other, for free,Kind of like the Amish,. yes we had electricity, we had Washing machines, Refrigerators, Electric stoves, and cars that would last forever if you took care of them (preventive matanice) today every thing to day has a computer in it, So thing about how dirty bastard the CEO of big business, are today, I’ll bet all them computers are programed to make something in all the crap they make today go bad, I Built computers when the laptop your typing on today had to have two story’s of electronic banks to store the info that you store in your laptop or cellophane today, (I walked around the inside of your laptop) after that i was a mechanic most of my life, When computers came out, I noticed that when a certain car had electric problems, it was 90% of the time the same thing went wrong in all of them, Thats when i got hip to what they were doing, It was all about the money, Back then you could buy a brand new !964 ford f150.For $1,600.oo, I lived in Stamford Conn. then, I worked on the prototype car that was the first car with a catalyst converter, You could buy a house for $25,000.oo, The electronic boom just cost us all our jobs, and look at now they can screw up the whole world as you know it, with one nuke blown up at 3 miles above the earth, So what are we going to do? go back to when every one worked for yourself, Not the government,, A EMP would do us all a favor, Thats what I think. Gene.

    • Jack Jobe

      The scale for ‘dangerous’ CMEs is X1-9. The 1859 Carrington Effect is estimated at an X28.

      When “Doomsday Preppers” asked me to ‘speak only about solar flares’, I argued. I prefer your ‘prepare for anything’ but I proudly ‘worry the most’ about CMEs for NatGeo. Our episode (S1E9) begins airing on March 27, 2012.

      David, here is a new interview in “Wired” discussing a much higher chance of another “Carrington Effect” than was previously thought.


      I had not taken some of the precautions against EMPs you suggested and I will ASAP.

      Please let me know IF my wife, Jacquie & I capture “The Top Crazy” spot on Doomsday Preppers. Remember “Reality TV” ISN’T – and try not to die laughing during our “knife training” segment.

      Seriously, I will be demonstrating my new survival tool prototype on the show. As an EMT+, I would value your feedback.

      A friend and Affiliate, Jack “Walk About Prepared™” Jobe

    • Mischief

      I agree w/ Dr. Pepper, One Second After is a must read. My 10 year old now wants to build faraday cages and give them away as Christmas presents & my 16 year olds new hobby is researching emergency preparedness. Proof that there is no real need to be afraid, knowlege is power.

    • David Ozanne

      I also wonder about the insulation that is covered with aluminum foil?

    • David Ozanne

      Has anyone ever studied the effect of having aluminium siding on protection from an EMP/CME?

      • Anthony

        Windows and the roof would allow the microwaves to pass into the house. A faraday cage constructed with the exterior clad with aluminum siding would be good if there are no openings. Keep in mind that your microwave oven is a faraday cage. It keeps the microwaves inside from getting out instead of the other way around as with an EMP/CME. I think that a steel office cabinet would work just fine if it has no openings or vents. Then I think that it could be lined with something like corrigated card board and then wrap items in aluminum foil just in case(but not touch aluminum foil), or use card board boxes. I also think that a layered approach of conductive and not conductive layers would be the best cheap way to go. Just think a little out of the box with common materials.

        • MP

          While a microwave oven is a faraday cage in a sense, the only problem is that it’s designed to only stop microwaves from escaping (or penetrating in the case of an emp), and since emp’s are composed of all different frequencies of electromagnetic waves, you’ll still have everything else penetrate while the microwaves get stopped, you’d have to have something that’s a full blown shield to all EMF’s.

      • BJO

        Don’t forget, it all MUST be GROUNDED for it to work.

        • Guest

          Your information is not accurate. Satelites and space stations can be protected w/o a “ground”. Wrapping anything in three layers of wax paper/aluminum foil should make a very good faraday shield. An E field cannot exist inside a conductive container. However, currents induced in the outer layer can induce secondary E fields on both side of that conductive layer, tho greatly reduced in intensity. That’s why you need more than one layer. Each layer reduces the danger exponentially. Happy wrapping. No gaps allowed in the conductive layers, however.

        • Red

          Grounding is not always necessary. Look into “nested” faraday cages (like the examples from Anthony) From what I’ve researched, you can have a perfect nested faraday cage and then you ground it and that introduces the EM pulse into the cage and you can fry everything. It is supposedly VERY difficult to PROPERY ground a faraday cage, so it is recommended to use a nested faraday cage with a layered approach to protect items. For example put some items in a microwave and (it being a proper faraday cage) nothing would get hurt, right? Well, if you leave the power cord attached the elecrical pulse will flow up the cord and into the microwave and fry everything inside. So the solution is to remove the cord, or cut it as close as possible to the microwave. Same applies to a room that you protected. If you have things plugged in to an outlet or an antenna from the roof attached to something inside the room, then you just defeated your faraday cage and most likely your room will get fried.

    • Sarah

      Great article David. Thanks so much for all the wonderful info:)

    • Rocky

      I agree Dr. Pepper. : )
      “One second after” Is a really great read. What was interesting to me was how quickly in his book that things went bad very quickly without electricity. Just imagine no refrigeration, communication or the great transportation system that brings us everything from everywhere is gone.

      • Dr. Prepper

        I was also amazed at how quickly all the game was depleted for food. If you are thinking I’ll just hunt for our food, better think again….it won’t take long for your area to get hunted out…..then what? Always good to have backup supplies and plan B and even C.
        Gives great insight into what local communities might turn into and the struggles of a typical family to survive with no real outside help…..Again, just a great and timely book….you won’t be able to put it down!

        • John

          The audio book, One Second After is absolutely awesome!

      • Dr. Prepper

        I am glad you guys got the Dr. Prepper/Dr. Pepper thing………..

    • cappy m

      What are the long term effects on our nuclear plants? Will they all go off like roman candles? I have been told they only have a 2 week supply of diesel for their on site generators. If that can be replentish, what happens?

      • BJO

        Yes, Cappy.. our nuke plants are supposed to have 10 days of diesel fuel to run the emergency water pumps to cool the rods. After that, they go into meltdown.. and the dying begins. The sad part about it is that for the cost of 2 bombers, we can have loads of extra fuel for them, and make them safe for a long time, but the damn government won’t do it.. why? because it would be improving “private property” because most electrical or nuke plants are owned by private companies. if the grid goes down, hold onto your shorts.. it will be bad.. some say 100 million dead in the first 6 months… thats’s a full third of our population. The survivors wont be lucky.. until these 104 or so nuke plants start overheating.. that will kill off the rest of us. It will make fukishima seem like child’s play. All of this can be prevented only IF we had a government that is truly for the people’s well-being. Personally, i think a CME is the worse threat we face right now.

    • Dr. Prepper

      “One second after” is a GREAT book and really gets the what if conversation going….buy it,
      read it…you won’t be sorry.

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