How to Protect Against EMP Attacks

Nuclear weapons are best known for their ability to create massive devastation and death on the ground when detonated over a city. Less well known, however, is a type of nuclear attack that could have even worse consequences: the EMP attack.

A single nuclear explosion in the atmosphere could destroy a country's infrastructure via EMP.

If a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile or satellite were detonated high enough in the atmosphere, it could create a massive electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, crippling the power grid, communications grid and virtually everything powered by electricity over an entire continent. Society would collapse overnight as the distribution of food and goods, the financial system and even the military were brought to a halt. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself should such an event occur.

  1. Protect all crucial electronic equipment with Faraday cages. Store a computer containing backups of all your important information, a battery-powered shortwave radio, a generator (if you own one), several flashlights and batteries for all of your equipment in a room-sized Faraday cage. Alternately, wrap each piece of equipment in plastic, wood or another insulator. Then, wrap it in a seamless layer of aluminum foil or another conductive metal. Add yet another layer of insulation and another layer of foil for extra protection.

  2. Unplug any electronic equipment you are not using to minimize the damage an EMP attack might do. Such an attack can cause large electrical pulses to travel through the power lines and pipes, potentially destroying any equipment that is plugged in, even if it is well shielded by a Faraday cage.

  3. Plug all the electronic devices you are using into surge suppressors. This won't guarantee that your gear will survive, but it will increase the odds.

  4. Put fire extinguishers in every room or in the hall where occupants can easily reach them from several rooms. The electromagnetic pulse could cause appliances to catch on fire.

  5. Stock up on canned food and water along with other general survival gear. Store a can opener, camping stove, strike-anywhere matches, an ax, a survival knife, flares, cord, duct tape, a first aid kit and (if legal) a gun and ammunition in your basement or a designated survival room.

  6. Tip

    Keep your survival gear well organized and don't borrow it for other projects. If you forget to put something back or replace it, your oversight could cost you dearly in an EMP attack. Consider stocking a manual typewriter with extra ribbon. Electricity will be scarce, so even if your computer survives the attack, a typewriter will be a valuable tool. Network with survivalist neighbors and encourage them to stock up as well. Having others to work with in an emergency could increase everyone's odds of survival.