If you've been in the prepper world for long, you've probably read some horrifying books about what can happen after a disaster called an EMP. And if you've done that, you know you need to protect vulnerable electronics. Today, we'll talk about how to make a Faraday cage to do just that. Don't worry – you won't need a degree in physics to do this successfully.
First, let's start off with a few important things to know.
What is an EMP?
"EMP" is short for electromagnetic pulse. It is a short burst of electromagnetic radiation that could come if a nuclear detonation occurred at very high altitude above us.
When a nuclear explosion occurs in space above a target, three types of electromagnetic pulses follow: E1, E2, and E3. An E1 pulse involves high-energy gamma rays colliding with air molecules nearly 20 miles above, then raining down electrons that get pulled in by Earth's natural magnetic field. An E2 pulse comes from high-energy neutrons that get fired in every direction, and an E3 pulse occurs due to the size of the nuclear fireball itself affecting the Earth's magnetic field. As nuclear physicist Dr. Yousaf Butt explains, these pulses affect everything in line of sight of the nuclear blast. For example, a blast at 60 miles up can affect a 700-mile radius on Earth. (source)
And by "affect everything" they mean everything with a circuit board. Your car. Your laptop. Your computerized medical devices. The power grid in general. All of it.
This probably sounds like a sci-fi disaster movie – and it is like that. But it could happen. The Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack has warned Congress of the devastation that could follow such an event. But for some reason, Congress defunded them last year.
At a House hearing yesterday, experts warned members of Congress that a North Korean EMP attack could kill 90% of Americans within one year, calling it an "existential threat." But despite this looming crisis, the Department of Defense has decided now was the time to defund the Congressional committee that has been studying the threat since 2001. (source)
They have things set up where the military can continue to function, but it appears that the rest of us are on our own.
President Trump signed an Executive Order in May called "Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure" which will hopefully harden our country against both cyber attacks and EMPs. The Commission provided a list of actionable suggestions on pages 11-14 of this report, but will the steps be undertaken before it's too late? Especially now that they're defunct.