Wednesday, May 13, 2009

SHTF: EMP Attack

Last month, everyone was talking about the new book, "One Second After" and for good reason. It is a mainstream publication (not a story on a survivalist forum), was written by an established author with several other respected works and has been touted by famous authority figures (Newt Gingrich, for instance).

"One Second After" follows a single father of two daughters who has to deal with a sudden Electro Magenetic Pulse (EMP) attack on the United States which leaves anything and everything connected to the electrical grid or dependent upon modern electronics dead in the water.

If this were to happen here and now and if you have not researched EMP and its effects, let's take a walk through what might happen.

First, an EMP attack involves a high altitude nuclear detonation over the continental United States, maybe even a number of them. Within seconds, theoretically (we do not know the full potential damages or limitations, it has never happened outside of a test zone), all electronic and printed circuit boards would overload unless they were shielded and grounded.

That means all cars not running, all aircraft, all modern powered systems, all forms of transportation would cease to operate. There are some who believe that an automobile already running may continue to run until the fuel systems ceased delivering fuel correctly - maybe for a few minutes, maybe until the car ran out of gas.

Aircraft without proper shielding would lose power and would fall from the skies or crash at take off/landing. This is the most chilling ituation as thousands of aircraft fall from the skies. Older aircraft would still be airborne, BUT, would not be able to use the air traffic control system. They would quickly have to land wherever it is safe to do so.

Cars would not start. Some older models might be able to (pre-1970's to make it easy for shoppers checking online for an EMP safe vehicle). But those vehicles would find roads and parking lots grid locked. A case where the car runs, but there is no way to go anywhere may quickly develop.

Those cars that are running and shut down would create slow moving catastrophic chain reaction car wrecks in every major city and interstate.

Power would shut down almost immediately. Power stations, transformers and relays would all die and power generation stations would have to shutdown, if they are still running, to avoid power feedback.

Loss of power would mean a lot of things would have no lights and power. But here are some serious implications: incubators, respirators, operating rooms, and other medical equipment. Those on the table may die; those in ICU may as well.

Loss of power means all hospital and health care functions, short of administering medicine would come to an end. Generators may come on with manual assistance, but they will not kick in automatically. Those systems would also go down.

So would traffic lights, air conditioners, the 911 system, computer call centers, credit card processing, automatic doors, scooters, call boxes, and every other electronic based device in the path of the EMP burst.

What would happen first?

A lot of confusion. Most people will stand around and wait for something or someone to do something.. Those with children, older relatives and pets will go at once to their charges. Some will take advantage of the situation. Looting, theft and random acts of crime.

There will be panic, especially as airplanes and cars crash. There will be fear as many will rightfully believe this is terrorist attack and will expect worse soon after.

Most of all, there will be little if any communication. There will be no radio, satellite television, cable or internet. No instant communication which we are accustomed to. If the government, local or federal, manages to put together a broadcast, most of us will never hear it nor know where to tune in as we will have no notice or system of communication.

The government brings up another issue. Much of the military has "hardened" hardware in the event of an EMP burst. There is a good chance different chains of command could be organized and put to use. However, the U.S. military is limited in size and much of it is overseas. There would not be an organized effort directed at every city in the country. Don't expect to see National Guard troops in your neighborhood handing out MRE and water bottles.

Here is something more. With no communications, don't wait wait for some sort of organized plan regarding food and medicine distribution. Many will get emergency supplies (small amounts from under prepared and overwhelmed adhoc efforts) simply because they were in the right place at the right time.

But wait, it gets better. What will happen to the two million prisoners in our city, county, state and federal prisons? With no power or food deliveries, expect them to be released en masse by who ever is left guarding them. Or perhaps they will have already broken out within a few days anyway.

What about law enforcement? There are no working radios or police cars. No dispatch. No 911. Other than randomly walking around (or riding horses or commandeered working vehicles), police will be limited to what they see and hear. And most law enforcement, unable to contact the family, will simply find a way to head home to protect their own.

Within one day, expect chaos in most urban areas simply because nobody in our information driven society will know what is going on.

Within three days expect the deaths and injuries from the initial attack start to overwhelm survivors.

Within a week expect the point of no return, that is, unless some miracle takes place and power is restored. By this time, there will be no running water in the cities. There will be widespread crime and looting. There will be no force sufficient enough to organize any sort of reconstruction or rebuilding.

At this point, the only fortunate ones left will be those who are far enough from large groups of the hungry, sick and dangerous who will begin moving out from their current location to new parts where supplies may be found.

The fortunate will be those who have either sufficient medications for their illnesses and conditions to see them through the crisis or simply are healthy enough to not need regular medications.

The fortunate will be those who have a supply of food, clean drinking water, means of protection (both from bad guys and disaster) and the ability to grow more food in the future.

An EMP attack is probably one of the worse scenarios imaginable. 300 million otherwise healthy twenty-first century people, completely unprepared for life "on their own" cast into the equivalent of the 1800's without warning. Ugly.

You see who will be prepared. An EMP attack could happen tomorrow. Most of us will be caught with our pants down. However, we can make plans to get ready for this sort of disaster along with our normal emergency preparedness plans.

- Store food
- Store water and have a way to get more, clean water.
- Can you grow food? Raise meat?
- Do you have all the normal medicines you need? Do you have extra?
- Do you have a running pre-electronic ignition vehicle? How about a horse or bike?
- Do you have a working tube radio? How about a working short wave radio?
- Do you have at least one firearm and no how to use it? What about ammo?
- Do you trust your neighbors? Do you know them?

Lots to think about.

An EMP attack can happen. The technology is here and those with the motivation are legion on this planet.

Be Prepared For Anything Survival Guide


Anonymous said...

I heard on Bill Bennett's radio program "morning in America" on 4/26/10 that Iran could very well have the weapons necessary right now to create an EMP.

Anonymous said...

Its pathetic our government hasn't done a damn thing to deal with this. It would only cost a hundred million and would save millions of lives. Our govt. is beyond a joke.

Katy said...

" Its pathetic our government hasn't done a damn thing to deal with this. " ---- wrong, the gov't IS doing something about this -- they are increasing their supply of "hardened" electronics. What the gov't has NOT done is started a program to educate the masses on how to survive after the EMP attack. We have to take the initiative on ths and contact our local gov'ts (city council, county commissioner, fema reps, etc) and demand that they begin education and awareness for survival after the fact.

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