Last week, I showed you how to protect critical electronics from an EMP attack by building your own Faraday cage out of a trash can.
Over the weekend, I was snowed in by an avalanche of emails from folks who want to know more.
And two questions in particular were on everybody’s lips.
Today, I’m going to put those queries to bed.
Question #1: Will there be an advance warning of an EMP attack? Will I have time to get my iPad into the Faraday cage?
Depending on the type of missile, we might have some advance warning of an attack.
Let’s say North Korea launched one of their clunky ICBMs at us. We have eyes on the region 24/7 and their missile tech is pretty unsophisticated.
We’d know a missile was on the way almost immediately.
Depending on where they were aiming (West or East coast), we’d have 20–45 minutes to prepare before the blast.
Having said that, we probably wouldn’t be able to tell if the missile were going to be an EMP attack or a regular nuclear strike until after it exploded.
On the other hand, if the blow were delivered by one of Russia’s new supernukes — which Putin unveiled at his state of the nation address last week — we wouldn’t be able to detect the missile until it was already too late.
All that said, if the U.S. were hit by an EMP attack, your iPad would be the last thing you’d need to worry about.
Firstly, all the telecommunication antennas would be fried. You wouldn’t be able to make calls… or access the internet… and you could forget about Facebook or Netflix.
We’re talking about a total societal collapse here.
The nation’s leading experts on EMP attacks estimate that 90% of Americans would be dead within the decade from starvation and disease.
Life as we know it would be changed forever — and your priorities would shift dramatically.
I know a lot of folks love their iPads… and when you store most of your photos on it, it can have great sentimental value…
But you want to fill your Faraday cage with critical electronics that will help you survive after the collapse… or things that can be bartered for goods and services.
Besides, even if you manage to seal away your iPad or smartphone, they’re enormous energy-suckers. You’d only waste what little energy you’d have trying to keep them charged.
There are a few old-school digital items in the next section that will fill the entertainment void left by your iPad. But they are a lot more energy efficient and affordable (who wants to buy an $800 device and lock it away in a trash can?).
That brings us to your second-most asked question…
Question #2: What do I actually put in my Faraday cage?
When considering what you should store in your Faraday cage, my recommendations can be broken up into three categories…
Two-way handheld radios. Handheld radios don’t depend on cell towers or any other sort of external systems to work. They’re vital for communicating securely with your group.
CB Radio. CB radios have a longer range than a set of handheld radios. With multiple CBs you can set up a line of communication between outposts. Even if you just have one, you can make contact with like-minded folks who were also prepared.
AM/FM radio. If any regions were somehow unaffected by the attack… or if they were able to get some system of electricity up and running… you could pick up any information they broadcast with a simple battery-powered radio.
Solar chargers. With the grid down, you’ll need alternative methods to charge your batteries and devices. Some solar chargers available on Amazon come with USB attachments — which will be needed for charging some of the devices on this list.
Batteries. There’s a small chance that certain battery types may be naturally resistant to an EMP. But right now there’s insufficient research to prove this one way or the other. You’re going to need batteries anyway so you might as well store them in your cage, just in case.
LED flashlights. Old-fashioned incandescent-bulb flashlights aren’t at risk. But modern LED flashlights are vulnerable to EMPs. It’s also a good idea to store some solar-powered flashlights and lamps. You can trade these to folks with no batteries for food and other essential items.
Kindle pre-loaded with reading material. You can buy a secondhand Kindle online for as low as $30. Download as many books as you can — including survival books, DIY books, books on farming and any other information that will be priceless after the collapse.
Cheap MP3 player filled with songs. Ten years ago, MP3 players were all the rage — and they had a price tag to match. But these days, smartphones with built-in players have made them practically obsolete. This means you can snap up a brand-new 16GB MP3 player on Amazon for just $20.
Portable DVD player with screen. If you can’t imagine life without movies, then this is going to be an essential part of keeping your morale up. The physical DVDs and CDs won’t be affected by an EMP but the equipment required to play them is at risk.
A digital camera, thumb drive and solar-powered photo frame. If you’re dead-set on saving your photos, back them up on a thumb drive and stick it in your Faraday cage. With a solar-powered photo frame you can display digital images easily without draining resources. You can use the camera to create new photos documenting your survival experience.
Note: These items should be a well-guarded secret. All of them will be ultra-rare after the collapse and there’s no telling what folks will do to get their hands on them.
All the best,
Editor, Money & Crisis
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