Interest and feedback on the topic of EMPs have pushed us to dig deeper. Even national, mainstream media is chattering about it. Let's dive in for the latest news about EMPs and preparedness. Plus, we'll share some great tips from readers like you, as well as answer some frequently asked questions.
Before we get started, I wanted to give any readers who haven’t read our series of EMP-related articles a chance to catch up.
You can read (or re-read) them here:
- A Primer on EMPs
- Solar Storms and the Carrington Event of 1859
- Would My Car Survive an EMP?
- What You Should Know about Black Sky Hazards
One development that started about mid-October was seeing EMPs getting some traction in mainstream media. Most of the news is centered around North Korea, some better in scope than others.
Popular Mechanics has disputed the claim put forth by the EMP Commission in 2008 that 90% of Americans would not survive a year without the electrical grid. They do note that a nuclear EMP could be catastrophic, but that loss-of-life claims are hard to accurately predict.
Forbes and Foreign Policy have both weighed in on EMPs recently. Both articles note the debate going on, especially in Washington around the severity of the EMP threat.
These articles were prompted by a new report to Congress from Peter Vincent Pry. If you recall, Pry was the Chief of Staff of the EMP Commission, which gave two reports (2008 & 2014) to Congress on the threat. Pry's report this time was focused solely on North Korea.
Foreign Policy also reported that the EMP Commission (full name: Congressional Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse) was de-funded by Congress and shut its doors as of September 30th.
In fact, Pry made this part of the public record in his recent statement to Congress:
On September 30, 2017, the Department of Defense, after withholding a significant part of the monies allocated by Congress to support the work of the EMP Commission for the entirety of 2016, terminated funding the EMP Commission. In the same month, North Korea detonated an H-Bomb that it plausibly describes as capable of "super-powerful EMP" attack and released a technical report "The EMP Might of Nuclear Weapons" accurately describing what Russia and China call a "Super-EMP" weapon.
You can access the public transcript of Pry's speech here:
"EMPTY THREAT OR SERIOUS DANGER: ASSESSING NORTH KOREA'S RISK TO THE HOMELAND"
Foreign Policy also reported that the military has pulled back from hardening some electronics from EMPs. Curious.
This was backed up by a report from the Heritage Foundation, which stated:
Comprehensive threat assessment and scenario planning for EMP attacks remain underdeveloped. This inaction is in the face of warnings, such as the one in the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) which stated clearly the "vulnerability to…destructive effects of electromagnetic pulse (EMP)." Yet, the Department of Defense has not implemented the QDR's proposed EMP Action Plan. Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has focused on other urgent threats, such as from conventional explosive devices or chlorine bombs, concluding that EMP is simply not a large enough threat for its attention.
So there seems to be some debate and discussion going on about the EMP threat. It may be all noise – but it could result in progress toward hardening our grid.
Those who think the claims of the threat are overblown mostly have focused on North Korea and their capabilities. Yet, those of us in the know that our sun is perfectly capable of delivering on the EMP threat. The detractors tend to ignore this fact completely. Earlier this week, the Space Weather Prediction Center observed a second moderate G2 event solar flare in the past month.
That about covers the latest news on EMPs for now. Have something to update? We'd love to hear what you've heard – it makes us stronger together.
Great EMP Preparedness Tips from Readers Like You…
In response to our article on how EMPs affect cars, we received a tip from a reader about putting a "spare starter, spare brain, wires and fuses in a Faraday cage." This is a great tip if you have the storage space and would know how to install these parts in the event of an emergency. We will soon publish an in-depth article on Faraday cages and other ways to protect critical electronics in an EMP – so stay tuned for that.
This same reader also suggested that buying an older diesel vehicle with few electronics is your best EMP-safe motor vehicle. The reason being that diesel engines can run on a variety of fuels. Of course, you'd have to know what you're doing to do this - which I confess I do not. We all have to learn unique skills to prepare for long-term crises - and for me, mechanic is not one of them. But we welcome all tips in this area!
...and Your Questions Answered.
Finally, let's briefly answer a few questions we've received on the EMP topic.
First, a reader asked if we should presume that all (unshielded) electronics are affected if an EMP event occurs?
This is a hard question to answer with certainty because how an EMP plays out is subject to many factors. But, generally, the only way to know if something is affected is to try and turn it on. If it's a battery-operated device, try a new set of batteries.
One note of caution here: we mustn't worry too much about all of our electronics working in a major event like this. We are much better off focusing on learning older, more primitive ways of living to be self-reliant now and in the event of collapse. Why? Well for one, if the whole system goes down, many of our electronics will not be as useful or will have limited capacity if you are able to supply your own power. It's important to shield critical devices like a simple radio, walkie-talkies, and night-vision or laser optics (binoculars, rifle scopes, etc.). But beyond that, you’re better off with the old, tried and true way.
Another reader asked if we could provide a few makes of older vehicles that would be less affected by an EMP.
Virtually all older makes with low technology will suffice. But, the demands of an emergency may require a tough, four-wheel drive capable vehicle. So think trucks (Chevy, Ford, Dodge) older than 1980. Older Jeeps would make great choices as well.
However, buying up an old vehicle for an EMP is not a good choice if you don’t know how to service it. Jeeps especially have a reputation for being made for tinkerers.
If that's not you, maybe invest your preparedness time and budget elsewhere. Remember, this great nation was carved out on foot and horseback well before the motor vehicle was invented.
Stay tuned for more EMP news!
Thanks for all your responses and questions.
I hope you’ve learned something today. Have a great weekend!
MPS Preparedness Advisor
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