Civilization and all its supply chains of food, medicine, and water are totally dependent on a smooth overall operation of the national power grid. If it went down for even a week or two, millions of people in high-density population areas would quickly become desperate and turn on themselves.
Of course, we have seen this happen locally in cases where hurricanes strike and all the food and water and gas inventories vanish overnight. But this has never happened all throughout the country at the same time.
For most, the possibility of a national failure of the power grid is unthinkable. But this scenario is, in fact, a very real possibility. And it’s not just us saying so. Most scientists agree that a collapse of the national power grid is a risk. Let us explain…
Which would be worse – a nuclear warhead detonated at ground level in Omaha, Nebraska, or one detonated in space above Omaha?
A ground-level warhead would take out the city and cause concerns about nuclear fallout across the nation. An aerial detonation, on the other hand, would take out the country’s entire communications system and power grid.
An aerial nuclear attack isn’t the only such threat to the electric grid. If the energy from a powerful solar storm hits the planet just right, it would also do widespread damage to the nation’s electronic infrastructure.
We’re talking about an EMP – an electromagnetic pulse – capable of sending us back to the time before the industrial revolution. Whether it comes from an attack or from solar activity, an EMP is something that scientists worry about because the possibility is so real and the effects are so devastating.
The EMP Scenario
Is Never Far from Becoming Science Fact
In England, many of the members of parliament have called for that country to harden critical electronic systems. Of an aerial nuclear attack, one MP said, “I personally believe that it’s quite likely to happen. It’s a comparatively easy way of using a small number of nuclear weapons to cause devastating damage.“
Another said that under such an attack “it would become very difficult to live in cities. I mean within a matter of a couple of days.”
We narrowly avoided large-scale disruptions to flights, GPS systems, and the power grid during a large-scale solar storm in 2011. Scientists thought the main thrust of the largest solar storm in five years was going to bring down many critical systems, but thankfully their predictions were a bit off.
But both solar flare activity and rogue state nuclear launch capabilities (Iran, North Korea) are rising. An EMP could strike at any time, and it’s impossible to predict when.
Top 5 Disruptions from an EMP Event
One of the reasons an EMP is so dangerous is the breadth of its potential effects. For example, a biological attack would cause immense strain on our healthcare system and trigger social chaos, but our transportation, communication, and power systems would continue working. Financial collapse could cause widespread panic, but again our infrastructure would remain intact.
But an EMP has the potential to affect every facet of our infrastructure.
- Power-grid failure – A large EMP event could take down the nation’s power grid. In most cases, an EMP might knock out part of the grid for hours or days, but a large enough event could trigger a cascade effect that disables the entire grid, coast to coast.
- Transportation disruptions – Modern-day vehicles rely on computer chips to function, and those chips are vulnerable to an EMP. You may find that your car, planes, and the local bus system are down for the count.
- Communications are down – Phone lines… cable service… the Internet. All these could be knocked out by an EMP event.
- Food supply chains disrupted – Without power, transportation, and communication, it would be a matter of days before we began to feel the effects on our food supply. Perishable foods would spoil. Grocery store shelves would empty.
- Emergency response unavailable – With communications and power down, the emergency response system would fail. If a crime occurs in your neighborhood or if you have a medical emergency on your hands, you won’t be able to count on 9-1-1 to bring help.
Getting Prepared for an EMP Event
If you take steps to prepare for an EMP event, you’ll end up well prepared for almost anything else that might come up. Preparing for an EMP requires you to think about power, transportation, communication, food, and security.
Start by developing a back-up power plan. Think about your minimal power needs – especially during the cold months of winter. Back-up generators, solar cells, LED lamps, back-up batteries for freezers, and indoor propane heaters can all help you meet your basic power needs during a prolonged power outage. EMP or not, having a plan for power outages makes good sense.
Next, think about how you’ll get around should the bulk of transportation options be out of service, including your own car. An older-model vehicle – like a classic from the 60s or 70s – is a good backup, because the electrical systems that would be disrupted are minimal. For local travel, nothing beats a bike.
EMP Preparations Are a Must
Consider These Crucial Tips
It’s important to know what’s happening during an emergency, so at the very least you should keep a battery-operated radio handy. (We are actually partial to hand-crank radios because you can continue using them even if your batteries run out.)
After a major EMP event – one that knocks out power and communication in most of the country – it will only take about three days for food shortages to begin, especially in the cities. It’s critical that you have an emergency food reserve at home. I suggest a 30-day supply at the minimum.
When it comes to emergency response, your community may find itself on its own. Now is the time to strengthen relationships in your community. Get to know your neighbors better and find out who has special skills – take note of paramedics, nurses, doctors, and law-enforcement workers.
In a state of emergency, it’s a good feeling to know your neighbors have your back. Be sure to let them know what skills you can offer in return, so they’ll see you as a survival partner, not just another of the hordes of moochers who will emerge in times of crisis! It’s a lot easier to cultivate that kind of relationship now than it is under stress.
A large-scale EMP event is a real possibility. If the event is big enough, it will devastate our nation’s infrastructure, triggering widespread shortages and panic. It’s something that could happen at any time, with little to no warning. The time to get ready for such an event is now!