EMP and what to put in a Faraday Gage
Articles: This appeared in Disaster Survival Magazine #7
In my last article, I promised to tell you how to build a Faraday cage to protect your electronics for the effects of EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse). This is simply a sealed metal container made from any conductive material lined with an insulator. I am not going to go into much detail on how to make the cage itself because there are tons of videos on You Tube about that but I am going to tell you about the limitations and uses for the cage. Know first that this is just an experiment and truly may or may not work for you. They do NOT make a bulletproof vest that will work 100% of the time against all bullets. There are too many variables (size of the bomb, location of the attack, solar flare or EMP device, etc.) to say with 100% certainty that this will work in all cases. For these reasons, a Faraday cage should be part of an integrated survival and protection plan with backups and redundancies.
Now that you know the concept of the cage the bigger the cage, the hard it is to seal. I have had people tell me, “Well I will just get one of the big metal shipping containers and put my four wheeler right in that. That will protect it!” Well, maybe from the rain but not so much from EMP. It is hard to get a good seal from a medium size steel garbage can, so a conex container would REALLY be hard to seal. In addition, they cost around $3000! I do not know about you but I have a limit amount of money I can spend on prepping and I would not spend $3000 on something that may not work even IF you can seal off all the holes and openings. Once you get it to seal you must keep it sealed because you never know when the attack or solar flare could occur. Can you see why this would not be a good approach to EMP protection?
I was recently asked to consult on a gentleman’s perpetrations, which involved a Faraday room. Yes, he was building a room size Faraday cage to protect a backup power generator system. I told him outside the government or national laboratories this was a very big and expensive endeavor. He was undeterred so we proceeded with his plan. I do not know how many thousands of dollars he spent on just this room but he was building an entire complex that would sustain a group of people indifferently for every type of event one could think of outside of total planetary destruction. This man was convinced the world was ended and he spent millions to prepare for the end. As I was identifying components in his massive generator that would be particularly vulnerable to EMP and to add them to the spare part list some of the workers laughed. I told them it was his money and his ideas that brought us here to work on this project together. I was proud to have been a part of such massive private undertaking and that they should be also. Then I said, everyone laughed at Noah too and we all know how that turned out!
We needed a test to see if the room was properly seal. In the absence of expensive laboratory equipment that could measure EM signals, we found a different way to test the room. We placed a radio tuned to an AM station, playing loudly, inside the room. Then we closed and sealed the thick metal door. After many tries and using many rolls of the metal dryer vent tape we did manage to get static on the radio, which meant that we cut the signal down so much the radio could no longer receive it. This is a crude test but it showed that we could cut a very fine frequency out so much that a radio, which is designed to pick up very week signals, would not pick up a signal when the room was sealed.
Some people use Army surplus ammunition cans for a Faraday cage, which are easy to seal. I use a steel trashcan. The big question is what to put in the can? How about placing a pair of walky talkies in it? I am sure there is a least one other person you would love to keep in contact with after an EMP event occurs. If you have any type of radiac meter (Giger counters), you would want to seal those in the gage to use after the attack. Any spare electronic parts for your generators, bugout vehicles or any electronics that is vital to your plan. If you have a spare shortwave radio, I would protect it from EMP as well. All of these items should be obvious why you would want a spare one in your cage as an insurance policy. Always remember that this is just one part of a bigger plan because if the EMP is very strong or close to your Faraday cage it may not be enough protection for these items. In addition, each item has a different threshold of EMP tolerance so somethings maybe fine and others may not work at all. I often say in my presentations that we will all just become Amish overnight! Every plan should have a contingency for a no electricity option.
I know that EMP is a very scary thought but it only harms electronics, people, animals and plants will be fine. In addition, as I pointed out in my last article the effects are limited so people outside the area will be unaffected. I want to put this type of event in the proper prospective and not make it something that it is not. Just as we prepare for a flood or hurricane, we can easily prepare for this! If you have, any questions about EMP please feel free to contact me and I will answer your questions.
The question sometimes comes up about global thermal nuclear war and the nuclear winter. I am not saying this is impossible but it is unlikely for a number of reasons. First, we do not have that many nukes left! Since the 80s-90s, we have been breaking them down and using the enriched nuclear material for fuel in nuclear power plants. We have also helped the Russian do this with their bombs. The US currently has NO nuclear program; we only have old recycled nukes. Our newest bombs were built back in the 90s and nothing new in development. This is both good, because we have less nukes and bad because everyone that is current developing weapons is doing it with today’s technology. If you remember how slow and bad your computers were in the 90s compared to today then you can understand the countries working on nuke programs can do it better and fast then we did. Also no one really wants all that destruction because it would limit the attackers ability to take what resources that country has. Is not the reason for war is to acquire more resources? A nuclear winter is far more likely to occur with volcanic eruptions or a collision from a space object, comet or asteroid, then with nuclear bombs.
Now, I promised to tell you what would kill more people than global thermal nuclear war and what is widely considered the most devastating NBC attack that could occur and that is a Biological agent. Yes, a little germ could whip out most of the planets population and leave all the building and structure in tacked. Why haven’t the enemies of the US already used this unbelievable weapon and will they? What can we do right now to protect our families and ourselves? What if one of my family or someone in the group gets the bug or Ebola what can we do? What will kill these germs but not kill us in the process? I will explain all of this and more in the next article. I will tell you things you can do right now and during and after this most deadly killer strikes. How bad could it be? Well during the 1918, Spanish Flu outbreak the US alone saw more people die during an 18-month period then the entire five years of the Civil War. It is estimated that over 675,000 died during the flu and only 644,000 during the Civil War. You can read volumes of books on the Civil War but almost nothing on the 1918 Flu. Therefore, I hope you will join me next issue for this look into Biological Warfare or what we sometime call it, “the Poor Mans’ Nuke”.