Following the tragic school shooting early last year at Parkland and an unprecedented wave of public activism, we have seen new gun control laws take effect at a faster rate than they ever have before all over the country.

At the Federal level, we saw President Trump direct the United States Department of Justice to prohibit the possession and sale of bump stocks while also signing into law the Fix NICS program.

But at the state level in particular, we have seen even more restrictions become law and put in place… including in several states with Republican governors and legislatures.

In this article, we will go over the most significant gun bills that became laws in states last year.

Here is the latest gun control laws that we have seen occur by state, presented in alphabetical order:


California’s gun control laws were among the strictest in the country if not the strictest already. The state outlaws the sale of all firearms listed on the California Department of Justice’s list of classified ‘assault weapons’ such as the AR-15, prohibits the selling of magazines that hold more than ten rounds, only allows the selling of handguns on the California DoJ’s roster of ‘approved handguns,’ has a ten day waiting period for firearm sales, and has set very strict laws regarding concealed carry and the transportation of firearms to name a few other things.

That being said, they became even tougher in late September of last year.Democratic Governor Jerry Brown signed a number of new gun control bills into law then, while simultaneously vetoing a couple of others. Now that the bills have been officially signed and officially became law in January 1st of 2019, we can more carefully analyze exactly what these bills do and the implications that they will hold for the future of Californian gun owners.

The most notable of the bills that Governor Brown signed into law include the following:

  • Raising the age limit to legally purchase a rifle or shotgun in California from 18-21, with exemptions for those in the military and law enforcement
  • Ban firearm ownership for life for any California resident convicted of specific domestic violence misdemeanors
  • Ban firearm ownership for life for California residents who have been in a mental hospital for over a year
  • Require a minimum of eight hours of gun safety training for applicants of a California CCW (concealed carry weapons) license
  • Require California law enforcement agencies to insert information on stolen or lost firearms into a statewide database a maximum of one week after the firearm was reported lost or stolen

Governor Brown also vetoed a piece of legislation (AB 2888), which would have allowed employers, co-workers, and school personnel to request that law enforcement confiscate firearms from those they believed to be a threat to themselves or to others.

In a written statement, Brown argued that the bill was unnecessary because under current California law immediate family members are already allowed to request a firearms restraining order from law enforcement, and that those family members would be better informed to request a firearms restraining order for a specific person.

Another gun control bill that Governor Brown vetoed Bill 1177, which would have prohibited any California resident from making more than one application to purchase a firearm every thirty days.


Following immense public pressure following the Marjory-Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February of 2018, the then Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, signed into a law a number of bills that passed the GOP-controlled legislature, including raising the age limit to buy semi-automatic rifles to 21, prohibiting bump stocks in the state, and instituting a three day waiting period for the sale of any firearm.


Maryland is one of the bluest states in the country, but it also has a Republican governor in the form of Larry Hogan.

Nonetheless, Governor Hogan signed a number of new gun control bills into law in the state back in April of last year.

Among the bills signed was a ban on bump stocks in the state, revoking gun ownership rights for residents convicted of domestic violence, and installing extreme risk protection orders in the state.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, a ban on bump stocks was implemented by Democratic Governor Phil Murphy, in addition to expanding background checks, a ban on magazines that hold more than ten rounds, and implementing extreme risk protection orders.

A risk protection order, also known as a red flag law, essentially allows a law enforcement agency to obtain a court order to temporarily restrict the access of a designated individual to firearms for a certain length of time. It also enables people, such as educators, medical professionals, or relatives or close friends to obtain court orders against people who are deemed to be a threat to themselves or others as well.


As with Maryland, Vermont is a deep blue state with a Republican governor (Phil Scott).

Nonetheless, Governor Scott has been an advocate for gun control, and proved it when he signed into law a ban on magazines that hold more than ten rounds in the state, a ban on bump stocks, expanding background checks, and implementing domestic violence restrictions.

As we can clearly see, just because a state has a Republican-controlled government does not necessarily mean that that state will not be subject to receiving new gun control laws.

And furthermore, none of this means that we can expect to see no new gun control bills be turned into law for this year as well.

Following the tragic school shooting early last year at Parkland and an unprecedented wave of public activism, we have seen new gun control laws take effect at a faster rate

We, and many others before us, have thought long and hard about how to prepare our homes and families for the worst. We think about natural disasters, human-caused tragedies, and general emergencies.

Just as important perhaps is the small disruptions to your personal life, not wide scale hurricanes but the loss of a job. There doesn’t need to be a terrorist attack for your car to break down and need repairs. Societal collapse is not the only thing that could cause you to want a little extra cash on hand.

Financial Preparedness is about preparing your finances for the small disruptions and emergencies that come with everyday life. This will be hard for many people, especially those living paycheck to paycheck.

But in reality, most people it seems are only 1-3 paychecks away from homelessness. And I would guess that even if it isn’t true now in their life, most people could probably point to a time in their life when it was true.How can you financially prepare your family?

7 Things for Financial Preparedness

# 1 Have Extra Cash on Hand

Cash is good to have in an emergency when the bank is closed, or when there is a power outage at the ATM. (Prepare for power outages here.) Or even just when you are running late and need cash now!

I keep it stashed away, $40 in the back of my phone case, $60 in my glove box. $100 in small bills in my 72-hr bag, $20 in my dresser (mostly for laundry). I didn’t go and take out hundreds of dollars in cash all at once. It happened over time, over many paychecks.

#2 Set aside emergency funds

Are you 1-3 paychecks away from homelessness? Or at least 1-3 paychecks away from not being able to pay rent? Financial experts say you should aim for at least 3 months of your paycheck set aside if you lose your job.

But really, you should have however many months you think it would take to find another job. If you expect it to take 6 months to find a new job in your town, then try to save up 6 months worth of salary. It’s really hard. I know, especially with debt.

#3 Get out of Debt

Getting out of debt is hard. For some people staying out of debt is hard too. But if we are thinking about hard times ahead, it’s much easier to smooth through a job loss in the household if you aren’t controlled by debt.  I mean credit cards, car loans, student loans, private loans, etc.

Debt traps you and robs you of your freedom. It also robs you of money as you pay interest on the loans. So work at paying down your debt, and focus on not creating more debt.

I understand you may need a car to drive to work, to pay for the car. But you could drive an older car vs a newer car. The older car will cost less in the loan, while it burns the same gas and gets you to the same place as the newer car.

Mortgage: good debt vs bad debt? There are folks who think your home is good debt since that money would otherwise be going to a landlord and with a house, you are building equity in the home.

However, stop paying your mortgage and the bank comes after you. Housing market crashes and your house is worth less than you own, that isn’t good debt. Can’t sell the home, and your “equity” is useless (although it is land, and they aren’t making more of that).

There are other folks who say the only good debt is debt you take on to purchase an asset that makes you money. Does your home make you money? Does it provide rent from a tenant, or allow you to run a business from within? If it doesn’t, it’s not making you money, and it’s a liability. The debate continues, you will have to find what you are comfortable with.

#4 Get Insurance

I live in Massachusetts, where you need car insurance if you own a car. You will also be charged a fee come tax time if you don’t have health insurance. I also hold renter’s insurance in place of homeowner’s insurance. But would I buy these insurances if I wasn’t legally obligated to?

Yes, I would. You hear terrible stories of family going into massive debt due to an injury, even with health insurance. Car accidents can be partially expensive, especially if you are found to be at fault. Homeowner’s/renter’s insurance covers damage to your property and accidents inside.

I would say, you worked hard to get these high expense items, you should protect them. But really read your insurance, know what is covered and what isn’t.

Pet insurance? Hm…not sure. These days vet bills can be as high as human medical bills but come less often. But your pets are family too.

#5 Save for Retirement

Alrighty, this is something of a touchy subject in politics lately. That aside, let’s assume, that social security doesn’t exist, as this is something of a worst-case scenario for many. Do you want to retire? What does it take to get there?

Many “professionals,” say you should save 10-15% of your salary towards your future retirement. This is all well and good, but the real answer is more nuanced. It requires understanding your current and future lifestyle goals.

The benchmark “professionals” say is you need around $2 million in the bank in order to live off the interest. If you have a pension or expect social security, this counts toward your $2 mil.

If you withdraw 3% in interest a year to cover your expenses, without taping into the principal this gives you with $60k a year. Of course, we are talking about future dollars (account for inflation).

Can you live on $60k a year? Don’t forget you have to pay taxes and likely increased medical bills. You may or may not need to pay rent/mortgage or children tuition. You may also want to travel more or spend more money on hobbies with your new free time.

So the questions becomes, does 10-15% of your salary get you to $2 million in time to retire?

(Of course, I am not financial professional nor a wizard capable of seeing the future.  But I am a mathematician, and I can calculate compounding interest.)

# 6 Invest in Yourself First

Education is the most important thing. Period. You can’t learn to start a fire in the rain without taking the time to learn. While many consider their education finished when they leave school, this should never be the case. .Remember when you sat in high school and said; “Now when am I ever gonna use this?” Now you’re a bit older and think; “Man if they only taught me useful things in high schools, like doing my taxes and the difference between a Traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA).” Right here, is proof that school didn’t teach you everything, and that you need to keep learning. .Invest in your own education, and the investment will never be wasted. Of course, this doesn’t mean taking on $200k in debt to get a degree in Underwater Basket-weaving. .But there are many ways to continually learn, investing in yourself and your future:

  • Free library resources (see my book list below)
  • Community/Adult Education Centers
  • Local community colleges
  • State schools with night classes
  • Online teaching websites (Cousera, KhanAcademy, etc)
  • YouTube
  • Blogs, online content, webinars, etc

I believe firmly in the power of books, and that a library card is the best gift you can give a child. Today’s library card also unlock online resources, eBooks, e-audioBooks, free/discounted museum passes, movies, tax preparation help, knowledge of community resources, and free internet access! Most libraries also have book sharing programs with other local libraries, giving you access to more than your local library’s collection.

Financial Books To Read:

  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki General introduction to financial literacy, and financial independence.
  • Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker Study of the mindset that supports wealth vs mindsets that support continual poverty.
  • The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco Cutting the bullshit on wealth building and laying a blueprint to financial freedom.
  • The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss Redefining the concept of retirement, and how to create a dream-line. A timeline for your dreams.
  • Good to Great by Jim Collins Defining what it means to be a good employee/company vs a great employee/company. The Hedgehog concept is to find what you can be the best in the world at, what you are passionate about and what best drives your economic engine in a simple concept.
  • The Undercover Economist by Tim Hartford This book is a humorous introduction to the world of economics.
  • A Whole New Mind by David Pink This book takes a look at the new socio-economic forces of the post information age that have the potential to transform the structure of the developed world’s job market.

# 7 Multiple Income Streams

Protect yourself against the loss of income but having multiple income streams.  You could lose your job any day, it’s not protected. Companies these days often have little or no loyalty to their employees, even long-term employees. 

Turn a hobby into a side business or invest in a rental property. .Of course, I completely understand that this is much easier for those who already work better-paying jobs. A person who works 2 or 3 jobs or works for low pay, or 80-100+ hours a week, doesn’t have much time left over for hobbies. After an exhausting day, one just wants to eat, take care of other obligations (children, chores, etc) and sleep. It’s hard to make time for hobbies, investing, or creating small businesses. .I completely understand, but those folks living in this situation need to even more. They don’t have the same job security as others and need multiple income streams to ensure a paycheck each week.

This is where education comes in and makes this easier, it opens up options. .Multiple incomes doesn’t necessarily mean multiple jobs. It could also be traditional stock-market investments, gigs off Craigslist, rental properties, blogs, YouTube channels, farmer’s market crafts, babysitting the neighbors, etc. .

We, and many others before us, have thought long and hard about how to prepare our homes and families for the worst. We think about natural disasters, human-caused tragedies, and

For most Americans, retirement is one of the biggest worries they have. Giving yourself enough of an income when you don’t work anymore is a challenge. Building up the funds to last you through the rest of your life takes money that a lot of us just can’t spare. In fact that raises an important point – considering how important it is to prepare for retirement, can you afford to divert any money into more general preparedness? Or is this the wrong question?

Personally I think it’s the wrong question. I don’t see a choice between retirement planning and prepping, because there’s a lot of overlap between the two. Prepping is actually a major part of your retirement planning, because the steps you take to be ready for a crisis are also going to help when the time comes for you to put down your working tools for the last time.

The truth is, retirement and the S hitting the F have a lot in common. Sure, they have a lot of differences too. One is predictable and, done right, can be an enjoyable and fulfilling part of your life.

The other is unexpected, a crisis, a disaster – that’s why we don’t talk about the cake hitting the fan. At their core, though, both are major changes in your life that you have to adapt to and overcome, and the same skills and ways of thinking can be applied to each of them. Let’s look at some of the ways prepping can double as retirement planning.

Cutting Out Waste

Preppers hate throwing anything away. Canned food that’s still safe to eat, but has lost its flavor? Throw it into a soup or stew. Bought a new generator? Hang on to the old one as a backup. Broken a chair? Keep it in the shed; you can maybe fix it up, and at worst it’s extra firewood.

That same habit of avoiding waste will also come in useful in retirement. Most of us are going to see our incomes drop when we retire, and that makes avoiding waste essential. Why throw something out if it can be repaired, repurposed or stored in case it’s useful in the future?

We’re not talking about becoming a hoarder and living in a house full of junk, but a sensible prepper takes a good look at things before throwing them out. If it still has some use in it, why not keep it?

If you’re retired and on a fixed income, fairly small expenses can be a blow. Say you tear a pair of pants so badly they can’t be repaired. Buying a new pair could put a hole in your weekly budget – but if you can dig in the back of the closet, and pull out an old pair that still have some wear in them, you’re good.

Staying Active

How many people do you know that, as soon as they retired, just seemed to run out of energy? We all know the stereotype – the older couple that just sit on the couch all day, never doing anything more active that arguing over the TV remote.

It’s easy to sink into that sort of lethargy when you retire. For forty years or more you’ve been used to a busy routine, then suddenly it’s gone. You don’t have to get up early anymore. You don’t have to plan your day, manage your time, get tasks done to a fixed schedule. Why not just sit there for a few hours and channel surf?

Prepping will keep you out of that mindset. When you’re looking ahead and working out how to get through a potential crisis, your mind stays active. The fact is there are so many potential crises that you’ll never do everything you can to be fully prepared for all of them.

We just do our best to be as prepared as possible for as many as we can, and rely on our initiative to get us through anything unexpected. That means you’ll always have something useful you can be doing. And wouldn’t you rather be doing something useful than sitting there staring idly at the idiot box?

Want a Retirement Home?

If your preparations involve a bugout location, that can open up some interesting options for retirement. We all have different ideas on what a BOL should be, from fortified retreats to greenfield sites we can build on after a crisis hits. For many prepper it’s a cabin or old farmhouse in a remote area, and these people often get double use out of their BOL – as well as the refuge they plan to use in a crisis, it’s a vacation home right now.

Once you’re done with work, your vacation home can double as a retirement home. That lets you release more money by renting out or selling your main home, and it also gets maximum value from the investment you made in your BOL.

Get Rid of Debt

The next big crisis might be an EMP attack, civil unrest, a disease pandemic or the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano – but it’s more likely to be another financial crisis. That’s why most preppers focus on reducing their debts, with the aim of completely eliminating them.

If a financial crisis hits, the last thing you want is a lot of debt. It opens up a range of vulnerabilities that can turn a bad situation into a personal disaster. That’s why preppers should always be aiming to cut borrowing to essentials, and pay off existing debts as fast as possible.

It’s just the same when you retire. Debt payments that are manageable when you’re earning become a lot more of a burden when you’re on a reduced, fixed income.

If you can manage to be debt-free on the day you retire, the rest of your life is going to be a lot less stressful – and, with none of your income being sucked up by creditors, a lot more comfortable too.

Stay Confident

Prepping might involve a lot of stockpiling food and setting up backups to things we’ll lose when society collapses around our ears, but what it’s really about is confidence. That root cellar full of food gives you the confidence that when the grocery stores are looted, empty shells, you and your family won’t go hungry. Your generator gives you the confidence that with the national power grid destroyed by an EMP, your lights will stay on.

Retirement is a blow to many people’s confidence. After a lifetime of work, and being able to value yourself for your skills and achievements, you’re suddenly faced with the big question: Now what?

If you’re focused on being ready for anything, you still have a goal in life. There are still things you want to achieve, and new knowledge you want to gain. Retirement isn’t the start of an inevitable decline towards senility and death; it’s an opportunity to spend more time getting ready for the worst life can throw at you, so face it with confidence!

At the end of the day, retirement and TEOTWAWKI are both things we should all be preparing for. It’s no surprise that many of the same attitudes, habits and skills help us be ready for both. If you’re an older prepper you can be happy with the thought that you’re not just hedging your bets against something that might happen; you’re setting yourself up for something that will happen.

For most Americans, retirement is one of the biggest worries they have. Giving yourself enough of an income when you don’t work anymore is a challenge. Building up the funds

U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems could be deployed to thwart or discourage a terrorist electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, according to testimony at a House Armed Services Committee (HASC) hearing requested by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), a scientist and professor who also is the leading EMP expert in Congress.

Iran clearly is developing an EMP weapons capability, according to the witness at the hearing, William Graham, chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack. The panel was formed in 2001, a year that saw the 9/11 terrorist attack on the United States that killed thousands of innocent civilians and military personnel, and damage running into the tens of billions of dollars.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has threatened to wipe out Israel, and also has threatened the United States.

The hearing came just after Iran, a nation with a clandestine nuclear materials production program, on consecutive days launched multiple missiles in salvos.

“These missile launches are significant reminders of this clear and present danger,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, ranking Republican on the HASC. “This is especially troubling if Iran is also developing EMP technology.”

And Iran likely is doing just that. Graham said Iran has tipped its hand and disclosed its intent by sending aloft missiles, creating high-altitude detonations of conventional- munitions weapons. Aside from developing an EMP capability, there would be no other explanation for such tests, Graham said.

A genuine threat of a staggering EMP attack confronts the United States, Graham indicated.

But the Department of Defense (DOD) has taken only minimal steps to counter an EMP attack, such as hardening facilities and weapons platforms against EMP, and the rest of the government has done far less, even though anti-EMP steps would be inexpensive compared to the devastation an EMP attack otherwise would cause, Graham said.

When Bartlett asked whether vulnerability to attack invites terrorists to strike, Graham replied that that is true. Further, Graham said, rogue states and terrorists openly discuss hitting the United States with an EMP attack, citing literature available to Westerners. But Graham said he doesn’t know why the U.S. government isn’t taking aggressive steps to prevent and/or recover from an EMP attack. He could only relate that DOD “is early in the process” of protecting itself against EMP, and “other parts of the government have not begun the process.” Even in DOD and the Department of Homeland Security, many policymakers have “not given it much thought.”

While the HASC invited the DOD to have one of its officials testify at the hearing, the department declined to do so, Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), the HASC chairman, noted. He added that DOD said it first wants to provide its own assessment of the EMP threat to the commission, before DOD officials go to Capitol Hill testify on the threat.

That EMP is receiving any attention in Congress is in good measure thanks to Bartlett sounding the tocsin on the critical issue, Skelton said in a bipartisan note of accord. “My colleague Mr. Bartlett … deserves special credit for being dogged in his attention to these issues,” Skelton noted.

Likewise, Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, ranking Republican on the HASC, thanked both Skelton and Bartlett as the driving forces behind the hearing, terming Bartlett “a strong and often lone voice in raising this important topic before the Congress.”

YES, I would like a 35% discount on the EMP Protocol. And I would like it NOW!

One Small Bomb, One Rocket

Under questioning by Bartlett, Graham said that terrorists or rogue states wouldn’t need to wield advanced intercontinental ballistic missiles or high-yield nuclear weapons to create a crushing EMP attack on the United States.

All terrorists would need for a catastrophic EMP attack on the United States would be a common Scud-type missile and a very small atomic bomb with a minimal yield of 10 kilotons or so, Graham said. That is far smaller than the only two atomic bombs ever used in a war, the 15-kilotons Little Boy bomb that the United States dropped on Hiroshima, and the 22 kilotons Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki in World War II. Those weapons were produced in the infancy of the atomic age, in the nascent, technologically primitive era of the early 1940s. Bigger-yield weapons would produce a stronger EMP, Graham said.

Terrorists would merely require, then, “any nuclear weapon that can be put on a missile,” rather than needing some very advanced, sophisticated nuclear or thermonuclear weapon, Graham said, adding, “That is bad news for us.”

A terrorist group could produce a “potent, catastrophic EMP from even a first-generation nuclear weapon,” Graham explained.

To incapacitate much of the North American continent, a terrorist cell would need just one rudimentary missile capable of ascending to an altitude of 50 to 300 miles, and a small nuclear device mounted atop the missile, which would be launched from, say, Iowa or North Dakota. The higher the altitude, the wider the EMP devastation would spread.

Alternatively, a terrorist group wouldn’t even have to smuggle a nuclear weapon and missile into the United States. Rather, they could launch a missile from well out in the Atlantic Ocean to detonate high over American territory, causing an EMP that would devastate the Eastern United States, especially populous coastal regions. Or they could do the same from a ship in the Pacific Ocean to take out the West Coast region, Graham indicated.

His description of just how calamitous an EMP attack could be was grim, though Graham spoke in a matter-of-fact, low-key manner.

EMP, though it would last a fraction of a second, would fry electronics. Computers, cell phones and land line phones, TVs, radios, personal digital assistants, cars, trucks, buses, subways, railroads, and much more would, in most cases, cease functioning.

Some satellites, those in low Earth orbits, would be fried and disabled by EMP, while other satellites in high (22,000 miles or so) geosynchronous orbits would survive EMP. Satellites are crucial to voice and computer network communications, millions of credit card transactions each day, and much more. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), co-chairman and founder of the bipartisan congressional Missile Defense Caucus, said it is critical to begin determining now how to protect satellites.

Even high-flying satellites might not be of much use, however, if EMP destroys their ground stations that are required to send and receive data to the birds.

Many, though perhaps not all, airborne aircraft would tumble from the sky and crash.

The electric power grid would crash, much of the system would be severely damaged, and cities and towns would go dark, with no heat, light or air conditioning. EMP would destroy, for example, electrical transformers, and the U.S. factories that can manufacture them. So getting electrical power systems back in operation would involve buying new transformers made overseas, waiting for them to be shipped to the United States, Graham said.

People would be trapped on elevators when the power failed.

With no trains and trucks running, new food supplies wouldn’t get to cities, and people would starveto death.

Traffic signals would go dark for lack of electricity.

Ambulances, fire trucks, police cars and National Guard/reserves vehicles would stop running.

And even if they did still run, as some old vehicles with outmoded coil-and-distributor electrical systems would, they wouldn’t run for long without refueling: gasoline and diesel fuel pumps wouldn’t operate without electricity.

When Bartlett asked if it would be likely that 90 percent of Americans would be dead by the end of the year when an EMP attack occurred, Graham said, “We think that’s in the correct range.”

These disasters are what Graham and the commission found would occur after an EMP attack, but there never has been any experience in U.S. history of what occurs if the national infrastructure of a nation of 300 million people fails, so results of an EMP attack could be worse than expected. Effects of an EMP attack would be like the devastating hurricane “Katrina, several times over,” Graham said. While horrific, Katrina confined its damage to the Deep South, such as Alabama, Louisiana and Texas. EMP, however, would affect a gigantic area.

Would the U.S. military survive? “We just don’t have the test data to tell us one way or another,” Graham said.

Navy ships could be equipped to survive an EMP attack, so long as sheathing of electrical circuits and other measures were left intact and weren’t tampered with later, he said. Graham responded to questions by Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), chairman of the HASC seapower and expeditionary forces subcommittee. Bartlett is the top-ranked Republican on the panel.

EMP may cause brain injuries in humans, just as EMP can destroy electrical circuitry in communications, transportation, the electrical grid and much more.

Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-Texas), chairman of the HASC readiness subcommittee, found it all a bit daunting. “This is really scary,” he said. The United States needs a shield against an EMP attack, he said.

While one might think that airing details of EMP technology would provide dangerous information to terrorists, they already know these facts, lawmakers noted during the hearing.

Missile Defense Required

Rep. Jim Saxton (R-N.J.) asked Graham whether the United States could stop an EMP attack in its tracks by using missile defense systems to destroy the terrorist missile before the nuclear weapon has a chance to detonate and create EMP.

U.S. policymakers should “certainly look to ballistic missile defense,” Graham said. He cited specifically the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system led by The Boeing Co. [BA] and the Aegis sea-based BMD system by Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT] using a Standard Missile-3 interceptor by Raytheon Co. [RTN].

He also said any terrorist or rogue state missile soaring on an EMP mission should be killed by U.S. missile defense forces “as early as possible.”

The earliest kill on an enemy missile, just after it launches, would be made by the Airborne Laser, now in development by prime contractor Boeing using its highly modified 747- 400 aircraft, lasers by Northrop Grumman Corp. [NOC] and beam control/fire control system by Lockheed.

Graham said that by deploying a layered missile defense system to knock down EMP missiles launched inside or near the United States, “we would at least increase the uncertainty that any attacker would have,” and thus, perhaps, dissuade terrorists or rogue states from ever attempting an EMP attack in the first place.

The United States should be “using our missile defense assets to deter, dissuade, and if necessary” kill any EMP attack, he said.

Such an attack also could be mounted over Afghanistan or Iraq, to disable U.S. vehicles, aircraft and more, he noted.

At this point, however, the Missile Defense Agency is charged only with developing a multi-layered missile defense system against enemy missiles launched from abroad, such as from North Korea, rather than being assigned to guard the United States from an EMP attack.

Short of having a missile defense system to protect the United States by killing the enemy weapon before it has an opportunity to create EMP, there are many steps the nation can take to lessen the impact, once an EMP attack has occurred, Graham said.

Policymakers should first understand the breadth and nature of the EMP threat, decide how to mitigate it, and then identify which parts of the infrastructure EMP is likely to damage that would be most difficult to replace, he said.

Also, operators of the electrical power industry should be careful to note that some attempts to restart the system and get it up and running after an EMP attack might, instead, wind up worsening the damage, Graham said.

But this work would have to be prioritized. The commission doesn’t advocate protecting all civilian infrastructure, he said. Rather, approach the problem by saying you’re willing to see some infrastructure take a hit and go down, but design the system so that it won’t be damaged seriously, so that it can be brought back on line in a relatively brief period, he said.

Such an approach would be affordable, especially when compared to the cost of replacing the infrastructure were it to be irreparably damaged, he said.

It is key to note that countering the EMP threat isn’t the sole purview of the federal government, but rather should be a focus for state and local governments, including state and local police forces, firefighters, emergency services providers such as medical professionals, operators of electric, gas, communications and other utilities, and more.

In one test, 10 percent of modern, computer-chip-controlled vehicles exposed to EMP were disabled permanently, while others were disabled temporarily and then could be restarted.

Individuals can contribute to solutions by stockpiling food and drinking water. They also can buy portable electrical generators, but must ensure that those generators remain unplugged and unconnected to wires or other items that might permit EMP to enter the generators and destroy them.

Surge protectors that may be effective in shielding electric and electronic items against lightning may not be effective against EMP, Graham indicated.

While the military has hardened Humvees, Bradley tanks and other platforms against EMP, that may work only when all doors and other openings are closed. To be truly effective, anti-EMP hardening must be effective even when doors, hatches or other openings are left ajar, Graham indicated.

“Practically speaking, we can’t afford to protect everything, everywhere. But we do need to engage in a dialogue and identify our priorities,” Hunter said. “Today’s hearing is focused on the commission, but the longer-term dialogue must include all interested interagency partners, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the intelligence community and other relevant agencies, as well as the private sector.”

The panel asked Graham and the commission to study and report back to the HASC as to what steps individuals, businesses and governments should take to lessen damage in an EMP attack, and to recover from an attack faster.

Graham said he and the commission would be open to Congress extending their authorization to study EMP beyond a cutoff this year, if lawmakers so wish.

But clearly, the commission already has found that an enormous task lies ahead, with the government largely immobile in the face of a horrific threat, when Washington should be moving decisively to launch preparedness and prevention programs against EMP.

“The potential damage that could be caused by an EMP attack on the United States is significant,” Skelton warned.

“Though the likelihood of an EMP attack may be small, the consequences could be catastrophic. And for that reason alone, we can’t ignore it,” Hunter said..

“I’m very concerned,” Bartlett concluded. It is vital, he said, for the United States to take decisive steps to guard against the devastation of EMP.

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U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems could be deployed to thwart or discourage a terrorist electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, according to testimony at a House Armed Services Committee (HASC) hearing

In an extraordinary and sobering report meant to educate the nation on a growing threat, a new military study warns that an electromagnetic pulse weapon attack such as those developed by North Korea, Russia, and Iran could essentially challenge the United States and displace millions.

“Based on the totality of available data,” said the report from the Air Force’s Air University and provided to Secrets, “an electromagnetic spectrum attack may be a threat to the United States, democracy, and the world order.”

The report, titled, “Electromagnetic Defense Task Force,” and the product of a mostly classified summit of officials from 40 agencies just outside of Washington earlier this year, is a forceful call for a new focus on preparing for either an enemy EMP attack or a natural hit such as a solar storm. 

Screen Shot 2018-11-29 at 8.02.32 PM.png

While it is focused on the devastating impact an EMP hit would have on the military, it appears to support a congressional warning that up to 90 percent of the population on the East Coast would die in a year of an attack that would dismantle or interfere with electricity, transportation, food processing, and healthcare.

Consider just some of the warnings in the report from the United States Air Force Air University and the Curtis E. LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education. Citing figures from the Union of Concerned Scientists, the report: 

  • 99 nuclear reactors would likely melt down without electricity to cool them.
  • 4.1 million would be displaced from areas around the nuclear plants as the radioactive cloud spread.
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The report highlighted electronic systems on an Airbus A-380.
  • Military and commercial jets, such as those built by Airbus, could be degraded. “Alarmingly, aircraft designed to carry large numbers of people and sizable cargo are allowed to operate without certainty about their level of resilience.”
  • Bases would be cut off, making defense and counter-attacks impossible.
  • Civil unrest would start in “hours.”
  • Power and GPS could go dark. “An EMP would cause instantaneous and simultaneous loss of many technologies reliant on electrical power and computer circuit boards, such as cell phones and GPS devices.”
  • “Failures may include long-term loss of electrical power (due to loss of emergency generators), sewage, fresh water, banking, landlines, cellular service, vehicles.”
  • 18 months or more are required to replace key elements of the electric grid that would be damaged or knocked out.

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Figuring out just which country launched an attack would be difficult since certain weapons could be delivered in a satellite.

It also noted the development of the 5G mobile network and how it will run communications and why it must be protected, especially since China is the biggest investor in its development.

“Because control of 5G is roughly equivalent to control of the Internet, open 5G is critical to freedom and free-market economics. Meanwhile, access to the 5G-millimeter wave bandwidth will be critical to operations in all war-fighting domains, in particular, space command & control,” said the white paper.

Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, the commander of Air Education and Training Command, said, “As electromagnetic technologies fuse in new and often dangerous ways, it’s critical that the military and industry make honest evaluations of present and future conflict states to ensure we’re proactive rather than reactive.”

He also advised for predicting how U.S. foes will try to outsmart any fixes to the electric grid and other targets of an EMP attack.

“French actions before WWII demonstrate that even bold action, such as building the Maginot Line, can be rapidly overcome through imagination. The imagination that defeated the Maginot Line was the German Blitzkrieg which unexpectedly exploited the only gap in the wall. Groundbreaking research like this can help the wider defense community understand not only how take bold action, but how to take the right bold action to prevent catastrophic outcomes,” said the general.

The report said that the government should focus on the issue and declare it a critical issue. What’s more, it called for a central effort to push for EMP prevention and reaction should an attack come.

The report, written by experts Air Force Maj. David Stuckenberg, former CIA Director James Woolsey, and Col. Douglas DeMaio, also called for a national and congressional publicity campaign to alert the nation and governmental leaders to the threat.

“The potential for an adversary to inflict damage on states through EMS attack has grown significantly,” said the 69-page report, which warned, “An EMP attack affects all devices with solid-state electronics and could render inoperative the main grid and backup power systems, such as on-site generators.”

It highlighted the lack of a reaction plan or major focus on an EMP attack, even if just from a solar flare. “In some areas, there is a complete absence of strategy,” said the report. It added, “EMP is a tragedy of the commons as ‘no one’s job jar.’”

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In an extraordinary and sobering report meant to educate the nation on a growing threat, a new military study warns that an electromagnetic pulse weapon attack such as those developed by North

After the nuclear EMP was discovered in 1962 (US Starfish Prime Experiment) people have been searching for all kind of methods of protection (against electromagnetic pulses).

One of the solutions we came up with is storing important electronics in Faraday cages.

If you are not familiar with the destruction effects of an EMP, you should probably watch this short documentary and learn what the biggest threat to modern-day America is, and what you can do today to keep your family safe.

The Army is also preparing for this. Recently, NORAD has moved its communication equipment back to its nuclear Cold War-era bunker under the Cheyenne Mountain because this base is EMP hardened.

The government is also making small steps to harden the grid. Maine has become the first state in the nation to pass legislation ordering its grid to be hardened against an electromagnetic pulse.

Even the Police have some new small Faraday bags for confiscated cell phones – to preserve information.

Back in 2004, The Congressional Study EMP Report indicated potential casualty rates of 90%. Don’t expect Uncle Sam to protect you. We all have to be prepared.

To avoid a total collapse every American should have some EMP hardened equipment or at least a Faraday Cage to protect the most important survival electronics. (a radio, a small generator, electronic parts for cars, etc)

A Faraday cage is a sealed enclosure that has an electrically conductive outer layer and a non-conductive inner layer. The purpose of this box is to protect any electronics inside it in case of an EMP. I’ll also show you how to test your Faraday Cage (it’s easy).

Here are some Faraday Cages you can make at home in a couple of minutes:

1. From a Pasta – Fettuccine in this case – Box

8.5 inches high, 7.3 inches width and 3.3 inches deep

You can store in this box a small radio, a solar battery charger and some electronic parts (duplicates) for your car (like the PCM – Powertrain Control Module, the Anti-lock Braking System, the Electronic Fuel Injection, the Electronic Ignition, etc)

Wrap the box in heavy duty aluminum foil (at least two layers). When you do so… be careful to isolate it completely.

Faraday box aluminum pasta

The Test: As you can see, I left a phone in it to test my Faraday cage. If you don’t wrap it completely in aluminum foil you’ll be able to call yourself from another phone. In this case, the box was perfect and I couldn’t call my phone because there was no signal in it. Anyway, the phone test is 99% accurate, because the phone signals are a bit higher in frequency than an EMP. If you want to be 100% sure that you made an EMP hardened Faraday cage then you should place a small turned on radio. If it stops… then you have an EMP hardened box.

Tip: if you can call your phone, then wrap the box in another layer of aluminum foil and try again.

2. From an Ammo Can

ammo can Faraday cage

11 x 5.5 x 6.75 inches (volume – two times larger than the pasta box, but because you’ll lose some space with the inner non-conductive layer… the volume will be quite similar to the previous one – pasta box)

“This 50 Cal ammo can from an army surplus store and some scrap foam for padding and insulation make an inexpensive, easy to carry means of protecting essential electronics gear.” 

3. From a Cardboard Box (from IKEA in this case)

8 inches high, 11 inches width and 13.3 inches deep (triple the volume of the Ammo can and 6 times larger than the pasta box)

Faraday Cage with Aluminum

The principle is the same (as Pasta box)… just that this one is larger and can be opened every time you want without tearing up the foil.

4. A Bird Cage


Volume: Variable – depending on the cages.

There are two problems with these cages:

  • some have the bottom made of plastic (without any metal outer layer)
  • and some have too large holes to protect against high frequencies

But chances are that you have a normal bird cage, which will work as a Faraday cage if you place some foam (for example) in it.

If it does not work, it probably means that the holes are too big so you’ll have to wrap the cage in aluminium.

5. From a Trash Can

20.5 x 20.5 x 27 inches (31 Gallon) – 6 times larger than the cardboard box

Trash can Faraday Cage

Line the trash can with cardboard (or carpet padding), including the bottom, making sure there are no gaps.

You can fit here a lot more electronics including an old laptop with your survival books and maybe a very small generator or a small solar panel.

6. An Old Wooden Ammo Box Wrapped in Aluminum Foil

Volume: Variable – depending on the boxes.

Woon Ammo Box Faraday Cage

Similar to the cardboard box, but you have to pay attention to the nails.

You don’t want the nails (which the box already has) to connect the aluminum foil with the inside of the box.

7.  A Metal Storage Cabinet

metal Cabinet

This Faraday cage provides greater storage capacity and extreme protection. It has a lot more space. I know someone who stores in it a small dorm size refrigerator.

Remember that everything you store in this Faraday cage has to be in a non-conductive box.

Photo Source

8. With Wood and Aluminum Screen

Volume – variable – depending on how big you want to make it.

There are many “walk in Faraday cages”… so if you want to build a huge one to store even a large generator or some solar panels, this is the method you should use.

Faraday cage steps aluminum

Make a wooden frame and attach a wooden (frame) lid (using 1-2 hinges). Attach the screen mesh. Remember to isolate the bottom of the box (with wood, cardboard or plastic) and to keep away the electronics inside from the Aluminum Screen.

Tip: Instead of nailing the wood, try to glue it.

9. Using Cookie or Popcorn Tins


Volume: variable – depending on the tins.

The lids on these tins are typically very tight, which make them ideal Faraday cages.

Just line the inside with cardboard (including the lid) and put in the electronics you wish to protect from EMP’s.

If you find it too hard to line the inside of the box, then try this: put your phone (for the test) in an anti-static drive bag (plastic) and then put it in the tin.

10. Keeping the Generators/Tools/Radios/Electronics in Their Original Boxes

Volume: Variable – depending on the boxes.

Faraday cage in boxes

This is the easiest way! Here is a video guide for this method. If you don’t use on a daily basis what you want to protect… just keep it in its original box and wrap it with heavy duty aluminum foil.

Some people may say that it’s crazy to prepare for an EMP. Well… I think that a solar storm is a real possibility. A terrorist EMP attack is also a real possibility. A nuclear war is also a real possibility. The probability: maybe 5% per year. But 5% is not crazy. Not even 1%. If your doctor says you have a 5% chance of dying … wouldn’t it be crazy not to do something about it?

Well… given the fact that it takes only 10 minutes (max. one hour) to build a Faraday cage, I consider this a well “invested” time.

On a national scale: It would be wise to follow Switzerland’s lead. According to Radasky, that country during the cold war hardened some of its critical infrastructure against EMPs, such as water works. “They felt that if there was high-altitude burst over Europe, they were going to be affected whether they were a combatant or not.”

After the nuclear EMP was discovered in 1962 (US Starfish Prime Experiment) people have been searching for all kind of methods of protection (against electromagnetic pulses). One of the solutions we came

This article takes into consideration only the effects of a nuclear EMP, not a solar flare. A solar flare would only affect any electronics connected to the grid.

#1. Will a microwave work as a Faraday cage?

No. If an EMP strikes, you will notice that all your electronic devices that you stored in a microwave oven will be rendered useless. The microwave is not a Faraday cage.

#2. Will a refrigerator work as a Faraday cage?

No, most refrigerators do not work as a Faraday cage. I tested mine, and it’s definitely not a Faraday cage.

#3. If I keep a backup mobile phone in my Faraday cage, will it work when I need it?

Yes, your phone will work perfectly. However, it will be rendered almost useless because the network will not be functional. The only form of communication after an EMP will be the radio. 

#4. Do I need to store batteries in a Faraday cage?

No. They will continue to work regardless and will just take up space in your Faraday cage. Here are the best batteries for survival situations.

#5. Do Faraday cages need grounding?


#6. Do I need to keep my solar panels in a Faraday cage?

No. The only part of the system you have to worry about is your solar panel inverter. Don’t worry about your solar panels; they will be fine. It’s best to buy an extra inverter and keep it in your Faraday cage so you can replace the useless one after the EMP.

#7. If I wrap electronic devices in heavy duty aluminum foil, will that work?

No. But if you wrap the cardboard box in which you bought them in heavy duty aluminum foil, this would be an effective Faraday cage.

#8. Will flashlights continue to function after an EMP Strike?

Some flashlights will continue to function, and some will burn out. It all depends on the power and distance from the blast.

#9. Is a shipping container a Faraday cage?

Yes, but just remember that you can’t just put the electronic devices directly in contact with the metal. Some people board the interior of the container with wooden panels.

#10. Can I use this shipping container as a “Faraday garage” for my car?

Yes, you can definitely do that. Most cars fit in a standard shipping container, but just to make sure, go ahead and take the measurements before buying a shipping container.

#11. If you turn off your devices, will they be EMP-proof?


#12. Are airplanes Faraday cages?

No. Planes operate on the basic principles of lift and thrust, so they will become more or less gliders. They will be very difficult to control and most of them will fall from the sky and crash.

#13. How do I test an object to see if it will work as a Faraday cage?

You can test any device that you think might work as a Faraday cage with a radio. Simply turn on the radio and place it inside the device. If the radio is still receiving a signal, then it’s not a Faraday cage. If you don’t have a radio, you can use a mobile phone, but the results won’t be 100% accurate in the sense that if your mobile phone still rings, then it’s definitely not a Faraday cage, but if it does not, you can’t really be sure. You need to test it with a radio to be 100% sure you have a Faraday cage.

#14. Can you EMP-proof a car?

emp car

You could build a Faraday cage, but this would mean that you will either never use your car or will need to buy a new one. I’ve seen some pictures online of people wrapping them in aluminum, but as I said previously, it’s pointless.

Instead of making your car EMP-proof, I think you would be better off buying an old, cheap car that has an electric system that is a lot less vulnerable. Here are the top 6 EMP proof vehicles.

#15. Will a galvanized steel trash can make a good Faraday cage?

Yes, but the can has to close perfectly, and you will have to line the walls with cardboard.

This article takes into consideration only the effects of a nuclear EMP, not a solar flare. A solar flare would only affect any electronics connected to the grid. #1. Will a

So you’ve taken all the precautions you can think of against intruders. You’ve cleared away cover around your home, fitted quality door and window locks and made sure your tools are securely locked away.

But apparently it wasn’t enough, because it’s 3am and you’ve just been woken by a noise downstairs. What are you going to do now?

The “right” answer, of course, is to call the cops and let them deal with it. If there’s violence and you didn’t call the cops, questions are going to be asked about that, so call them as soon as you can. You might not be able to call them right away, though.

For example, just talking on the phone might tell intruders where you are. You might not need to speak – dialing 911 and leaving the connection open will probably get the police to your door eventually – but if you want a proper response you’re going to have to tell them something.

Then you need to consider if you can wait for the cops to turn up and deal with the situation. What if your kids are asleep in another room? Do you really want to leave them there unprotected, with possible criminals roaming around, while you wait? Of course not – and that means you need to get out there and clear the house yourself.

Here’s another scenario where you may have to clear your house: you come back home and see evidence of possible intruders. Maybe a door or window has been forced; maybe an alarm’s going, or there’s a light on in a room that was dark when you left.

For whatever reason, you suspect someone may be in your home. Again, calling the cops is a smart response – if none of your family are at home, just stay outside and wait for the police. But if your loved ones are possibly inside and in danger, you might need to react.

Of course, in a SHTF scenario you probably won’t be able to get police help anyway. If their organization hasn’t fallen apart they’ll all be busy with other things; either way, you’re on your own. If your home’s security is compromised you’re going to have to clear it yourself.

House clearing is a skill that pretty much every veteran learned during their service, but the military way of doing it is a lot different from what you’re going to have to do. For a start you’re not going to be part of a fire team, with mutual support from other fire teams and crew-served weapons. To clear your property of intruders you need some new skills that are pretty different from the military way.

Clearing Your Home Alone

The biggest challenge in clearing your home is that you’re probably going to be doing it on your own. That can be harder or easier depending on how large your home is and how it’s laid out. Working alone, it’s very hard to guarantee total thoroughness – but you need to do the best job you can, or your efforts won’t achieve anything.

Clearing a house is all about making a potentially dangerous area secure. The key principle is that once you’ve cleared an area it needs to stay cleared; if bad guys can get back into it once you’ve moved on, either you’re going to get jumped from behind or they’ll be able to continue endangering you, your family and your property.

Have A Plan

The key to successful clearance is to be methodical. If you just rush round checking rooms at random you might miss places; you’ll probably clear others then leave them unwatched. If that’s happening you might as well not bother. Instead, have a plan of the order you plan to clear rooms and other spaces.

The obvious place to start is upstairs. If you have an attic, secure the hatch with a bolt and don’t leave ladders in place. That way you can quickly confirm visually that the attic is secure without having to go up there and leave the top floor undefended. Then, starting at your bedroom, check the high-priority rooms first (occupied bedrooms, for example) and work your way round.

Your aim is that once a room has been cleared, you should make sure you’re able to cover access to it at all times. If you have someone that can help you – even if just by shouting a warning – get them to watch the top of the stairs so you’ll know if any intruders come up them.

Once you’ve cleared each room, lock it if you can. Even a simple bolt or hook and eye on the outside works. Intruders can easily open it and get in, but they won’t be able to engage the bolt from inside, so you can easily see if a room has been reopened since you checked it. If it’s at night, turn lights on as you go to make it harder to hide.

When the top floor is done, move down a level and repeat the process, working out from the base of the stairs to make sure nobody takes the chance to sneak back up them. Clearing the house in this order also makes it easy for intruders who hear you searching to get out.

If you can persuade them to leave without a confrontation that’s safer for you and your family. On the ground floor, make sure that any exterior doors and windows are secure as you clear.

Eventually, you should have covered the entire house. If there are any intruders they’ll either have escaped or you’ll have found them. A methodical search plan – rehearse it in advance – gives you the best odds of a thorough clearance.

As you clear each room use the same methodical methods. As you enter, give the room a quick sweep for any obvious threats. Then mentally divide it into sectors – the “slice of pie” method – and scan each one in turn.

If a sector has large furniture look in and around it as you search. The barrel of your weapon should always track with your gaze, so if you do see a threat you can react immediately. If you’re using a flashlight that should track with the weapon as well.

Let’s look at how this works in practice. Say you’ve just woken up and you suspect there’s an intruder in your home. The first thing you need to do is secure your immediate area – the bedroom. That deals with the immediate threat, and gives you a safe place to plan the rest of the clearance.

How to clear your house when you wake up and you think there is an intruder in your house

Next, move out and clear the neighboring rooms. In the example that means the next bedroom, and then the bathroom.

How to clear your house when you wake up and you think there is an intruder in your house
How to clear your house when you wake up and you think there is an intruder in your house

That leaves you with a secure, cleared area at one end of the property, and if you know the cops are on the way you can leave it at that – by covering the hallway you can secure yourself and your family.

If you need to clear the rest, though, it starts to get difficult – it’s hard to avoid leaving uncleared areas behind you for a while.Start by clearing the remaining rooms.

How to clear your house when you wake up and you think there is an intruder in your house
How to clear your house when you wake up and you think there is an intruder in your house

With that done, finish up by checking the closets in the hallway just in case anyone’s hiding in them. With that done, your home should be cleared.

How to clear your house when you wake up and you think there is an intruder in your house

As you can see, the problem is that while you’re clearing the kitchen and living room any intruders are free to move around the hall. One solution is to have someone cover the hallway.

Bolts or locks on each door will also solve the problem and make sure cleared areas stay cleared.

Moving Tactically

To stay as safe as possible as you clear, it’s important to move in a way that minimizes your target profile. Try not to silhouette yourself against lights, and avoid framing yourself – putting yourself in the center of a door or passage makes you more visible and easier to aim at, so stay off to one side where you can.

When going through a door stay to one side. Don’t hug walls too close either, though – if it comes to shooting, stray bullets that hit a wall a glancing blow can ride along it for a good distance.

Don’t move into spaces where there’s an uncleared area behind you. When you clear a room get out of the doorway as fast as possible, and either get your back to the wall or into a corner you can see is clear. That way you can scan the room without worrying what’s behind you.

Be aware that when you scan a room from outside the door, even if you’re close to the door there will be significant blind spots to either side of it.

Clearing a house on your own is a tough job – but it’s not impossible, if you think it through and do it in an organized way. Take some time now to work out what sequence you’d clear your home in if you suspected an intruder; a few minutes of planning could make all the difference when it counts.

So you’ve taken all the precautions you can think of against intruders. You’ve cleared away cover around your home, fitted quality door and window locks and made sure your tools

If you are a procrastinator, now is the time. You need to scramble to find plenty of firewood to get through the winter. Using this tips we have been able to pick up freshly cut logs from the side of the road, so I am well stocked. However, what about you? Have you stocked up?

There is free to cheap wood to be had in most every state if you know where to look. It requires physical labor to haul it and cut it; but if you are looking to save money, the price sure beats paying by the cord.

Why Gather Wood

Gathering wood for the winter should be one of your preparedness items every year, just like putting aside food and water. This year, it seems particularly important with the threats from North Korea and the possibilities of an EMP attack. You need to be able to keep your home warm, even if there is no electricity. You’ll also need to be ready to cook and boil water for sterilization and drinking purposes.

Your best strategy is to plan and prepare now for possible future need. Consider how hard it will be to purchase wood should an EMP happen this winter. There will be a huge demand and a limited supply. Plan ahead and take care of this item now before the winter cold arrives.

Harvesting Wood in National Forests and State Parks

Every state and park has different rules, but many have provisions for harvesting dead and dying trees for personal firewood use. In almost all cases you will need a permit, and there are limits to how much wood you can take. Some permits are free; others cost $20 or more for several cords of wood. Never take wood without permission.

General Guidelines for Harvesting Wood in National Forests

Most national forests allow the harvesting of trees for personal firewood use and Christmas trees. You need a US Forest Service issued a permit and you must follow the rules. Guidelines vary from forest to forest, but most follow these general guidelines:

  • You must have your US Forest Service issued permit in your possession at all times.
  • Wood and Christmas trees are harvested for your personal use and cannot be sold.
  • Follow the information on your permit for available harvesting locations, dates, times, and accessibility.
  • Check weather conditions and dress appropriately.
  • Check for road closures and fire warnings before going into the forest. During periods of high fire danger, you are not allowed to use a chainsaw.
  • Carry a map and compass—and know how to use them.
  • Carry a fire extinguisher if you use a chainsaw.

When to Harvest

Permits for wood cutting are usually available in the spring, and that is the best time to cut. If you cut early, the undergrowth will not yet have emerged, providing one less obstacle to cutting and getting the wood out. The longer you wait, the less wood will be available and the harder you will have to work for it. Many of the best places are not accessible easily by roads, so you will also need a heavy-duty wheelbarrow.

Check dates in your area, however. Some Southern states issue their permits in the fall and winter.

How Much Wood Do You Need?

If you already use wood for heat and cooking, then you probably have a good idea of how much you need. But, most of us have no idea how much wood would be needed to keep a fire or woodstove going for heat throughout the winter.

How much wood you need depends on where you live, how much space you are heating, what kind of wood you are burning, how efficient your stove is, how well insulated your house it, and a host of other things. So, it is impossible for me to tell you exactly how much wood you need. My general rule of thumb is that it is better to have too much than too little. On average, a small, well-insulated home with an efficient wood stove will need four cords of a good hardwood or more for heating. You should probably stock more, in case it is a colder than average winter.

What Kind of Wood to Burn

You will probably be burning the kinds of wood that grow in your area. However, some woods burn hotter than others. In general, look for hardwood trees like Ash, Birch, Beech, Oak, and Elm. These woods burn slower and put out more heat than a same-size log of softwood.

Only burn dried, seasoned wood with a moisture content of 20% or less. Well-seasoned wood needs between 18 to 24 months seasoning outdoors. So, the wood you cut this year is for next year’s fires. All the more reason to get started immediately. Seasoned wood gives off approximately 50% more heat than an unseasoned log. Also, a wet or unseasoned log will burn poorly and produce a lot of smoke, soot, and creosote buildup.

Finding Wood in The City

What if you don’t live near a National Forest, but in a crowded city? Is it still possible to get cheap firewood? Yes, but you will need to be more creative. All cities have provisions for removing dead and dying trees from private property, and trees always need trimming. Do your neighbors have huge trees that are beginning to crowd their property? Offer to help trim the trees in exchange for the wood. Make sure you know how to safely do this without landing a tree branch on a car, house, or person. Do not do this if you do not have the required experience and get a permit first.

Additionally, many cities have a policy of allowing the removal of trees that are diseased, dying, or in danger of falling from public or private property. You need to request a permit and allow time for the city to evaluate your request. Check the rules where you live and always apply for permits.

Sampling of Costs and Terms Around the Country

Almost all National Forests have policies allowing the harvest of dead and dying trees and some have areas set aside for harvesting, but the rules are different for each park. Here is a sampling of the policies that I found around the country. Search for firewood permits in the national forests near you for more information.

  • In the Sierra National Forest, permits are available from April 1 through November 30 for up to 10 cords of wood for personal use at a cost of $10 per cord.
  • Redwood National Forest allows free driftwood collection in some areas. Permits are issued in the spring on a first-come, first-served basis. Collection is restricted to certain dates and times.
  • Los Padres National Forest permits are $20 for two cords of firewood. Each household can remove up to 8 cords per year at a cost of $80.
  • Plumas National Forest allows personal and commercial use firewood cutting as well as Christmas tree permits. Firewood permits for personal use are $10 per cord with a maximum of 12 cords. Commercial permits are $10 per cord with a maximum of 30 cords per permit.
  • Ocala National Forest allows up to 3 cords of wood harvested with a $15 permit and small amounts of firewood are free.
  • Mark Twain National Forest allows individuals to cut up to 4 cords of wood with a permit from closed timber sale units and in other areas.

If you have no wood put aside, purchase what you need for this year and begin harvesting what you will need for next year. This way your wood will have time to season and you will be prepared for whatever happens.

If you are a procrastinator, now is the time. You need to scramble to find plenty of firewood to get through the winter. Using this tips we have been able