EMP protection for cars and homes has been talked about on thousands of these types of websites over the years.
Sadly, if you pull up the top ten from a google search and read through them you will likely find out this fact.
All will likely give you different information on how to protect your essential equipment.
That is where I see issues.
I think to myself if all this information is different on recommendations then where did they get their information?
Moreover, the next question is one we had ourselves. Can you prevent electronics from being destroyed?
Are there things that we can all do to help protect our essential gear and household items and even our vehicles?
As a result, we had to do a bit of research and will go over what we found below!
Everything we listed has been done by government and military testing with what they recommend to mitigate the damage to your gear and equipment.
Table Of Contents
- What is an EMP
- Why do EMPs Destroy Electronics?
- Types of EMPs Or GMD
- History Of Passed EMPs or GMDs
- EMPs Protection and Testing
- Different Stages & Severity Explained
- The EMP Domino Effect
- EMP Protection For Home
- Level 1 Protection Vendors
- Level 2 Protection Vendors
- Level 3-4 Protection Vendors
- Addition Thoughts To Consider
- Resources and Free Downloads
What is an EMP
EMP is short for Electromagnetic pulse. Has defined by Wikipedia below
“An electromagnetic pulse (EMP), also sometimes called a transient electromagnetic disturbance, is a short burst of electromagnetic energy.
Such a pulse’s origin may be a natural occurrence or man-made and can occur as a radiated, electric, or magnetic field or a conducted electric current, depending on the source.
EMP interference is generally disruptive or damaging to electronic equipment, and at higher energy levels a powerful EMP event such as a lightning strike can damage physical objects such as buildings and aircraft structures.“
These events can be in one central location or they can spread to a wider area which we will go over in more detail later.
Why do EMPs Destroy Electronics?
EMPs can act as a rogue current in your devices travel through the metal in the device and the tiny circuits.
As a result, the strong current can disrupt or destroy the electronic device.
A simple lightning strike is a form of an EMP.
The EMP travels rapidly and invisibly through the lines frying the components that make the electronics function.
This is why surge protection devices are widely sold in most stores.
This is the basic concept of smaller “emp like” event.
I say smaller because a man man emp that would be used in a larger attack will most likely take out not only cities by states or multiple states.
Types of EMPs Or GMD
In this section we will go over a list of EMPs or GMDs by categories.
Natural EMP event includes:
- A lightning electromagnetic pulse (LEMP)
- Electrostatic discharge (ESD) or geomagnetic storm (GMD)
- Meteoric EMP
- Coronal mass ejection (CME)
Man-made EMP event include:
- Switching action of electrical circuitry, whether isolated or repetitive (as a pulse train).
- Electric motors can create a train of pulses as the internal electrical contacts make and break connections as the armature rotates.
- Gasoline engine ignition systems can create a train of pulses as the spark plugs are energized or fired.
- Continual switching actions of digital electronic circuitry.
- Power line surges. These can be up to several kilovolts, enough to damage electronic equipment that is insufficiently protected.
Military EMP include:
- A nuclear electromagnetic pulse (NEMP), as a result of a nuclear explosion. A variant of this is the high altitude nuclear EMP (HEMP), which produces a secondary pulse due to particle interactions with the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field.
- Non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse (NNEMP) weapons.
Electrostatic discharge (ESD)
In addition, more detail with descriptions can be found by clicking here!
History Of Passed EMPs or GMDs
There have been two major events one being from 1859 called the Carrington Event and the other happened in 1989 in Canada.
Carrington Event 1859
“The strongest geomagnetic storm on record is the Carrington Event of 1859 which electrified telegraph lines.
The event caused major outages and disruptions in telegraph networks around the world.
The currents induced in the lines by the event were strong enough to cause sparks and allow some operators to disconnect their systems from batteries and send messages using only the current induced by the storm.
Impacts from the storm were limited given the state of technology at the time.
On the other hand, this makes modern society is far more vulnerable to the effects of a significant GMD event due to its reliance on electricity and technology.
Hydro-Québec Event 1989
A more recent significant event occurred in 1989 when a geomagnetic storm collapsed the
Hydro-Québec power grid in under two minutes, resulting in the loss of electric power to more than six million people for nine hours in Canada.
Implications Of Future Events
A Carrington-like event today, which exceeds the magnitude of the 1989 Hydro-Québec event, could even more significantly disrupt and damage electric power grids.
A major GMD event could also disrupt radio communications and navigation signals from GPS satellites, and intense events could create significant radiation hazards for astronauts.
Due to technological interdependencies, a severe GMD event could create a complex set of cascading effects, including requiring rerouting of air traffic to avoid areas where communication and navigation would be limited by space weather impacts.”
EMPs Protection and Testing
The problem with most information on this topic is that there has not exactly been a man-made EMP event to study if a lot of these things work.
On the other hand testing facilities do know how to simulate these on a larger scale.
As a result, companies have made a variety of products that are meant to be used in protection especially against EMP attacks.
Before we get into what items the government and military recommends for protection against these events I want to go a little deeper into the different stages and severity of the events.
The purpose of this is because the different stages and their severity will determine what you need to do in the event these happen to be protected.
Different Stages & Severity Explained
The below graph shows the implication of a EMP or GMD.
It shows how much warning we could possibly have before the events happen along with the effects and duration as well as what type of equipment or infrastructure would be at risk.
The EMP Domino Effect
An EMP attack while not dangerous to humans will have a domino effect that will hurt the whole population.
One strategic placed nuclear burst 250 miles (400 kilometers [km]) above Kansas could destabilize much, if not most, of the U.S. power grid.
Likewise, one HEMP burst over North American could significantly disrupt regional or continental data infrastructures, such as the Internet and our television, radio, phone, and cellular networks. (source)
Here is a quote from William R. Graham who is a physicist that also has held multiple positions within the government.
One of those positions being the Chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from EMP Attack
“A nationwide blackout lasting one year could kill millions, perhaps prove fatal to most Americans, by starvation, disease, and societal collapse.”
That being said an EMP is more than just losing the ability to watch NetFlix or scroll through Instagram.
It will disrupt everything including
- Disrupt communications, water, and transportation.
- Close retail businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, ATMs, banks, and other services.
- Cause food spoilage and water contamination.
- Prevent the use of medical devices.
Ready.gov has a section on its website for staying safe, preparing, and surviving in power outage situations.
You can read more by clicking here.
EMP Protection For Home
There are different building materials that can help ad in the blocking of E1 EM pulses or give you better odds.
These can include natural barriers such as dirt and rocks which can significantly help reduce against E1 pulses.
Other non natural materials can be seen in the below graph.
These building materials can be consideration for building your bug out locations and can also be used in alignment with conductive preventing paint to add even more protection
The below graph is showing what types of materials provide the best protections against E1 EMP Protection and are used as a rule of thumb when thinking about construction.
Levels Of Protection Recommendations
For more information and in depth graphs stats and recommendations of how to do each of these items please follow the sources linked in each section.
I have added the links for convenience as well as listed the page number they can be found on.
Level 1 -The Lowest Cost
(when longer mission outages can be permitted)
• Unplug power, data, and antenna lines from spare equipment, where feasible.
• Turn off equipment that cannot be unplugged and is not actively being used.
• Use at least a lightning rated surge protection device (SPD) on power cords, antenna lines, and data cables; maintain spare SPDs.
• Have either EMP protected backup power or a generation source that is not connected to the grid with one (1) week of on-site fuel or equivalent (e.g., renewable source).
• Wrap spare electronics with aluminum foil or put in Faraday containers.
• Consider land mobile radios with standalone capabilities, High Frequency (HF) radios, and FirstNet.
• Store one week of food, water, and other supplies for personnel.
• Use battery-operated AM/FM/NOAA radios to receive alerts from the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and other networks like the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards networks
Level 2- For more critical infrastructure which can not be permitted to be without for extended periods.
(these are used in alignment and addition to level 1 items)
• Use EMP-rated SPDs on power cords, antenna lines, and data cables to protect critical equipment.
• Use on-line/double-conversion uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) or a high-quality line-interactive UPS.
• Use fiber optic cables (with no metal); otherwise use shielded cables and ferrites and/or SPDs.
Note: shielded racks, rooms, or facilities may be more cost-effective than hardening numerous cables.
• Use EMP protected backup power that is not vulnerable to EMP coupled through the power grid.
• Implement EMP protected, high frequency (HF) voice and email for long-distance communications (if required).
• Consider geosynchronous equatorial orbit (GEO) satellite communications, like Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN). Avoid low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite supported services, unless EMP protected. Use terminals that are EMP resilient.
• Consider shortwave radios for additional situational awareness.
Level 3 – When only minutes of downtime is acceptable.
(these are used in alignment and addition to level 1 and 2 items)
Use the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) EMP and IEMI protection standards.
• Shielding should be 30+ dB of protection through 10 GHz.
• Use EMP shielded racks, rooms, or facilities to protect critical computers, data centers, phone switches, industrial and substation controls, and other electronics.
• Use “Recommended E3 HEMP Heave Electric Field Waveform for the Critical Infrastructures” from EMP Commission for the grid and undersea cable protection planning. Use 85 V/km for Continental U.S. (CONUS) E3 threat.
• Use EMP tested SPDs and equipment.
• Institute IEC level hardness maintenance & surveillance (HM/HS).
• Have 30 days of EMP protected power/fuel.
• Store 30 days of food, water, and critical supplies and spares.
• Use time-urgent EMP resilient comms, like X, Ku, and Ka satellite, and either HF groundwave or Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) HF.
Level 4 – Only seconds of downtime is acceptable.
(these are used in alignment and together with all other levels above)
• Use Military HEMP Standards (MIL-STD-188-125-1 and MIL-HDBK-423), and 80+ dB hardening through 10 GHz.
• Use EMP shielding in rooms, racks, and buildings as needed to protect critical equipment.
• Use EMP protected double-door entryways.
• Validate per Military guidelines, like Test Operations Procedure (TOP) 01-2-620 HEMP.
• Have 30+ days of Military Standard protected power and fuel plus alternate generation source (renewables preferred).
• Consider double surge protection on critical external lines entering EMP protected areas.
• Consider using communications systems/networks that are designed to meet Military EMP standards, like Advanced EHF (AEHF) satellite, EMP protected fiber-optic networks, and EMP protected radios.
• Institute ongoing Military Standard HM/HS programs
Level 1 Protection Vendors
Conductive Blocking Paint
These types of paints are used in blocking EMR & RF signals for HF, RF/RFID Bluetooth, and cell towers.
It can be a relatively inexpensive option but it is to be noted that they generally don’t work equally across all frequencies.
That will be based on the brand or supplier you purchase from.
This particular one pictured above is for the protection against high-frequency electromagnetic fields, low frequency electric fields and RF/Microwave radiation.
It can be applied to interior walls, ceilings and floors.
For this section there are not vendors for products.
Everything in level 1 will require you to be hands on unplugging of all your essential gear and equipment.
In this step, you are simply isolating all gear and equipment that is not needed or mission-critical to prevent electrical current from overloading them.
A tip for this is adding ferrite clips to all mission necessary items.
These are inexpensive and can be quickly installed around mission-critical gear and equipment cables.
They reduce electromagnetic interference and improve signal integrity.
These are primarily designed to protect small electronics such as cell phones, key fobs, tablets, laptops, and handheld radios from EMI.
Faraday Defense bag are protective bags for these smaller devices with heavy duty ziplock.
They feature 5 ply MIL-SPEC electro-shielding bags with two of the layers of being metal and a moisture barrier for added protection.
These have <40 db EMI reduction ability.
Faraday Cases and Boxes
These are faraday boxes that are made with proprietary high impact conductive resin to protect the contents.
The one featured above is from their Zeus line of shielded cases.
These are ideal for the safe transport of sensitive or critical electronics including
- Communications equipment
- Sensors, or other computing systems.
They are extremely lightweight and versatile for protecting your equipment from both environmental and electromagnetic hazards
Providing high dB levels of reduction in the range of 10 MHz to 20 GHz.
They have a variety of sizes along with some key features.
- Meets MIL-STD 461, 464 & 810
- Gasket sealed construction protects contents from salt air, water, sand, and dust
- Suitable for commercial and military applications
- Latches equalize interior pressure when opened
- Twin 5/32 inch padlock loops
- Full-width stainless hinge & latch pins
- Flame retardant and self-extinguishing material
Colors you can get are grey or camo.
Level 2 Protection Vendors
This section we will list both active and passive methods of protection devices and wires coming into your home or facilities.
APC Surge Protectors
APC makes a wide range of products for protection of your devices.
These provide protection against power transients traveling over telecommunications lines and meet rating requirements to be effective for EMP types of transients.
Best of all these are pretty inexpensive in comparison to the price of the items you plug into these such as laptops or other mission critical items.
This company also builds in building wiring fault indicator that warns you of potentially dangerous wiring problems in the wall circuitry.
ETS Lindgren EMP Solutions
For those looking for a more advanced level of protection and can afford to do so there are companies that will build solutions for you.
ETS Lindgren builds these EMP protection rooms for larger scale operations.
These makes a great option for people with larger communication equipment such as server racks.
While their motto is “while you may not be able to prevent an EMP event, you can control the outcome.”
Their custom solutions tailored to your needs will be that way of controlling the outcome.
CyberPower Uninterruptible Power Supply
These systems are battery backup uninterruptible power supplies.
This one features 6 battery backup & surge-protected outlets with an additional 6 surge-protected outlets.
These are to safeguard
- Desktop computers
- Networking devices
- Home entertainment equipment
This particular one has a multifunction LCD panel.
It displays immediate, detailed information on battery and power conditions.
This includes estimated runtime, battery capacity, load capacity, etc.
Other features include automatic voltage regulation.
This corrects minor power fluctuations without switching to battery power, thereby extending the life of the battery.
Comes with a 3-year warranty which includes the batteries.
Up to $500,000 connected equipment guarantee, and free PowerPanel personal edition management software.
Which makes this a great option if you have expensive equipment like servers and workstations plugged in.
Just being able to save one laptop or desktop could save you thousands of dollars depending on what equipment you are using.
EMP Shield is recommended by the Department of Homeland Security for a lot of their EMP protection products they offer.
Their products have made it through extensive testing to ensure they go beyond military standards for protecting against EMP.
I do not want to get too far into this section before I say this.
The blogs telling you that you have to get an outdated or older model vehicle to be able to make it during an EMP attack is wrong.
This company makes solutions that can be added to any vehicle no matter how old or new it is to give your vehicles protection.
Police and military personnel have these types of devices installed in their vehicles and so can you!
The old days of items like these not being on the market are long gone and the information telling you to buy older vehicles for your protection is also outdated as well.
EMP Shield and What They Can Protect
They are one of the only companies with relatively inexpensive options for protecting every part of your essential gear or equipment.
Here is a list of items they can protect.
- Home Production
- Vehicle Protection
- Radio Protection
- Solar Protection
- Generator Protection
- RV Protection
- Motorcycle and Boat Protection
- Quick-acting HEMP surge protection that switches in less than 500 trillionths of a second.
- High current shunting capability above 100kAmps.
- Exceeds MIL-STD-188-125-1, MIL-STD-464C, and MIL-STD-461G requirements.
- Designed to protect power, control, data, communications, and radio antenna input.
Made to support:
- All Single & 3-Phase Power configurations
- All DC Voltages
- Data, Ethernet, RS-485, RS-422, RS-232, Etc.
- Models available for RF Communications, Antennas, coax, Etc.
Level 3-4 Protection Vendors
Sadly offering anything above level 2 protection can be very costly.
A lot of these companies do offer some items for below protection levels but most of their other products are geared for larger pocket books.
These larger pocket books include huge corporations and military bases.
For this reason we will only list the resources below with links if your are curious of some of the products they offer.
- EMP/RF Shielded Enclosures
- Company Focusing on New RF Shielding Construction of buildings.
- The building, equipment, gear protection
- Mitigation for new and retrofit installations of EMP shielding.
Addition Thoughts To Consider
If you have exhausted all the above options or like most people do not have the funds to get as much protection as you would like there are other options.
Becoming less reliant on the electrical power grid in general.
The more low tech you can get and be comfortable the better.
Because let’s face it, if the power grid ever does get taken down by an EMP attack we are more than likely going to have bigger problems on our hands than cell phone reception.
- Solar Oven, Solar sink, and solar coolers
- Manual Can Opener
- Solar generator with solar panels
- Gas Generator (if you know you will be able to get gas)
- Walkie Talkies
Resources and Free Downloads
In addition, we didn’t want you to leave without adding some more resources.
Here is a list of the top resources on EMPs.
- US Department of Homeland Security – Strategies for protection & preparing. Click here
- EIS Counsel – Black Sky Hazards: Description and Impact, EMP. Click here
- U.S. Department of Energy – Electromagnetic Pulse Resilience Action Plan. Click here
For testing on the EMP Shield technology you can see the result by clicking here!
EMP protection for your home and vehicles can be a simple fix and relatively inexpensive.
We have outlined resources for you to protect against this in our article but remember our closing remarks.
Go as low tech as you can comfortably survive and thrive in.
For more information on survival kits you can click here.
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