The rhetoric and antics of North Korea’s leadership has once again brought the issue of EMP back to the forefront. Recent tests run by the North Koreans have demonstrated that they have multi-stage missiles capable of intercontinental range. A 2012 intelligence report has surfaced, which shows that the North has been working on miniaturizing their nukes all along and has had missile capable nuclear bombs for several years. In addition to all this, they’ve just tested what is supposed to be their first hydrogen bomb.
Putting all that together means that the North Korean government has finally reached their goal of being able to field an ICBM that’s powerful enough to strike the United States. It’s also powerful enough to be used for an EMP attack, something that their state-run news agency is talking about for the first time ever.
Whether or not we’re going to receive that EMP attack is something that’s still up in the air; but it’s not safe to just wait and see if it happens. With as high as the risk is, we’d better be ready. That means being ready to live off-grid and self-sufficient for a prolonged period of time.
Most people say that an EMP would put us back to living in the 1800s. That’s true in one way, but the problem is, we’re not used to living that way. We’re highly dependent on electricity and the electronic devices that we use, every day. So if we want to be truly ready for an EMP attack, it would be a good idea to have some of those electronics ready, so that we could use them after the attack occurs.
Of course, that’s assuming that you and I have solar panels or a wind turbine to produce electrical power for us. While having enough of those to power everything we own is ridiculously expensive, a couple of solar panels could make a world of difference in a post-EMP world.
But we need to make sure that the electronics that we would be using are protected from the EMP, so that they will be able to be used in that post-EMP world. That’s where a Faraday Cage comes in.
Making the Faraday Cage
EMP works essentially like powerful radio waves; at least well enough that we can expect the EMP to follow the same laws of physics that control the movement of radio waves. One important part of that is that radio waves, or any electricity for that matter (like lightning) is attracted to metal and conducted by metal. This is important, because electricity will not pass through metal, but rather be absorbed into it and travel around the surface of it.
So, if we take a metal container and put things inside it, the radio waves won’t pass through the metal container and affect what is inside. That metal container would protect them from the radio waves, and it would also protect them from EMP.
The one thing we have to do, besides having a metal container, is make sure that the inside of it is insulated, so that the electronic devices we put inside the container can’t make physical or electrical contact with it. This can be done with any material that is a good insulator, such as sheets of Styrofoam sheathing, used for building homes.
The easiest way to make a Faraday Cage is to start out with an existing metal container, which is totally enclosed, like a metal garbage can. Then, we need to line the entire inside of it with our insulating material. I like the aforementioned Styrofoam sheathing, because it is cheap and easy to work with. You can buy a 4’x 8’ sheet of it for about $10. With a little construction adhesive to hold it in place, it will work perfectly.
What to Store Inside
You’ll want to store any electronics that you’d want to use post-EMP inside your Faraday Cage. These will need to be extras, essentially duplicates of the things you use every day, or will need to use in that time. Some ideas might be:
Spare laptop computer, with all your family information, your work information and any survival references you can find on the hard drive
- Battery-operated shortwave radio
- Battery-operated portable communications radios
- Pump for your well
- Spare solar charge controller for your solar panels
- Spare voltage inverter
- Any medical electronics family members use, such as a blood glucose meter
- Battery charger for rechargeable AA & AAA batteries
- Kindle or Nook e-book reader, loaded with survival and do-it-yourself books
- Charger for cordless power tools
- Engine computer and sensors for your car
Remember that these will probably be the only electronics devices you will have, which work, after an EMP attack. So investing in them is well worth your time and effort. In many cases, you might be the only persons in your neighborhood or town with any of them.
One surprising thing which will survive an EMP is your solar panels. While EMP does do some damage to them, it only degrades their power output by five to ten percent. Since solar panels are designed with a voltage buffer built-in, they’ll still be usable, charging your battery bank and allowing you to use your electronic devices.
So take some time this weekend and make yourself a Faraday Cage. That will go right along with keeping your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.