The threat of an EMP is real. If you want EMP protection for home, you need to look at what exactly an EMP might do and what areas of your house it might impact. But first…
What is an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)?
EMPs are short but power bursts of electromagnetic energy. There are different types of EMPs, and they can be from natural or man-made events. Some examples:
- LEMP – Lighting Electromagnetic Pulse
- Meteoric EMP – results from the impact of a meteoroid
- CME – Coronal Mass Ejection – ejected from the solar corona and released into the solar wind
- NEMP – Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse – resulting from a nuclear explosion high in the sky designed to wreak havoc on a society’s electrical infrastructure
The most well-known example of an EMP is the Carrington Event, also referred to as the Solar Storm of 1859. That was a coronal mass ejection that hit Earth 17.6 hours after a massive solar flare erupted on the sun. Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed, in some cases sending out electric shocks. Telegraph pylons also threw sparks. Those who were out at night witnessed a massive display of auroral lights.
Why is an EMP So Dangerous?
If a solar storm the magnitude of the Carrington Event hit the Earth today, the impact would be nothing short of devastating. Modern society is exceptionally dependent on the electrical grid. There would be an indefinite blackout. Everything from our communications, banking, and food/product delivery systems rely on a constant connection to the grid. When that inevitably fails – TEOTWAWKI.
Nations (think North Korea, Russia, and China) have reportedly worked on the capacity to detonate a nuclear device high in the sky. While this wouldn’t have the impact of a typical ground detonation, it would create an EMP, likely causing far more devastation than if it had detonated on impact with the ground.
The impact could disrupt, or even destroy, electronics from miles away. A congressional report even details how a North Korean EMP would cause starvation. It would cripple the U.S. economy and severely weaken our military.
If you want more specifics on the impacts of an EMP would have, see the Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack. That report details the many ways an EMP could cripple the United States.
How Do You EMP Proof Your House?
There are three ways you can get emp protection for home and family. The first two are probably quite obvious to most people who have been prepping for any length of time. The third is a level of protection that is house-specific.
1. Take Standard Preparedness Measures
Everything you do to protect your family from natural catastrophes, job loss, pandemics, war – that will all help protect you from an EMP as well. If the grid goes down, and you have wood heat as a backup, that heat will keep your family warm regardless of the cause for a power outage.
The same goes for food and water storage. If you want food stored so you don’t have to go to the grocery store when a pandemic strikes, that same food will serve you well should an EMP hit and there is no food at the grocery store. Prepping principles apply (almost) equally across different SHTF scenarios, and an EMP is no different.
The biggest difference in preparing for an EMP versus something like a natural disaster is the length of time on the other end. With a natural disaster, resources are mobilized to help the impacted areas. Relief is in sight. Neighbors help neighbors. With an EMP, however, the impact would be much greater – and longer lasting. Neighbors could stop helping neighbors. Neighbors could start turning on neighbors.
2. Build (or Buy) Faraday Cages
A Faraday Cage is a metal box designed to protect any items inside from an EMP attack. You can make Faraday Cages from old microwaves, metal filing cabinets, etc. It’s also as easy as wrapping a cardboard box in aluminum foil, as shown in this YouTube video.
Alternatively, you can buy a Faraday bag or buy Faraday fabric. Obviously these are smaller products that are not designed to offer full EMP home protection. What they do do, however, is protect vital pieces of electronic equipment.
Does your house really need full EMP protection if – we assume – an EMP attack would destroy the entire grid? In that case, the power isn’t coming back on for a long, long time anyway – what’s it matter if your fridge is protected?
What might be more important is protecting things like ham radios, cellphones, laptops, electronic medical equipment, etc. This is where smaller Faraday cages come in. Mission Darkness has many off-the-shelf products to choose from if you don’t want to build your own.
3. Purchase Whole House Surge Protection
The third way to EMP proof your home is through a whole house surge protector. This is a small device built to military standards (usually) but available for public purchase. It bills itself as “a very robust electrical surge arrestor, designed to exceed the requirements of MIL-STD-188-125-1 for shunting over-voltage spikes to the ground and neutral very quickly.”
Technical mumbo jumbo? Let me help. The “MIL-STD-188-125-1” is military standard (minimum requirements) “for high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) hardening of fixed ground-based facilities that perform critical, time-urgent command, control, communications, computer, and intelligence missions” as stated in the pertinent military document.
In other words, it’s the standard by which the U.S. military sets to protect electrical equipment at fixed locations from the effects of an EMP.
Siemens is well-trusted brand and they also produce a whole house surge protection system, the FS140:
- First Surge Surge Protective Devices (SPDs) are Type 2 and UL / cUL 1449 listed, meeting designated protection requirements
- Get 3 stage commercial grade notification for your commercial or residential applications
- Compatible with any brand of load center and breakers
These products connect to your home’s electrical panel. There it is able to stop an unexpected surge in less than one billionth of a second! The excess voltage is drained away before it can damage any equipment downstream. This adds a whole other level of protection for everything plugged into your home’s electrical system. This includes all types of power surges: EMPs, CMEs, and even lightning.
Interestingly enough, you can buy a similar product to protect your bug out vehicle from an EMP through a 12 Volt DC Vehicle EMP Protection device such as this one from EMP Shield:
- EMP Protection: All Phases an EMP (E1, E2, & E3)
- Lightning Protection: 100% Lightning Guarantee Backed By a $25,000 Insurance Policy
- Solar Flares: Up to 228,000 Amps
EMP Protection for Home is (Somewhat) Easy
Being a prepper puts you way ahead of the game when confronting the challenges resulting from an EMP. Continue standard preps, extending how long you could go without external help, and consider additional steps such as Faraday Cages and whole house surge protectors.