An EMP or Electromagnetic pulse is basically a burst of electromagnetic energy that can be created naturally or be manmade. Natural occurrences of an EMP are lighting, meteors, and solar fares (Coronal mass ejection). Manmade electromagnetic pulses can be created by electromagnetic pulse both nuclear and non-nuclear. EMPs can cause small and sometimes large disruptions or destruction to electronic equipment and power grids. This includes cell phones, TVs, radios, cars, etc that we rely on in our everyday lives, that is why it is so important to be prepared for an initial or natural EMP.
The US and other countries have developed weapons that can create localized EMPs to disable enemy vehicles, radar, communications, etc. These are mostly used in warfare and don’t pose much of a threat to preppers, the one likely scenario a terrorist could use and localized EMP weapon would be in an area in a downtown with many office buildings. A localized EMP could wipe out the power grid, computers and communications cause mass panic, and stranding 1000s of people in high rise office buildings.
The large EMP weapons are the bigger threat to preppers. A large EMP is created when a nuclear bomb is detonated. As shown in the diagram to the right one large nuclear bomb detonated over the US could cause significant damage to the entire US mainland. This is why the US has fought so hard against other nations gaining nuclear fuel and weapons.
Natural Electromagnetic pulse
The majority of naturally created EMPs like lightning or static electricity are not a big threat to most preppers, but a large Coronal mass ejection, solar flare, could cause a large enough EMP to do damage to modern electronics wherever it hit. Most solar flares can be detected before their effects hit earth so it is a good idea to always stay up on the latest news including news from NOAA who reports not just on Earth weather but also on weather in space.
Starfish Prime Electromagnetic Pulse
On July 9, 1962, the US government detonated a 1.4MT nuclear bomb 250 miles in the atmosphere over Johnston Atoll. This was a test to determine the effects of a high altitude nuclear blast. The Electromagnetic Pulse created was larger and much stronger than the government expected, now imagine if that was a 20MT explosion or worse. The EMP caused damage to the power grid and electronics equipment in Hawaii over 850 miles away. The test only proves the dangers of an initial EMP attack on the US.
US Government Preparedness
The US government recognizes and is actively planning for the possibility of an EMP attack on the US. The Department of Homeland Security’s later information was released on September 3rd of 2020. This notice can be found on their website HERE. The biggest issue the government would face if a large scale EMP attack accord would be overwhelming to the point that assistance would be so spread out as to be useless.
Imagine the deaths from the first hour alone from car accidents, people who have pacemakers, train and plane crashed. The complete chaos and destruction would be more than any government could handle. That is why it is so important to plan as an individual for the possibility of an EMP attack.
Additional Resources on Electromagnetic Pulses
For more information please check out the resources below
- High-Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP): Potential Impacts, and EPRI Research Approach by the Electric Power Research Institute
- US government dangers of an EMP
- Surviving and Electromagnetic Pulse
The threat from an EMP attack is real. Prepare, prepare, and prepare even more. The fact that it would only take one nuclear weapon to do major damage to the US makes it more realistic that a terrorist group would attack with an EMP rather than a traditional nuclear attack. Also, the instability of the world at this time means that the theft of a small nuclear weapon is higher.