The threat of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) hasn’t gone away, just because President Trump managed to get North Korea to the bargaining table. I haven’t seen any news stories saying that the North Koreans have done away with their stock of nuclear arms or their missiles. All they’ve really done is to stop all the testing they were doing the last couple of years. There have been exactly zero concessions across the bargaining table.
Some notable sources have stated that North Korea is still planning an EMP strike against the USA, expressing concern that North Korean satellites currently in orbit could be carrying nuclear warheads for that very purpose. As those satellites travel in a south to north orbit over our country, we have no defenses arrayed against such an attack.
But North Korea isn’t the only potential enemy out there. Iran is still working on their nuclear program and supposedly has a missile capable of ballistic flight.
Then there’s Russia. While everyone ignores the Russian bear, Putin himself made a point of reminding our government that they still have a lot of nukes. That wasn’t accidental and it’s not something that can be ignored. Should Russia’s leadership decide that meeting their goals requires eliminating the competition, otherwise known as the United States of America, they are well prepared to do so.
There are two basic ways that electronics will be damaged by an EMP. Protecting them from an EMP means protecting them from both of these potential sources of damage.
- Direct EMP radiation from E1 & E2 – The first two pulses of the EMP will send massive amounts of electrical energy into the atmosphere, where it will be attracted to anything metal, like wires. This will enter electronics, burning out circuitry. But the key here is the wires, which act as an antenna, capturing that electric energy. Devices which don’t have wires attached to them are less likely to be damaged.
- Voltage surge from E3 – The third pulse will affect the Earth’s electromagnetic field, which will end up causing a massive voltage surge in power lines. Any electronic device which is plugged into your home’s electrical current will receive this surge, blowing through any surge protectors you might have and overloading the device’s electronics.
With all those EMP risks in mind, it only makes sense to be prepared for the potential risk of an EMP attack. While it may never come, that’s not a chance we can afford to take. So here are some new ideas of how you can protect yourself from an EMP.
EMP Protective Phone Case
A number of companies are now manufacturing EMP protective phone cases. These cases are essentially a portable Faraday Cage, just the right size for your phone. The case has the necessary metal shielding hidden away inside the cover, making it portable protection that’s not particularly obvious or obtrusive to your day-to-day life.
The one problem with these cases is that they will cut down your signal somewhat, due to the shielding. You may find yourself missing some calls, especially if you are at the edge of a cell’s coverage area and you don’t have a strong signal. To mitigate against this, be sure to use one that fits your phone well. If it is too big, it is more likely to cover too much of your antenna.
EMP Computer Cases
Most people use laptop computers today, rather than desktop computers. This is advantageous, as you can buy EMP protective covers for laptop computers. These cases won’t protect your laptop if the case is open and you are using it, nor can they protect it from the voltage surge; but when the laptop is closed up and not in use, as well as not plugged in, it will be protected.
Bluetooth devices are naturally protected from EMP, because they don’t have electrical connections attached to them, bringing in the E1 & E2 pulses. Nor are they going to receive the voltage surge caused by the E3. Even if they are plugged in to recharge, the E3 pulse will probably destroy the charger, which will prevent it from reaching the Bluetooth device.
The advantage here is that buying Bluetooth devices, especially small ones, provides you with a level of protection that you wouldn’t otherwise have. Even if those devices are in operation during the EMP, they are likely to continue working. The trick then will be charging them.
Most people don’t know it, but solar panels are naturally resistant to EMP. While the EMP will cause minor damage to them, it will only reduce their output by about five percent. Considering that solar panel systems are already designed with a buffer to account for inefficiencies and cloudy days, you should be able to use your solar panels more or less like normal.
The problem will be in using the power coming from the solar panels. This normally flows through a solar charge controller, then on to charge a battery backup system. The power can then be drawn out of the batteries directly or run through a voltage inverter to turn it into house current for use.
The solar charge controller would definitely be destroyed by the EMP and the voltage inverter probably would as well. But the batteries should be able to ride out the EMP without damage. So, having a spare solar charge controller and voltage inverter would allow you to have your own power generation capability back up and running, within an hour after the EMP shuts off the electricity.
That replacement solar charge controller and voltage inverter should be stored in a place where they will be protected from the EMP, like a Faraday Cage. If you don’t have a Faraday Cage, they can be kept in any metal enclosure, such as a galvanized metal trash can, a steel filing cabinet, a metal toolbox, a metal cabinet or even the trunk of your car. As long as it is in its packaging, so that the device doesn’t touch the metal skin of where it is stored, it will be protected.