8 Apr 20193 Comments
Is the Threat of an EMP Event Real?
Today’s guest post is by Danny Major founder of AlphaSurvivalist.
Making plans for an alternative future is something that all preppers do. How that alternative future eventually arrives would be anyone’s guess! Nuclear War, a global pandemic, a natural disaster, they are all possible and realistic doomsday type events that if were to become reality would have a devastating effect on our way of life. All true TEOTWAWKI type scenarios. (The End of the World As We Know It!)
Preppers, homesteaders, and survivalists have been preparing for years for these types of events, happy in the knowledge that they are giving themselves and their loved ones the best possible chance of coming out the other side of an event alive and hopefully in one piece. However, an event that is currently causing a lot of consternation for preppers and non-preppers alike is the danger of losing the entire electrical power grid and anything that requires electrical circuitry to operate; if all this was lost it would send us back 200 years to how things were at the start of the 19th Century.
Living Without Electricity
The thought of living without electricity might not seem too scary at first, especially when you start to consider that our ancestors coped perfectly fine without it; but our ancestors didn’t live in a society that was wholly reliant upon electricity for their needs as we are today.
It is highly probable that survivors would eventually transition but the chances are that a huge chunk of the U.S. population would perish during that transition time; some experts put that figure as high as 90%!
This danger is very real and it is called an EMP, or Electro Magnetic Pulse.
How would an EMP affect the United States?
Much of the talk nowadays is about how vulnerable the United States is to an EMP attack and this is why POTUS has recently signed an executive order directing the federal government to put together a coherent plan of action in the event the US is targeted with a strategic EMP.
The order highlights the failings and weaknesses of our Electrical Grid and all existing action plans; it also highlights the potential but very real threat of an EMP weapon being used against the U.S. by rogue nations, or terrorist organisations.
The U.S. government has enacted this executive order based upon risk assessments provided by prominent ‘EMP experts’ that highlight the dangers to the U.S. should a strategic EMP weapon ever be used against her. However, there are a number of ‘experts’ who have an opinion that is contrary to that acted upon by the government. These experts believe that the risk of an EMP attack on the U.S. has been grossly exaggerated; claiming it is far more likely that any attack would be nuclear instead.
Regardless, of which group of experts is correct they are all in agreement about one thing; the U.S. electrical grid urgently needs strengthening. They are all in agreement because there is imminent threat of a different type of EMP event occurring that would inflict even more damage, and this one isn’t man-made!
There is a general consensus among experts that a massive geomagnetic storm or solar flare will hit us at some point within the next fifty years, the effects of which would be catastrophic, not just to the United States but to the whole planet.
If this solar flare hits us and the electrical grid has not strengthened what could we expect to happen?
Life and Death in a Post EMP America
Nobody knows for certain how dark the United States would go after an EMP takes out the electrical grid. I guess it could be compared to Millennium New Years Eve and the Y2K bug, a lot of uncertainty from a lot of experts. In the case of the Y2K bug nothing actually happened much to the relief of many!
That’s not to say that the same would happen after an EMP event and that any damage would be comparable to a blown fuse, far from it, although it would be great if that was the case.
It is far more prudent to make preparations for surviving the worse case scenario than it would be to make no preparations at all.
In the worse case scenario there would be no electric power and every piece of electrical equipment will have had its circuitry fried, rendering it useless, this would include all modern vehicles.
Now for the frightening part!
Within seconds of an EMP event occurring, the fatalities would very quickly start to mount up.
Stalled passenger planes falling out of the skies, thousands killed in automobile accidents, life support and life saving equipment suddenly stopping, the list goes on and on.
It sounds like it could be a disaster movie but it isn’t!
On the ground, any problems would initially be manageable, most homes would have enough food and water to last them a few days, although all water utilities would stop immediately as there would be no power to operate pumping stations or treatment plants.
Shops and stores would quickly empty as daily food deliveries stop.
There would be no communication networks available as landlines, cells, TV and radio stations all stop working.
It wouldn’t be too long before violent mobs and looters start to take advantage of the situation, initially targeting shops and warehousing, then moving onto domestic housing soon after.
There will be no Police; there will be no National Guard; there will be no law and order.
If you have had the good wisdom to prep, you will have put together a good supply of water, food, and guns with plenty of ammunition, enough to see you through a couple of weeks, or even a month of crisis. However, as sensible as these preparations may sound, in a city full of thirsty and starving inhabitants it won’t be long before you are targeted and it will not matter how many guns you have they still won’t be enough to stop the hundreds or thousands of people willing to kill you to take what you have.
Preparation Is Key
That doesn’t mean that making preparations is a waste of time, preparation is still the key to surviving these types of Doomsday events but the most important piece of survival advice you need to follow, especially if you live in a city or any other large urban environment, is to grab your bug out bag and leave as soon as possible and head to your bug out location if you have one, if you don’t then just head for the relative safety of the countryside, woods, or mountains, preferably as part of a group of well armed likeminded individuals.
If you stay in the city your life expectancy will be extremely short. Cities are not designed to be self sufficient. They will quickly run out of water and food, descending just as quickly into lawless no go zones. There will be no sanitation and no waste disposal, rotting corpses will start piling up all over the place, sickness and disease will be everywhere, and eventually, without medicine or treatment of any kind epidemics will wipe out masses of people.
Over time People who stay in large towns and cities will die, some sooner than others, but they will all die. Which brings me back to the 90 % of people that experts say wouldn’t make it through the ensuing twelve months after an EMP event – I’m guessing the 83% of the population of the United States that live in urban environments will account for the vast majority of that figure!
The threat of an EMP event causing catastrophic damage to our society and our way of life is very real. There is only one way to survive in the aftermath of such an event and that is to have all your preps in order and to bug out as far away as possible from large populations.
Danny Major is a former armored reconnaissance soldier who knows a thing or two about survival , keeping off the radar, and being prepared. You can read more about how zombies turned him into a bonafide prepper by visiting his site AlphaSurvivalist.
April 11, 2019 @ 7:27 am
The only problem with this is the idea that cars and planes would all crash.
This is extremely unlikely. Both types of vehicle can and have survived direct lighting strikes which are far more powerful than any EMP would be regardless of it’s source because the lightning is hitting the vehicle directly at up to a billion volts and 200,000 amps with no shielding or dissipation whatsoever. Even a solar flare cannot compete with that kind of raw, direct power. Ultimately both act as their own Faraday cage, protecting the electronics inside from damage.
The rest of this is plausible with a few exceptions. Because the bulk of ground vehicles will still be operating and since generators and pumps that were off at the time will mostly also still work, gas and water can be pumped from underground stores almost immediately with some jerryrigging. Chaos will certainly erupt but there will be some governmental capability to respond to it since they’ll still have vehicles and the comms gear inside is inside a Faraday cage.
It wouldn’t be pretty and, yes, many will likely die but such an event is something that can be recovered from much more rapidly than many would suspect because mobile transport and mobile electrical generation will still be rapidly available to jump-start repairs.
Still, under the current state of affairs there simply are not enough spare parts to really bring the grid back up to full strength rapidly. The real weakness lies in our lack of backups for large transformers at substations which can take a couple years to manufacture.
The answer, like him or hate him, is what Trump has done to order the creation of a plan to harden the grid. This should make the grid more resistant and result in much shorter downtimes even in a major event due to this resistance as well as identify key areas that cannot be properly hardened and allow for the acquiring of a stash of key spare parts and placing them in areas that logistically make sense for large scale, rapid repairs. They don’t have to work forever, but long enough to get a permanent fix in place.
Yeah, it would suck. Badly. Yeah, a lot of people would probably die and there would certainly be mass chaos but to say we’d go back to circa 1800 is a bit of a stretch because we’d still have limited power generation capability that is mobile and therefore the ability to probably fully recover within a decade or two, and get things back to “better than disaster but not quite as nice as camping” within a couple of years rather than a century. Key infrastructure would be affected but be back online faster than many would think. It will be those nice little conveniences we love so much that will take serious time to get back, like cell phones.
April 11, 2019 @ 6:47 pm
Good job of pointing out that this is the first time a President has acted on this mater. Congress in the 18 years since 9 1 ’01 has done nothing but talk.
Your bug out location has to be a community of people who are ready to survive the time it takes to grow and raise enough food to establish the rural/ag lifestyle of the 1850’s.
I recommend “the Civil Defense Book” by Michael Mabee. Our town has been working on our plan since spring of 2016. In California no less. Most of the state is really Rural/ag or blue as they say.
The warnings are all out there. What difference does it make if the time is unknown?
August 25, 2019 @ 4:11 pm
I agree, Danny, that a bug out bag, location, and other preparations are the bare minimums lengths people should go to ensure their safety in the event of an EMP. William Forstchen described a post EMP world better than anyone in his One Second After series. I’d recommend this to anyone looking to better understand the effects of an EMP and how to ensure we’re not overly exposed. Thanks for sharing!