Faraday Cage

(Survival Manual/7. Warehouse/Faraday Cage)

Faraday Cage protection from an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP)

 A.  The Day an E-Bomb Drops on an American City
4 April 2005, Strike the Root, by Jim Moore
[Current thinking is that  the target will probably not be an individual city, but a central location over the continental USA, with the nuclear detonation occurring a couple hundred miles in altitude, at the edge of space. Under this scenario, the EMP would affect the entire US power grid, our infrastructure would not be damaged, but much would be unusable–bad for commuters, bad for retail transactions, bad for high rise dwellers, bad for heating & air-conditioning, bad for aircraft in flight and, bad for people requiring prescription or OTC medicine. Mr. Larry]

“There is sharp cracking sound in the distance. A moment later a low rumbling sound, like an innocent clap of thunder, shakes the ground slightly and the whole city becomes immobile, as if frozen in time. All fluorescent lights, neon tubes, and television sets glow with eerie brightness; even the ones that are turned off at the time. Smoldering plastic seeps from outlet covers, electric wires arc, and telephone wires melt into tangled piles of smoking jelly.

Palm Pilots, DVD players, cell phones, portable appliances, and toys all feel warm to the touch because their batteries have become overloaded and are fried. Computers are toasted, and all the data on the hard drives is burned up and lost forever.

Then, the surroundings go deathly still. The background sounds of civilization in a busy city die out without a whimper. Cars and trucks sit motionless, their internal-combustion engines now stopped, will never start again.

What about the people, on the streets and in their houses? Miraculously, they are all unharmed, at least physically. But as they look around incredulously, unable to adjust their senses to the shock of this strange, silent environment, it suddenly dawns on them that something unexplainable and terrifying has just happened: the entire city is totally without power.
Without the electric circuitry to power their modern lifestyle, the civilization they took so much for granted has been thrown back 200 years, to a time when electricity had no meaning other than a lightning bolt flashing for an instant in the night sky. The city is now vulnerable and helpless.

But now, you say, let’s get real. This is a hypothetical scenario, isn’t it? This is just a trumped-up tale, a make-believe story in the mind of some Sci-fi writer or wacko atomic-scientist, right? No quite. This is a realistic assessment of the damage the Pentagon believes could be inflicted by a new generation of weapons called, E-bombs.
And just to assure you that what you read above is not only possible, investigative reporter Jim Wilson took the time and trouble to lay it all out in basic technological terms that most readers will be able to understand.

The E-bomb (or electromagnetic bomb) has a myriad of bizarre uses, Initially, the Army wants to use the E-bomb to explode artillery shells in flight. The Navy wants to use the E-bomb’s microwave pulses to neutralize anti-ship missiles. And the Air Force wants to equip its strike aircraft with E-bomb capabilities.

But, like all innovations, there is a downside. Once the principle is known, a low-tech E-bomb, with nearly the same destructive power of the big baby, could be built for as little as $400, according to an estimate by Popular Mechanics. The downside is obvious: what a boon for the terrorist who wants to shut down a whole city!”

[Note: This article was written sever years ago, in 2005; those ‘new’ weapons have been  tested and are well along their production schedule for all branches of the US armed forces and perhaps already distributed for deployment. See the following web articles:
1) Chinese EMP Weapons Program Confirmed by Intelligence Agencies; Designed to Attack US Carrier Fleets, Taiwan:
2) The USA Superconducting E-Bomb, 2003:
Mr. Larry]

B.  The Solar ‘Katrina’ Storm That Could Take Our Power Grid Out For Years
07/15/10, HufingtonPost.com, by Lawrence E. Joseph (Author, “AFTERMATH: A Guide To Preparing For And Surviving Apocalypse 2012)

John Kappenman, 55, an obscure electrical engineer from Duluth, Minnesota was a major contributor to the landmark report, Severe Space Weather Events: Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts, published by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in December, 2008. Founded by Abraham Lincoln during the height of the Civil War, the NAS is the closest thing there is to a Supreme Court of scientific opinion for the United States, and much of the rest of the world.

“Electric power is modern society’s cornerstone technology, the technology on which virtually all other infrastructures and services depend… Collateral effects of a longer-term outage [such as would almost certainly result from a massive space weather event] would likely include, for example, disruption of the transportation, communication, banking, and finance systems, and government services; the breakdown of the distribution of potable water owing to pump failure and the loss of perishable foods and medications because of lack of refrigeration. The resulting loss of services for a significant period of time in even one region of the country could affect the entire nation and have international impact as well,” says the NAS report.

As examined extensively in my book, AFTERMATH, (Broadway/Random House, July, 2010) more than 100 million Americans could be affected by this blackout for months or years. Recovering from a future severe magnetic storm would cost $1 to $2 trillion per year– ten to twenty times the cost of Katrina. Of course, the damage would be immeasurably worse if such a massive, protracted catastrophe were to touch off social unrest sufficient to undermine the agencies and institutions in charge of the reconstruction effort.

The World’s Largest Lightning Rod
The world’s power grids, of which the United States has the most extensive, have in essence become giant antennas for space weather blasts. Just as a lightning rod attracts any lightning bolts that might otherwise strike a roof, the power grid, which is designed specifically to be extremely efficient at conducting electricity, attracts space weather bolts. Problem is that, unlike lightning rods, the power grid is gravely vulnerable to such shocks.

According to Kappenman’s research, a repeat of the geomagnetic storm that occurred in 1859 or 1921 would see the copper windings and leads of the 350 or so of the highest voltage transformers in the United States melt and burn out. These transformers connect nearly one-third of the entire US power grid infrastructure, damage levels of unimaginable proportions from any other threat. Transformers weigh over 100 tons apiece and usually cannot be repaired in the field, and because of their size they cannot be flown in from overseas factories where they are now made. In fact, most transformers damaged by space weather incidents cannot be repaired at all, and need to replaced with new units. Currently, the worldwide waiting list for transformers is about three years, and about half of those made fail either in test or prematurely while in service.

“We’ve been stacking risk multipliers on top of risk multipliers. The scientific community has developed a false sense of security regarding the power industry. We’ve got to preserve our capability and prevent wide-spread catastrophic damage to this vital infrastructure!” declares Kappenman.
We have already slept through at least one wake-up call, the geomagnetic storm of 1989,” Kappenman contends.

On March 13,1989, two solar blasts each about a tenth the size of the ones that hit in 1859 and 1921 knocked out the Hydro-Quebec electrical utility, causing it to go from fully operational to complete shutdown in 92 seconds. On the computer simulation, the blast looks like giant red, toothy mouths taking bites out of the top of the Northern Hemisphere. Millions of customers in Quebec lost power but within nine hours power was restored. No big deal in the grand scheme of things. True, a number of nuclear, oil and coal-powered plants as far away as Los Angeles subsequently reported transmission anomalies, but nothing blew up, although one large transformer at a Nuclear plant in New Jersey melted.

Another wake-up call came on Halloween, October 31, 2003. Kappenman was testifying before the Environment subcommittee of the House of Representatives Science Committee on the impact of the blackout of August 14, 2003 and potential impacts for severe space weather. The August 2003 blackout, not space weather related, is believed to have cost between $4 billion and $10 billion in repairs and collateral economic damage. As luck would have it, the day of Kappenman’s testimony turned out also to be a day of a powerful solar storm, known in space weather circles as Halloween 2003.

The utility industry’s objections to implementing a space weather defense program are thus more inertial than economic. Why go to all the trouble of preventing a space weather blackout when no (serious) one has ever happened, at least not in the United States? Then, there’s the commonsense reluctance to complicate a system that has thus far functioned so admirably. Inserting surge suppressors would also require installing high-speed switching circuits to bypass the transformers when necessary, yet another “moving part” that could potentially break down. Aggravating matters further is the inescapable fact that the more complex the network, the less control grid operators have over it…(the preceding paragraphs are an excerpt from the article).

C.  The galvanized metal, trash can Faraday Cage
A galvanized metal trash can, can be a very effective electromagnetic shield. The interior of the body of the galvanized metal trash can should be lined with some material to electrically insulate items stored inside the container from the metal exterior. Cardboard probably works better than any other inexpensive material for this. Liners such as plastic trash bags may be too thin for this because of the momentary high voltages that could be induced on the exterior during an actual EMP. Do not place any insulation at a point where it would interfere with the electrical connection between the metal lid and the metal body of the trash can.

* Direction  for making a galvanized steel Faraday Cage can be seen on YouTube, at: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoQZY1FtI3c&gt;
.D.  Mr. Larry’s home assembled trash can – Faraday Cage
I made a cage similar to the one built on YouTube (see web address above), my construction photographs and descriptions follow;

[Photographs above: Left: A  30 gallon galvanized trash can (Home Depot or Lowes) cum Faraday cage. Seen with heavy-duty single strand grounding wire. The ground wire connects with only with the ground terminal of a three prong electric plug and is plugged into the household power grid to provide grounding. The other end of the ground wire attaches to the trash can handle with an alligator clip. The cage is normally covered with an attractive blanket in the house and located out of sight and out-of-the-way from the daily routine.
Right: Interior of can lid, the cardboard insulation is held in place with Velcro. Note a large electronic item is sitting on a cardboard shelf, 1/2 way down in the can. The can interior is sectioned into a top bay and a divided lower portion. The sheet of paper seen laying inside is an inventory list of what is in the can and its location in the divided lower compartment, as well as a list of other items that would need protection if emergency warning was given.]

[Photographs above: Left: Heavy duty cardboard insulation has been cut to shape and taped to fit snug, with a slight overlap, around the interior of can.  All the cardboard edges have been taped to increase their strength and longevity.
The lid interior has been fitted with cardboard and attached with strips of Velcro.
I’m lifting a double thick (2 pieces) cardboard shelf that sits inside the Faraday cage. The shelf is supported by a ‘ X ‘ shaped divider and separates the top bay compartment from the divided, lower compartment.
The sheets of cardboard  forming the interior side insulation, sit on a slightly larger bottom plate of cardboard.
Right: I made a cardboard divider and set it  in the lower compartment. The four  sections of the  divider are lettered A-D, each divider has been filled with stored electronics, batteries, etc. and listed on the Inventory Sheet. Stored items are inventoried with the  Letter label of the divider their stored in.  My stored electronics are further sealed in gallon size zip baggies, mostly for abrasion protection in storage and to keep related parts together.]

 My Faraday Cage  Contents  Inventory Sheet (an example list)

Top What it is and does (below)
Battery Charger Deep cycle battery charger
Flash drive Personal data stored on this portable backup device.
A  Quad:
Rotary phone AT&T 210 black rotary dial telephone, phone cord (land line)
18v batteries Black and Decker variety, for various B&D equipment
USB dome Kensington 7 port USB dome with power pack
B  Quad:
CO Alarm To monitor CO in home or tent (closed quarters) when using propane for heat or cooking during emergency conditions.
 AA batteries  Enloop rechargeable AA batteries

Emergency Additions & Packing
The inventory sheet should also contains a list of electronic items that you use on a daily basis and would need protection in the advent of a massive X5+ solar flare or an escalating threat of military attack, see example below:

Battery operated tools 12v Flood lamp Calculator
AA Battery USB charger with adapters Spare CFL’s (compact fluorescent bulbs) Indoor-outdoor remote thermometer
 IPod/IPad/Kindle  Battery operated wrist watches/wall clocks  External hard drive

Why might it be a good idea to build your own Faraday cage and stock or store some spare electronics in it? Read the next article. 

D.  What You Need to Know About the Likelihood of an EMP Attack on the U.S. : A Multi-Part Preparedness Series
June 15, 2009, EMP 101, By Kellene Bishop

EMP 101: Part I The Likelihood
I recently finished reading two GREAT books, back to back, that are fictional scenarios about an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) attack on the U.S. Both books are very well written, extremely realistic, and I had a hard time putting them down. The first one (still my all time favorite) was “Alas, Babylon” by Pat Frank. The second, as recommended by many readers on this site was “One Second Afterby William R. Forstchen. (Warning, occasional language in this book qualifies it as “rated PG-13”) Both authors are so expert in their fields of knowledge on the matters which they write, that I feel the books are more a prediction of things to come, rather than a work of fiction. Out of all of the possible scenarios of a man-made crisis, the most likely to occur against the U.S. is an EMP attack. However, what disturbed me so greatly is the majority of the pain and suffering in either of the books could have been substantially negated with the addition of a very legitimate reality in my world—a year’s supply of emergency food, water, and other items.

For those of you who may not be aware, the U.S. has received countless amounts of intelligence that an EMP attack is very likely. (Google EMP attack + U.S.) More recently, China has even admitted to preparing an EMP to “use on its enemies.” It’s no surprise that N. Korea has been playing with nukes lately. And contrary to the naïve understanding of many Americans, the Soviets have also been dedicating a great deal of their resources towards the perfection of nuclear attacks. In all actuality, an EMP attack could be done in such a way that we wouldn’t necessarily have any way of knowing WHO launched the attack against us (as accurately portrayed in Forstchen’s book).

About 8 years ago an officially commissioned report was released about the potential catastrophic consequences of an EMP attack over the U.S. Newt Gingrich specifically stated in response to this report, “this is not idle speculation but taken from the consensus finding of nine distinguished American scientists who authored the “Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack.” Unfortunately, since the report was issued on the very same day as the 9/11 Commissions Report, it went largely unheeded and unnoticed by the press.

So why is an EMP attack more viable than an all out war or a nuclear bomb attack? Well it boils down to dollars and conquering. Why spends billions of dollars and countless lives on fighting an all out war when you can launch an EMP attack, wait it out for several months, and then come in and clean up the few that survived? For only a few thousand dollars each, 3 SCUD missiles can be launched off of a ship in the middle of the waters off of our coast, high up into the atmosphere. It’s not like we’d see “incoming SCUDs”. If we’re lucky we’ll simply see something launched into space. Several billions of dollars can be saved for any enemy when such a strategy is used. With this strategy countless numbers of soldiers, death camps, and an arsenal of bullets is not necessary. Human nature and our reliance on Prozac and technology will easily kill off the weak in a matter of days. Additionally, while the land of the U.S. is rich in resources, access to those resources is impeded if there is no population to harvest them. So using an EMP attack vs. something more deadly that would contaminate the very land an enemy wishes to possess is not in their best strategic interest either. Considering that an EMP attack would make us helpless to communicate or travel effectively, all an enemy has to do is wipe out our electricity, wait several months, and watch how the effects of such an attack kill off the weak, weaken the spirits of the strong, and then come and clean up what’s left. Bottom line, it’s less expensive and less messy for our nation’s enemies to use an EMP attack on us than anything else. Mother Nature and the ugly side of human nature is the ally of our enemy and will work in concert successfully with such an attack. The key to any successful attack is knowing your enemy’s vulnerability. Clearly, technology is our Achilles heel here in the U.S. and it would take very little money and effort to wipe us out.

If an EMP attack were launched against the Philippines, it would make a very small impact comparatively. The Filipinos are used to sporadic technology availability, living off of what they produce, minimal medical access, and a scarcity of food and good drinking water. Heck, they haven’t even progressed to doing their laundry on a washboard yet. They’re still pounding their clothes against rocks in the rivers. But the U.S.? We are a nation of overly medicated, out of shape, pampered, spoiled and indulgent citizens. Don’t underestimate the destruction that can be had simply by the emotional impact of such an attack on the generation of the “entitlement mentality.”

So, what does all of this mean to you? It means that you need to begin seeing your world differently—NOW. While I will be writing a multi-part series on an EMP attack to shed some light on various aspects of your survival, it’s important that you begin NOW to look around you and be aware. What do you currently rely on that is operated by electricity that you would have NO ability to use after an EMP? Cooking. Driving. Medical? Communications? Whatever the answer is you need to prepare yourself mentally and physically to battle such instances. Some scenarios may be trivial ones of inconvenience. Yet some may be life or death—all because the power goes out indefinitely.

As I said in the beginning, the only problem I had with these stories is that the suffering of people portrayed on the pages was not realistic in MY world. A shortage of food, pain relievers, clothing, bedding, personal hygiene items, water, heat, light, and knowledge is NOT going to happen in my home. I’m prepared specifically for such a realistic situation. Ask yourself, are you? Then again, the authors most likely wouldn’t have sold a single book had they focused on how a prepared person would encounter a disaster vs. the majority of the U.S. population. Guess that would be a pretty boring storing only pertinent for the Discovery Channel.

EMP 101: Part II—The Aftermath
The Aftermath, by Kellene Bishop

Yesterday we discussed the reality of an EMP attack on the U.S. and today we will bring the aftermath of an EMP attack a bit closer so that we can mentally go through the various ramifications. If you mentally prepare, even little by little, you will be significantly better off.

#1 The Aftermath Reality: Since an EMP essentially fries anything electric, this means most automobiles post-1970 will be useless. This may explain why my husband’s dream car as of late is a 1967 Ford Bronco.  As early as 1970, key components of automobiles were made with electrical parts. You’re well aware that some models today brag about being completely electrical. This will be problem with an EMP. If you’re driving your beautiful Cooper car when an EMP strikes, you won’t feel the road rattle. You won’t hear a noise. Your automobile will simply stop dead in its tracks. Be prepared mentally for alternative transportation. For me that’s “hoofing it” so I have a couple of pairs of good shoes in storage, and made sure that my bikes have several tire repair kits to go with them. You may also want to consider having a “li’l red wagon” or something that you can easily push and pull with supplies or your passengers therein. This is not to say that you will have to flee where you are when an EMP hits, but as the aftermath becomes a way of life, you will have to travel at some point even if it’s just a mile or so. Personally, I will want to be able to travel so that I can check on other individuals and deliver any aid I may be able to.

#2 The Aftermath Reality: The most vital services that will be destroyed in an EMP attack are communications. Telephones, radio, walkie-talkies, etc. Can you imagine what life will be like in the aftermath without these luxuries? And to think we mock individuals who don’t have texting abilities nowadays.  This is yet another reason why you will want to make sure your walking shoes or your bike are ready for use—delivering messages.

While your challenge will be wide scale, without proper communication you’ll feel like you’re on you very own little planet. One of the recommendations I make to prepare for the aftermath is to take the time to get your HAM radio license, appropriate equipment, and THEN be sure that it’s kept out of range of an EMP strike. This can be accomplished in different ways, but the most popular is a Faraday cage.

You can easily create a Faraday cage which will protect most electronics from an EMP attack. We’ll talk more about Faraday cages later in this series. (Sorry, I haven’t found a contractor yet who can do this to my whole house.) You can actually obtain a Faraday cage from a business that’s going under that has been using one for their server room. I’ve even found decent sized Faraday cages on E-bay. Then again you can also use materials of your own for such storage with aluminum foil, mesh copper or brass sheeting, a cheap “space blanket” made of Mylar, or even an oversized stock pot! There are Faraday blankets available as well.

#3 The Aftermath Reality: The banking industry will be destroyed with one pulse. No ATMs, folks. You will be unable to buy any goods without cash. (We’ll see how long human nature allows such civil transactions to take place before burglary and looting commences.) You will be unable to fill your car with gasoline, even if it is an older model. Gas pumps are operated electronically nowadays. Your home security system will be useless. You won’t be able to rely on the television and video games to entertain your children. And you’ll have to be sure to have an alternative way to cook your meals—as well as the knowledge necessary to cook in such a manner. There will be no refrigeration. So either keep your freezer and refrigerator closed for as long as possible, or start canning meats and such and eating the foods in the freezer first.

#4 The Aftermath Reality: Lastly, consider the medical implications of an EMP attack. Obtaining medications that we are accustomed to using will be virtually impossible. Those individuals who rely on medical technology to survive in their homes will be at the highest risk in the aftermath of an EMP attack. Unlike our food supply which relies on a three-day delivery cycle, our medical supplies largely rely on a one day delivery cycle. So what can you do to prepare? First make sure you have as many medical supplies on hand that you can obtain such as pain relievers, cough and cold remedies, anti-bacterial creams, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, cotton balls, heat packs, essential oils, and your own medications. (Just so you know, since I use coupons, I get the majority of these items really cheap or for free!)

Next, do all you can do now to get as healthy as possible without medication. When I started out this year I had a stark moment of realization. I looked at my nightstand and saw 7 prescription bottles. I knew that such reliance would hinder me dramatically if we were to encounter a true emergency, so I made the goal to get healthy so that I could eliminate all of them. It’s been 6 months and I’ve eliminated all but one of them by focusing on the use of high quality nutritional products. I may not be able to store a year’s worth of medications properly, but I CAN store a year’s worth of nutritional products that help me replace the chemical alternatives.

To recap, prepare your mind and your body for the aftermath of an EMP attack, and you won’t end up being the star of your own Armageddon story.

EMP 101: Part III—Prepare Medically
How to prepare medically for an EMP attack, by Kellene Bishop

When any natural disaster hits a region there will always be devastating consequences, particularly to those who are in ill-health or who rely on medications and modern technology to get through their day. Unfortunately, without preparing medically, these individuals will be the first casualties of such a disaster. I understand that stating such a reality doesn’t make me popular or a preferred guest at your next dinner party, but I do feel compelled to teach you the real consequences of a crisis, while also teaching you to prepare medically so you can avoid being a death statistic.

First get the 10,000 foot view of how an EMP attack or a solar flare will affect your medical preparedness. ALL electrical gidgets and gadgets will be fried and made useless, regardless of whether or not they are turned on, plugged in, or out of their styrofoam box. So, if your “plan” is to race to Walgreens once you catch wind of an emergency, you’re in for a rude awakening. Medical supplies such as prescriptions run on a one day delivery schedule. That means that the most that pharmacies have on hand is ONE day of supplies for their regular number of customers. Regular, as in a peaceful, calm, normal day. If the “fit hits the shan,” you need to understand the mathematical problem in expecting your supplies will be on hand when you need them in a mass emergency situation. You will have LESS than 30 minutes to get there, get it, and get out. So you see why that’s not the best plan to prepare medically? What you should do is to have a frank conversation with your doctor, tell him that you want and need to prepare medically for an emergency, and ask for a 1 to 3 month supply of your medications in addition to what you need to be taking. So long as your prescription is not a controlled substance, you should be able to make a convincing argument to prepare medically.

If you are dealing with diabetic issues in which you need insulin, get what you can as a supply AND store advanced technology ice packs to prepare medically. There are kinds of ice packs that look like a pox-marked quilt that stay frozen and distribute the cold for longer periods of time than simple ice. There are also gel packs that can be heated or frozen. They hold their temperature a lot longer than ice. Keep in mind, if you store your insulin in the refrigerator, dramatically limit opening that refrigerator. You will be able to keep it cool for a 50% longer period of time. Other preparedness methods that you should explore are solar energy generators sufficient only to run a small refrigerator, a “solar oven” that converts to a refrigerator at night and how to construct an electricity free refrigerator (see Google). Our forefathers did without electricity and so can we if need be.

Another suggestion to prepare medically is for you to be certain that you are storing nutritious foods. I hear folks frequently tell me that they will be able to survive off of their food storage simply because of all of the boxes they have of Kraft Mac and Cheese. I assure you, that is not surviving. It’s barely even living. In an emergency situation your body is naturally in a heightened state of stress. Your body needs MORE nutrition to “survive”, let alone to thrive. Stress compromises your entire health system—especially your immune system. Having proper nutrition in a crisis situation is the utmost of importance. Multi-vitamins, essential oils, quality grains, sprouting supplies, etc. will all be crucial to you surviving not only an existing medical crisis, but one that may occur due to your circumstances as well. You can not underestimate the power of nutrition for your health—especially in an emergency.

It’s easy for us in this country to become complacent with all that medical technology will do for us that we aren’t willing to do for ourselves. On New Year’s Day this year, I looked at my nightstand and was struck by how many prescription bottles I had that I needed to take every day. I suddenly became very aware of how those prescriptions would compromise my ability to survive and emergency. Thus in the name of emergency preparedness I made a vow that I would eliminate the need for all of them this year if it were at all possible. As of May, I have eliminated all but one of these meds by being more conscientious of what I eat, how active I am physically, and using nutrition as my medicine instead of just as my food. (Please consult your physician before attempting this.)

For the first 8 years of my marriage, my husband’s breakfast consisted of two handfuls of peanut M&M’s, a Cherry Coke, and a bag of Cheetos (he fondly called it “Vitamin C3”). Throughout the day he would eat Lindt chocolate and any other kind of sweets that sounded appetizing. I couldn’t get that man to eat veggies unless it was on a slab of beef. Healthy, eh? However, one day it hit him that he didn’t want to be a slave to these kinds of foods in an emergency. So he went from a sugar addict to a “no sugar guy” overnight. He’s now 2 years “sober”—all in the name of emergency preparedness. He also runs up “Y” mountain in Provo, Utah every morning while stopping long enough to do a total of 600 push-ups along the way. Each day it’s being prepared for an emergency that motivates him. (Please consult a psychologist before attempting this! )

While it’s not realistic to arm yourself with a year’s supply of medicine, you can arm yourself with as much health and strength as you can possibly store AND you can also have a year’s high-quality nutritional products on hand. I’m not talking about diet shakes. I’m talking about products such as Reliv, Sunrider, Young Living, Xooma’s water sachets, etc. Worst case scenario, stocking up on some Ensure may save your life if you can’t get the other products. I don’t recommend nutritional products such as these to make money in an “MLM.” I recommend products like these to literally save your life. (Which is exactly why I’m NOT going to provide you with contact information for these products. Please Google them.)

Increase your knowledge of the use of essential oils, herbs, and alternative medicines. There is an abundance of information freely available. Even cancer can be appeased with alternative medicine (click here) All of these chemicals we take have their own natural origins. Go to the source. Even diabetes can be made less severe with essential oils and herbs (click here).

Lastly, in order to prepare medically you need to keep in mind that in the event of an EMP attack, it’s not likely that you will have any notice. Unlike a tornado warning, you won’t be able to go underground for safety. BUT…if you DO have such a warning, then be prepared to flee into or to store vital items immediately in a Faraday cage or like protection. (More info on that coming up this week.) If you have a pacemaker or oxygen machine, get yourself as far below ground as possible.

The bottom line is, we do not have to be helpless medically in any event with some concentrated efforts to prepare medically now. Remember, you won’t be able to rely on hospitals, doctors or emergency services to help amidst a catastrophic event (Think Hurricane Katrina). But as you prepare medically, you can be self-sufficient with mental and physical preparedness now.

EMP 101: Part IV—Faraday Cages
Faraday Cages, by Kellene Bishop

We’ve established that an EMP incident will fry all electronics. This occurs whether or not they are plugged in or turned on. This also affects automobiles, batteries, computers, medical equipment, etc. Needless to say, in such an instance, life as we know it will change dramatically. Even more distressing is the fact that the strike of an EMP is not likely to give any warning. You don’t see it. You don’t feel it. You are simply left with the sudden consequences and whatever preparedness you have on hand. So, other than your preparedness supplies, your new best friend may be a Faraday cage. In fact, with the knowledge of the protection that a Faraday cage can provide you, you may be able to enjoy nearly as comfortable a lifestyle as you did prior to any electromagnetic pulse.

While being mentally prepared to live in the Stone Age may be helpful, it’s not necessary. Aren’t you glad?
First of all, allow me to dispel some myths about Faraday cages—and boy, howdy, there are a LOT of them.
•  Whether or not your electronics are plugged in, how long of an antenna you’ve got on something, what voltage it is, or whether or not they operate with batteries—all non-protected electronics will be affected by an EMP.
•  Batteries will be affected, usually in the form of “shorting” as well.
•  Electronic phone systems will also be damaged.
•  Surge protectors are useless in the event of an EMP exposure.
•  Just because your car has rubber tires, it will not be impervious to the effects of an EMP. Rubber containers are insufficient protection against an EMP.
•  And oh yeah—yes, your Faraday cages DO need to be grounded. If it’s NOT grounded, then the Faraday cage merely becomes a reflector or an amplifier.
•  Yes, a microwave can act as a Faraday cage, but why in the world would you want to use it for that? That’s just silly when you can make one simply.
•  Faraday cages do not have to be solid, thus the name “cage” instead of the oft misused term—“box.” In fact, many of them that you can build yourself or will see on the internet will resemble a bird-cage or a very finely meshed chicken coop wire.
•  Also, contrary to what you may see on the internet, a sheet of foil on a box will not protect you. It’s not thick enough to withstand the pulse. However, you CAN protect your items if they are buried a couple of feet underground in every direction (up and sideways.)
•  Last, but not least, a car is NOT a Faraday cage sufficient to withstand an EMP incident. It has some similar components, yes. Most cars made today consist of fiberglass and disjointed parts, not a continuous metal material. In addition to that, they are on tires. Tires on a car do NOT serve as grounding. Folks are simply getting an EMP strike confused with a lightning strike. Now, IF you had an old-fashioned car that was made of metal, that had its tires removed, that was also attached to an Iron or copper pole and that was ALSO on dirt—not gravel—then yes, you may have a car that doubles as a Faraday cage. (Kind of like the old clunker my dad has out in his “back forty.”
•  The cages do not have to be solid, but they do have to be constructed continuously without gaps between the protective material.
There. Now that we’ve discredited 90% of the internet information out there, let’s continue.

Faraday cages are named after Michael Faraday who invented them in 1836. They block out external electrostatic fields and electromagnetic radiation. One mistake many people make when it comes to an EMP is to compare it to a lightning bolt. The effects of an EMP and a direct lightning bolt are very similar, but they are not at all similar in terms of their visibility, and effect on the body. An EMP is more like a radio wave, not a visible bolt of light or electric current.

It’s the substrate layers of the diodes and transistors that make them susceptible to a magnetic pulse attack. Electronics are made up of diodes and transistors and substrate layers. A computer, car, television, and cell phones are made up of tons of transistors. When hit with a powerful magnetic pulse, the substrate layers are destroyed. However, early 1960’s and before electronics did not use substrate layers. They used vacuum tubes. This is why older electronics are less susceptible to damage. This is why a human or animal body will not be affected. Yes, our bodies consist of an electric volt. But understand there’s a difference between electricity and electronics.

I just want to reiterate this again. It’s important that any Faraday cage that you plan to use is grounded. It has to be grounded in order to disperse the energy.

What you should know though is that a Faraday cage is not fool-proof. The higher the frequency of the magnetic pulse, the faster it is. This is what causes the burn out. The cages must be grounded, continuously connecting, and the openings of them cannot be too large. Chicken coop wire would work, but only if you double or even triple layered it as the opening are too large. For a reference of opening size, look at the front of your microwave door. It’s a small mesh. Just a like a snake can slither its way through the right sized hole, so can an electronic wave.

You can have an instant Faraday cage with a galvanized trash can or a large stock pot like they use in restaurants. (Be sure to clamp the lid down. Remember—continuous connection is key. Since Faraday cages are not fool-proof, depending on the strength of the pulse, I would recommend burying such containers 2 feet under the ground, storing survival electrical and battery items. (Including batteries).

An easy way to make a Faraday cage would be to acquire some 2 x 4 brass mesh sheets. (Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel did a couple of experiments using this successfully.) Make a box frame with the 2 x 4′s and staple the brass mesh to the outside. Create a securely attached/connected access entry within the frame. Solder a ground wire to one of the corners and ground the cage. Scrap metal and mesh wires can easily be obtained in junk yards, on E-bay, the clay modeling section of a craft store, or at your local hardware or “farm and feed” store. The important aspect of this to remember though is that mesh or sheet metal only shields magnetic fields if the frequency is up in the RF range. To properly stop the wave, you need some iron, steel, or some slabs of thick copper. Most electronics are useful in the VHF/UHF/SHF range today and will need more substantial protection. Remember when you’re browsing the internet. Protecting against sparks is not the same as protecting against a strong magnetic pulse.

You can make your “cage” as small or as large as you’d like. It wouldn’t be out of the question to continuously line a basement storage room or hole in the ground with copper mesh wire and a grounding rod.

Bottom line, with an appropriately constructed Faraday cage, you can likely protect that which is inside from the electromagnetic attack of an EMP incident or solar flare, thus preserving the function of all that is contained therein.

Be selective in what you protect. It makes no sense to protect a cell phone, for example, as the cell towers will be useless. If it were me, I would protect radios, communication devices (such as a HAM radio), batteries and all of their respective tools, thumb drives loaded with all of my vital information, and a laptop. Keep in mind that a Faraday cage should be your LAST concern in terms of protecting every electronic that you enjoy presently. It’s not like if you preserve your television you’re going to have any “juice” to plug it into. Don’t focus on a Faraday cage and its time, effort, and expense at the risk of neglecting food, water, and medical supplies. It would be better for you to read up on solar power, wind and steam energy instead.

See also the 4dtraveler posts;
(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/Nuclear EMP)
(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/Solar flare EMP)
(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/Long Term Power Outage)
(Survival Manual/2. Social issues/Checklist 100 things that disappear first)
(Survival Manual/3. Food and Water/Develop a survival food list)
(Survival Manual/3. Food and Water/Water)

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