***The following is a guest post for Survival by Alisha Venetis, the co-founder of www.thePrepRoom.net*** About five years ago, my husband and I were in the investigative stages of having a stand-by generator installed on our home. I called a company that sold one of the more popular brands and asked if the generators would still work in the case of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack. The salesman was unaware of what that was, but said he would look into it and call me back. A few days later he called back with a strange tone in his voice, wondering why I had asked this question in the first place. I explained that I have been studying the Middle East and was preparing for different types of disasters (natural and man made) and I believed an EMP attack was a real possibility.
I quickly understood why the generator salesman was acting so concerned. He explained to me that a few days ago they had received an updated warranty from the generator manufacturer, and in it, for the first time, was a disclaimer stating that their generators were not covered under warranty, in the event of an EMP attack.
An EMP is a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by the rapid acceleration of charged particles; similar to lightening, but shorter, much stronger and faster. An EMP can be caused by nuclear weapons, radio-frequency weapons, or geomagnetic storms (often called space weather). An EMP terrorist attack, which has been called a weapon of “mass disruption”, can be triggered by the detonation of a nuclear weapon at a high altitude over the United States.
Most terrorism experts agree that an EMP is the biggest and greatest threat to America. It would likely render useless, not just all computers and small electronics, but all critical infrastructures, such as communications, transportation, banking, and food and water distribution chains.
A successful EMP attack could result in airplanes literally falling from the sky, streets and highways instantly becoming graveyards for inoperable automobiles and non-functioning traffic signals, and water, sewer, and electrical networks failing...all at once.
Without electricity, food would rot, health care would be reduced to its most basic level and, pretty much, your only means of transportation would be a bicycle. Rule of law would become impossible to sustain. Police departments would be overwhelmed and most civil service employees would not even show up to help, because they'd be at home taking care of their own families. Effectively, the U.S. would be thrown back to the pre-industrial age and life as we know it would be forever changed in a matter of seconds.
In 2004 and 2008, The Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from an EMP, released a report, stating that an EMP attack could inflict severe damage on the U.S. and that an “EMP is one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences”. The commission was very clear as to what an EMP could do to America. “Should significant parts of the electrical power infrastructure be lost for any substantial period of time, the Commission believes that the consequences are likely to be catastrophic, and many people may ultimately die of lack of the basic elements necessary to sustain life in dense urban and suburban communities.”
Today, more than ever, the likelihood of an EMP attack is very real.
Since an EMP attack can be executed with simple ballistics, this currently leaves about 30 countries the ability to launch an EMP attack.
North Korea currently owns a large arsenal of missiles and has been publicly testing its ballistic weapons. It has also been reported that Russian scientists have worked with North Korea and tested an EMP this year.
The most disconcerting of all the countries is the latest one to have joined the nuclear weapons fraternity; Iran. Iranians have already practiced in the Caspian Sea. Although we may look at their tests as failures, because their missiles blow up mid flight, to the Iranian regime, the tests are a success. The spiritual leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, once said “If the world's industrial countries fail to devise effective ways to defend themselves against dangerous electronic assaults, then they will disintegrate within a few years. American soldiers would not be able to find food to eat, nor would they be able to fire a single shot.” EMPs’ are so effective; it is believed that the USA has contemplated using one against the Iranians as well.
Although a few select sites in America have been safeguarded, including Air Force One and the U.S. nuclear weapons systems, most of our country remains highly vulnerable. Not only would most Americans not know what to do if an EMP occurred tomorrow, most have never even heard of an EMP and would not even know what it was that altered their lives, instantaneously.
Preparations for an EMP attack are very similar to those made for Y2K; essentially, learning how to live off the electrical grid. While the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends a disaster kit able to sustain a family for two weeks, if expert predictions are correct, recovery from an EMP attack could take months or even years.
Especially considering the transformers on our electrical grids are made in Korea and take two to three years to make.
A basic disaster kit should include:
· Water – store one gallon per day per person. A non-electrical water filter capable of safely filtering other sources of water would be beneficial.
· Food – canned foods, freeze dried and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking or water – and include a hand can opener.
· Portable, battery-powered or solar radio and extra batteries – which would not be affected by an EMP attack.
· Local maps and compass
· Flashlight and extra batteries.
· First aid kit and manual.
· Sanitation and hygiene items
· Matches and waterproof container.
· Extra clothing- especially if you live in an area that has cold climate
· Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils.
· Cash and coins.
· Special needs items, such as prescription medications, eye glasses, contact lens solutions and hearing aid batteries.
· Potassium Iodide tablets, to protect against a nuclear meltdown.
· Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.
· Other items to meet your unique family needs.
· Since power could be down for an extended period of time, a generator could prove useful.
Small electronics can be protected from an EMP by storing them in either a faraday bags or cages. Although it is not full-proof, many believe this is the best known safeguard.
As the discourse surrounding Iran and their nuclear threat to the United States heats up, one thing is guaranteed. If left to their own devices, Iran and many other countries in the region remain a clear and present danger.
About the author:
Alisha Venetis is co-founder of www.thePrepRoom.net; an online store specializing in emergency preparedness supplies. She writes for Smart Girl Nation, as well as other conservative blogs, where she reports on world politics, domestic and global economics and the potentially negative ramifications they may have on America.