Surviving the Aftermath of an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack

March 23, 2012


the devastation caused by an emp burst

The following article has been contributed by fellow prepper Luke Lichterman. It has been published with permission of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of

Sunspots are Electro-Magnetic Pulse events

The earth has always been subject to electro-magnetic events called “sunspots,” which are created by storms in the sun’s atmosphere and result in pulses of electro- magnetic energy being ejected into space.

Recently, NASA probes have made sunspots observable while forming, and predictable in their magnitude and estimated day of arrival on earth. When news media outlets learn of an impending sunspot arrival they sensationalize the event and breathlessly report that a major disaster and possibly the end of the world is about to happen. A recent sunspot event was hyped in this manner and passed with only minor disruptions and inconveniences because the earth is protected from sunspot damage by the depth, density and reflectivity of its atmosphere.

What the media never talks about is the debilitating wide spread damage which would be caused by an EMP (1) weapon detonated at high altitude within the earth’s atmosphere.

Starfish Prime

It has been known since the earliest tests of nuclear weapons that the high levels of Gamma radiation generated by nuclear explosions ionize air molecules producing electro-magnetic pulses of positive ions. (2) Theory held that while a 1 megaton-range surface weapon would produce severe damage within the radius of the burst, the same megaton-range weapon, when deployed at very high altitude would inflict damage to electronic devices over a wide area.

On July 9, 1962 a 1.4-megaton bomb, (codename: Starfish Prime (3) was detonated 250 miles above the mid-Pacific Johnson Island. The effects of this test were felt 898 miles to the East, in Hawaii, where telephone switchboards were disabled, civilian traffic control signal systems went dark and power system fuses and circuit breakers failed, causing blackouts in some areas.

On July 16, 1997 the U. S. House of Representatives Committee on National Security held hearings on the, “THREAT POSED BY ELECTRO-MAGNETIC PULSE (EMP) TO U.S. MILITARY SYSTEMS AND CIVIL INFRASTRUCTURE.” (4) In summary, testimony was given that, …Based upon the unintended and unexpected consequences of Starfish Prime; a similar 1.4-megaton bomb detonated 250 miles above Kansas would destroy most unprotected microprocessors on the entire continent.

Nuclear Warfare Doctrine (5)

The image most people have of nuclear war is of hundreds of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) deploying thousands of Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicle (MIRV) warheads, raining down death and destruction; leaving behind uninhabitable radioactive wastelands. Indeed, during the “Cold War” years, stalemate and “peace” were maintained between East and West by the doctrine of “Mutually Assured Destruction” (M.A.D.).

This old doctrine held that; to defeat an enemy, his economy, infrastructure and population must be completely destroyed. Modern nuclear warfare doctrine acknowledges almost total dependence upon microprocessors and their vulnerability to EMP destruction. It is no longer necessary to build and maintain huge arsenals of weapons, since even one high-altitude EMP burst could effectively paralyze an enemy’s ability to function.

This explains why major nuclear nations have reduced their nuclear arsenals. It is not because they have become “anti-nuke”, but because they have shifted strategic focus from Mass-Destruction to Mass-Incapacitation. An EMP attack by any nuclear-armed nation upon another, would involve only a handful of high yield weapons deployed strategically, at high altitude over enemy territory, to ensure complete electronic incapacitation. Among the major powers, M.A.D. continues to be applicable.

Rogue regimes like North Korea (6) and Iran however, could simultaneously each launch a single medium range ICBM, (North Korea has announced plans to launch a long-range rocket mounted with a satellite.), from a ship 50 miles off shore of the East and West coasts. These missiles could easily reach 250 miles altitude and get close enough to Kansas to destroy a large portion of our military and civil infrastructures. Missiles of this type, launched so close to our shores, would be impossible to intercept because recent political decisions have prevented development of missile defense systems for the Continental USA.

Hundreds of Millions (of Microprocessors) Die Within a Second (7)

electronics destroyed during an empHow many microprocessors do you own? How many do you interact with directly? How many indirectly? Is that airplane overhead kept aloft by dozens of them? Do you have one on your wrist, in your pocket, on the desk in front of you, under the hood of your car, your television, radio, cell phone or anything else around you? Most of them would die within a second of a rogue-nation EMP attack.

The refrigerator in your kitchen has a microprocessor and is energized by electricity, generated in a facility full of them, and routed to your home by the National Electric Power Grid, which would shutdown within that same second.  Most vehicles of any description produced after 1980; cars, trucks, busses, motorcycles, police cruisers, fire engines, ambulances, locomotives and almost everything else would either stop in place within that second, or never again move from where they sat.

Airplanes would fall out of the sky, vehicles traveling at 70 MPH would lose control, implanted pacemakers would no longer regulate heart function and every manner, type and description of high tech medical equipment would fail.

Those microprocessors that were not destroyed immediately would be rendered useless because their companions were destroyed. Vehicles not disabled immediately might continue to operate, if they could escape dead-vehicle gridlock, but would soon need and be unable to be refueled because the power grid no longer energizes pumps.  Freezers and refrigerators in supermarkets and food processing plants would no longer function, and store shelves would be stripped bare within hours.

Hundreds of Millions (of People) Die within a Year

Even though an EMP is not radioactive, it is estimated that 5 to 10% of the entire population would become casualties within 24 hours, due to vehicular crashes, medical support failures, industrial malfunctions, other loss of power and control incidents and panic. It is further estimated that up to 90% of the entire population would perish within the first year as a result of crime, rioting, starvation/dehydration and of course disease, injury, untreated major medical emergencies and suicide.

Those who survive the initial 24 hours stand a fair chance of surviving the first year, if they had been smart enough to make survival preparations, were lucky enough to be able to get to their hardened position and supplies; and are able and willing to defend their supplies and the remnants of their families without hesitation and with whatever level of force is necessary.

The first year will be a time of savagery, darkness and desperation unprecedented in human history. Within a few days after water has stopped flowing and the last scraps of food have been consumed, the cities will have largely become ghost towns.  Entire populations will have fled to the countryside in search of food, water and comfort. Millions upon millions of desperate, starving people will become like swarms of 17-year locusts, but with intelligence, cunning and malice.  All pretense of civility will have been discarded and three-week survivors will appear and act very much like “zombies” depicted in recent “B” grade movies.

It will be ugly beyond imagination and challenging almost beyond endurance.  The only people who will survive until some kind of order is restored, some level of commerce resumes and whatever “normal” becomes, will be those who were prepared, and hard-headedly willing, to survive.

Survival Preparedness for an EMP Attack

There is no preparing to survive the aftermath of an EMP attack, as a specific type of preparedness.  Survival preparedness is the same for whatever disaster aftermath you are preparing to survive; it is nothing more than providing that which you know your family needs, in sufficient quantities to support survival for up to a year after the event.

Your Family will need:

  • To be water self sufficient, because nothing will come out of your faucet or what does come out will be unsafe to drink.
  • Long Term Bulk Food Storage, because the food supply chain will have ceased to function and there will be no deliveries to stores.
  • A SURVIVAL STOVETM and lights, because the National Electric Power Grid will no longer brighten the darkness, cook your food nor keep you warm.
  • First Aid Kits, because there will be minor injuries which must be prevented from becoming major problems.
  • Survival Garden Seeds and hunting weapons, because there’s a limit to how much food you are able to buy and store.

Your family will need more, much, much more; including guns of substantial caliber and firepower to defend against the attacks which are guaranteed to be launched against you.  As important as having guns is training every member of your family how, when, (and to be willing), to use them.

Being prepared to survive the aftermath of any disaster, but especially an EMP attack, does not guarantee that you will survive.  What is guaranteed is that if you are not prepared, you will not survive.  No one will prepare you to survive! You must do it yourself and you must start now. If not you, who? If not now, when?




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