I woke up earlier this week to a Fox News story titled "Grid operators warn of electricity shortage amid switch to renewables." If anything serves as a green light for enemies looking to strike at America, this is it.
The weakened state of our electricity infrastructure makes us more vulnerable to power surges, natural disasters like hurricanes, and perhaps worst of all, “electromagnetic pulses” (EMPs).
Some people dismiss the threat of EMPs as impossible or a conspiracy theory. They may do so because the destruction of an EMP attack is too horrific to imagine. But… just because you can't see something or haven't experienced it in your lifetime doesn't mean the threat isn’t real.
Here's the truth – EMPs have happened before, and even the government is preparing for them to happen again.
Consider these facts:
- A human-caused EMP in 1962 affected Hawaii, which was 900 miles away. Forbes reports, "[The event] resulted in an EMP which caused electrical damage nearly 900 miles away in Hawaii. It knocked out about 300 streetlights, set off numerous burglar alarms, and damaged a telephone company microwave link that shut down telephone calls from Kauai to the other Hawaiian islands."
- Forbes continues, "On the natural side, in 1989, an unexpected geomagnetic storm triggered an event on the Hydro-Québec power system that resulted in its complete collapse within 92 seconds, leaving six million customers without power. The storm resulted from the sun ejecting a trillion-cubic-mile plume of superheated plasma, or ionized gas."
- The United States National Security hosted events like, "The EMP Threat: The State of Preparedness against the Threat of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Event."
- We actually have an EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security. The executive director of the task force, Dr. Peter Pry, published a 2020 report entitled "CHINA: EMP THREAT, The People's Republic of China Military Doctrine, Plans, and Capabilities for Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack."
If that isn't convincing enough, consider the fact that President Trump signed an Executive Order for Resilience Against Electromagnetic Pulses in 2019.
According to Energy.gov, "The E.O. directs action in five areas to reduce the risk that EMPs pose to U.S. critical technology and infrastructure systems:
(1) identify national critical functions and associated priority critical infrastructure at greatest risk from EMPs;
(2) improve understanding of EMP effects;
(3) evaluate approaches to mitigate the effects of EMPs;
(4) strengthen critical infrastructure to withstand the effects of EMPs; and
(5) improve national response to EMP events."
An EMP event is a serious threat to energy security. Our already fragile, energy-short country would be brought down completely by an EMP event.
When was the last time you spent an entire day without using electronic devices or technology? Imagine a blackout that caused your house to be without power, your car's technology to quit working, and airplanes to remain grounded. That's what will happen during an EMP event.
The next time someone tries to tell you they aren't worried about EMPs, share this pertinent information with them.
In the meantime, learn all you can to prepare for an EMP event.
[Related Read: Starfish Prime: The First Major, Observable Man-Made EMP in History]
What Is an EMP?
Let's start with the basics. EMP stands for electromagnetic pulse.
Energy.gov explains that EMPs are "temporary electromagnetic signals that can disrupt, degrade, and damage technology and critical infrastructure systems across large areas."
Essentially, EMPs transmit a massive amount of energy that can be catastrophic for thousands of miles from the epicenter. Remember the example above of Hawaii experiencing the effects of an EMP 900 miles away back in 1962?
Imagine how much more devastating it would be if there were a targeted EMP attack.
According to Insider, "Nuclear EMPs — if a detonation is large enough and high enough — can cover an entire continent and cripple tiny circuits inside modern electronics on a massive scale, according to U.S. government reports. The power grid, phone and internet lines, and other infrastructure that uses metal may also be prone to the effects."
Every non-shielded electronic device or technology will be damaged or destroyed – everything from car control panels to ATMs.
What Causes an EMP?
An EMP event can either be caused by humans or by nature.
When we talk about man-made EMP events, we are talking about the use of nuclear weapons or specifically targeted EMP attacks.
EMP events also occur naturally, such as during solar storms. In "The EMP Threat," Professor Baker explains, "Solar storm GMD effects are the result of large excursions in the flux levels of charged particles from the Sun and their interactions with the Earth's magnetic field. The electrojets from these storms, depending on their orientation, generate overvoltages in long-line systems over large regions of the earth's surface affecting electric power and communication transmission networks."
Unfortunately, both man-made EMP events and natural EMP events are real possibilities today.
Current EMP Threats
It's no secret that Russia and China have nuclear weapons – and they are ready to use them. Should they (or anyone else) deploy a nuclear missile, it will result in an EMP event that will be felt even by those not in the epicenter of the attack.
WION News reports, "The head of EMP Task Force has warned that the United States' electric grid and other key infrastructure are vulnerable to electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks from countries like China and Russia and called for renewed efforts to upgrade the country's defenses to avoid a doomsday scenario. During a virtual forum hosted by the Universal Peace Federation, the security expert warned of a potential threat from an EMP attack that could hit America's communications, water and sewer services, transportation systems and other key infrastructures."
China, in particular, is a genuine concern. It has been reported that they possess super EMPs (or weapons designed to bring about EMP destruction).
Forbes reports, "China now has super-EMP weapons, knows how to protect itself against an EMP attack, and has developed protocols to conduct a first-strike attack, even as they deny they would ever do so. […]China used stolen U.S. technology to develop at least three types of high-tech weapons to attack the electric grid and key technologies that could cause a surprise ‘Pearl Harbor’ attack that could produce a deadly blackout to the entire country."
Unfortunately, that's not all.
On top of EMP threats from other countries, we have to worry about the sun. Solar flares have made recent news by disrupting radio communications. These are types of EMP events.
According to Live Science, "The sun is currently in Solar Cycle 25 and is in a period of ramping up its activity. Solar Cycle 25 is expected to peak in late 2024 or early 2025, meaning that the frequency of sunspots, solar flares and CMEs are expected to increase. Some of those flares and CMEs are likely to be more impactful than the middling double-M1s the sun just threw out. Just last week, on April 19 and 20, a different sunspot (AR2992) erupted with a powerful X-class flare. X-flares are 10 times as powerful as M-class flares and can cause radiation storms that disrupt satellites, radio communications and even the power grid on Earth."
The good news is that scientists can typically issue a warning before an EMP caused by a solar event. Of course, it won't stop the event from occurring, but it does provide time to prepare.
How to Prepare to Survive an EMP Event
Should an EMP event occur, you will likely be without power for some time. It could be hours, days, weeks, months, or more. Since an EMP event is mainly electrical, the best way to prepare is to consider what you need if the power grid goes down. What supplies would you need to survive?
- Food – An EMP event will halt food production and manufacturing. In addition to stocking up on long-term emergency food that doesn't require power or refrigeration, it is wise to begin hobby farming.
- Water – Water treatment facilities require electricity. If the grid goes down, your city-powered faucets will eventually stop. Know how to find water and how to purify it.
- Medical – If you need first aid during an EMP event, you are likely on your own. Cars won't work as usual, and neither will traffic signals. Now factor in all the technology used in hospitals that will not function. Have basic first aid supplies on hand and learn injury treatment.
- Power – Now is the time to invest in solar-powered tools. You can purchase solar-powered cooking gear in addition to lighting.
- Buy communication devices that won’t be affected – One of the first things to go will be the ability to use cell phones for accessible communication. Protect yourself by buying communication tools, such as solar-powered chargers and 4-in-1 solar-powered radios.
- Own a Faraday Cage – Shield your electronic devices and technology from electrical pulses. You can make your own from aluminum foil, use your microwave, or pick up our Waterproof EMP Faraday Cage Bag.
- Prepare to Live without Power – As vital as they are, you can’t cram everything into a Faraday cage. Make an inventory of essential items in your home that require power to operate. We mentioned communications above, but what about your vehicles, generators, and light sources? Protect these critical items as much as you can or replace them with EMP-proof alternatives.
Stay aware and prepare, friends.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply