In May of 2014, experts testified before the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies, on what the “catastrophic” effects of an “Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)” would be for Americans.
According to Dr. Peter Pry, a member of the Congressional EMP Commission and executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, an EMP event could wipe out 90 percent of America’s population.
In the article below we are going to take a look at the the first 72 hours after an EMP attack on America and the difference between the 90 percent that could be wiped out and the ten percent that will survive, and why.
WHAT IS AN EMP?
The Heritage Foundation explains “an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack represents one of the greatest threats imaginable—to the United States and the world. An EMP occurs when a nuclear device is detonated high in the atmosphere—a phenomenon of which America’s enemies are well aware. The electromagnetic discharge can permanently disable the electrical systems that run nearly all civilian and military infrastructures. A massive EMP attack on the United States would produce almost unimaginable devastation. Communications would collapse, transportation would halt, and electrical power would simply be non-existent. Not even a global humanitarian effort would be enough to keep hundreds of millions of Americans from death by starvation, exposure, or lack of medicine.”
The bottom line is that Earth would most likely recede into the “new” Dark Ages.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH AFTER AN EMP ATTACK
The difference between life and death after an EMP attack on America can be summed up in one word – Preparedness.
We are talking no power, no food, no banking, no transportation, no radio, television and no Internet…. people completely cut off from the very basics they depend on to survive in the technologically advanced world we live in, and cut off from each other.
Lets look at a conversation between a couple preparing for either an EMP, economic collapse, a natural disaster or any other event that would force them to survive without the basics, who we will call Mary and John in comparison to a non-prepping couple who think people like Mary and John are paranoid, so they haven’t prepared, who we will call Beth and Tim.
DAY ONE – THE FIRST 24 HOURS – ALL SYSTEMS DOWN
In the first 24 hours directly after an EMP attack, people would find they have no power. No transportation because their vehicles electronics were fried. No phone service. No Internet. No access to cash because even if they walked to their bank they would find the systems down and wouldn’t be able to withdraw any cash. Even grocery stores depend on computers to run their cash registers, so getting food would be difficult.
DIALOGUE BETWEEN PREPPERS VS NON-PREPPERS IN THE FIRST DAY
Now imagine the difference in the conversation between a couple who have prepared for the worst in comparison to a couple that didn’t…..
Preppers, Mary and John – Mary: I have been listening on the short wave, it isn’t local, power is out all across the country. Cars won’t start, landlines are out, cells phones are down … they say it is an EMP attack and grids are down all over. John: I’ll get the portable generator hooked up, keep the food in the fridge good. Mary: I’ll grab the flashlights and some extra batteries and a couple cans of Sterno and some extra blankets. John: Then we’ll sit down and list what we need to do, don’t worry, this is what we have been preparing for.
Non-Preppers, Beth and Tim – Beth: We lost electric and the phone isn’t working to report it. Tim: Use the cell. Beth: Cell isn’t working either?!? Tim: I’ll check outside see if it is just us or if the whole street is down [….] Looks like the whole street, I am going to drive up to the store and see if I can use their phone to report it. […] Car won’t start, phones are down, no power…. something is going on. Beth:How do we find out what is happening?? Tim: I don’t know, let me think!
Hours Later – Day One
Preppers – John: Ok, survival food is separated and we should have enough for at least a year probably longer the way we have been stocking up, got the wood stove set up for heat, brought a few gallons of water in… whats the word on the short wave? Mary: EMP.. reports of an explosion in the air and boom, everything died. They are talking of setting up barter and trade locations for people short on some items and that have extra of others. John: We’ll check tomorrow and see if anything is close enough to get to. I’m going to get the weapons cleaned, loaded, some extra ammo… won’t take long for people to start panicking when they realize nothing is coming back online. Mary: Ok, I’ll go get some dinner ready.
Non-Preppers – Tim: Beth I am back… the people down the block are saying it was a terror attack, an electromagnetic pulse which shut down the power grids and fried all electronics. There are no cars on the streets, people are freaking out. Beth: How would they know it was an attack? Tim: Some have short wave radios and are saying people saw an explosion. Beth: Well when are authorities coming to fix everything? Tim: I don’t know…. I don’t know if they are, if they can. Beth: What are we going to do? Tim: We can walk to the store tomorrow, grab whatever we can to hold us over. We’ll leave early, people are saying stores are going to be emptied and won’t be able to get deliveries. They are expecting an increase in crime, food riots, looting. Beth: I’m scared….
Communication – Mary and John prepared by purchasing a shortwave radio so they are able to hear what is going on around the country and now know that all systems are down, while Beth and Tim are limited to being aware of only what is happening in their own neighborhood or are dependent on people like Mary and John to keep them in the loop.
Awareness – Mary and John know that all systems are down because they were prepared, while Beth and Tim discover their phones do not work when they try to call the power company to report an outage, and their car doesn’t work when they decide to drive somewhere to notify the power company because their engines are fried.
Power – Mary and John prepared by purchasing portable manual generators, kept them unplugged until needed, so chances are they would still be able to keep their stock of perishables from going bad. They stocked up on batteries, flashlights so they don’t waste generator fuel or solar capacity. Beth and Tim are stuck in the dark, literally, until they learn from others that did prepare that their power isn’t coming back on….. perhaps for a couple of years at least, as is explained below.
Grid Facts: Via WSJ 2014:
When FirstEnergy Corp. added a new substation in Pennsylvania a couple of years ago, a South Korean factory took about a year to make one of the big transformers, which then traveled by ship for 26 days to Newark, N.J.
There, a crane lifted the 400,000-pound box onto a train to Pennsylvania. At the end of its 7,000-mile journey in 2012, the equipment traveled on a centipede-like contraption with 192 wheels called a crawler, used to keep the heavy transformer from cracking axles or the road.
Total elapsed time from purchase order to delivery: about two years.
Now imagine that on a larger scale with the majority of the nation’s grids being down and needing replacement transformers.
DAY TWO – 48 HOURS ALL SYSTEMS DOWN
While many people are “nine meals from anarchy” meaning they probably have enough in their pantry to survive for three days, with the amount of poverty in the US right now, many will not have food and will be attempting to make their way to the store to begin the process of spending whatever cash they have on them to acquire basic necessities to feed their families. This also includes dealing with long lines as cash registers that are computerized don’t work (half those running them can barely make change without the computer telling how much!)
DIALOGUE BETWEEN PREPPERS VS NON-PREPPERS IN THE SECOND DAY
Preppers – Mary: What are they reporting? John: Reports are coming in from all over, looting has started in some areas all across the country as word is filtering through that it was an EMP attack and that there is no way to know how long it will be before anyone has power again. They say a number of cops just went home and stayed there to protect their families. They are expecting riots to start in some areas as soon as tonight. Mary: We have that extra wood, should we start boarding up the windows? John: Yeah, good idea, this is going to get ugly.
Non-Preppers – Beth: The shelves are almost empty! Tim: Grab whatever you can, whatever you see that won’t go bad. Beth: Look at the lines! Tim: Hurry! Tempers are rising, people are already yelling outside and I want to get home fast. (Walking home) Beth: People are staring our bags. Tim: Don’t make eye contact, just keep walking. Beth: Did you see how many were involved in the fight on the corner back by the street? How can this be happening???? Tim: I saw… and if it is this bad, this soon, I have a bad feeling things are going to get much worse, very fast.
Hours Later – Day Two
Preppers – Mary: Dinner is ready, I cooked up all the meat in the freezer in the wood stove, figured it would stay good longer in the cooler and this way we wouldn’t have to waste the generator capacity by keeping food cold, we can finish this then start using our survival foods. John: Good idea, save the generator for emergency use. Ham operators are reporting rioting has increased all over the country and grocery stores have nothing left. They did mention a few locations where people are going to meet to barter and trade, one of them isn’t far from here, but they are waiting until the worst is over before setting a date. Better to stay in and wait this out. Mary:Yeah, good idea, safer here where we can defend ourselves.
Non-Preppers – Tim: Not a lot of gas left for the grill, then again, not a lot of food in the house to cook on the grill. Beth: Can we use the fireplace to cook what we do have? Tim: Yeah but we have to figure out a way to get more food, the grocery store didn’t have all that much… we definitely don’t have enough here to last more than a week or so. Beth: How did this get so bad, so fast Tim?
Supplies – While our prepared couple Mary and John are going through their supplies and using their short wave radios to find out where other preppers are meeting to barter and trade items, our unprepared couple Beth and Tim walk to the store to begin to prepare for what could possibly be a long wait until they get power back. Finding empty shelves should have been expected, but they never paid attention to those warning to be prepared for anything.
Depending on the neighborhood, looting may have already begun as people start to panic when they do not know if they can feed their families. Beth and Tim find that the shelves for necessities are bare, because most grocery stores have only 72 hours of food on the shelf with ZERO back stock, so they grab what they can carry from what is left by way of non-perishables (which isn’t much at that point), and head home to take stock of what it is they don’t have and might not be able to get at all.
Cooking And Eating – Our prepared couple will have sterno or some other heat source to cook with, will be cooking up their frozen foods and using their perishables, separating out there survival food stock into freeze dried meats, vegetables, entrees and fruits, planning their meals in a manner that makes sure they utilize everything, waste nothing.
Note – Many survival foods, such as the ones we have purchased, have a shelf life of between 20-30 years unopened. Once opened, the shelf life is 1 year, but each packet is four servings so it is guaranteed each packet will be used.
The unprepared couple are eating out of cans or cooking on a grill which 1) Will run out of gas or charcoal shortly and 2) Will be attracting those beginning to get desperate at the thought of a future with no food.
DAY THREE – 72 HOURS ALL SYSTEMS DOWN
By the third day food in the fridge will be going or will have already gone bad, people will be running out of water, and the reality of the situation will be make them increasingly desperate, more violent towards others. With the stores empty some will turn their eyes towards their neighbors, gangs will form to start raiding houses to scavenge for food and water. Riots will be happening in almost all neighborhoods.
DIALOGUE BETWEEN PREPPERS VS NON-PREPPERS IN THE THIRD DAY
Preppers – John: All hell is breaking loose, everywhere. Reports are coming in that bodies are laying in the streets, cops are nowhere to be found, probably home protecting their own families. Fires are out of control…. they say this is happening all across the country. Whole cities are burning. Mary: We expected this could happen, we saw the warnings that civilization would break down fast if this ever happened. John: From this point on we must both have our pistols with a couple extra magazines at the ready. We aren’t leaving the house for any reason and we are not letting anyone in.
Non-Preppers – Beth: Tim, milks gone bad, all the meat in the freezer too. Tim: Throw it out, I am more worried about the smoke smell outside, something is on fire. I made it half way down the street before hearing people fighting, someone screaming and came right back. Beth: Where are the cops? The authorities? The government? They can’t just let this continue! When will they get here? This is a big city, they have to do something!!!!! Tim: I don’t think anyone is coming…….
Hours Later – Day Three
Preppers – Mary: They say downtown is basically gone, burned down. Gangs are going neighborhood to neighborhood, ransacking houses, stealing supplies, raping the women, killing the men. John: We’ll deal with it when they come here, we are ready.
Non-Preppers – Beth: I see strange people on the street going house to house, breaking down the doors, people are screaming Tim!!! What are we going do??? Tim: Hide…………………………………………………………
Home Protection And Defense – While again this is dependent on location, someone prepared will already have home defense capabilities in place to protect themselves, their family, their food, water and supplies, and while many will remain civil and attempt to help those less prepared, there comes a moment when reality sinks in and people that are not starving yet but are in no way prepared for long term survival, understand they will be soon and start to get desperate.
Our prepared couple are ready and understood the need for both the husband and the wife to have firearm training prior to it all going down, are loading their weapons, manually shuttering their windows, strong locks on their doors, and listening closely on their short wave radios to which areas are already seeing a breakdown in civilization as people begin to panic when they realize life as they knew it is over.
Our unprepared couple will have limited weapons to protect themselves and probably very little ammunition if any, and a home most likely so easy to break into a child could do it because of course their home security system no longer functions and there wouldn’t be anyone able to respond if it did.
By day four our preppers have defended their home, their food, their lives…. they were ready, prepared for the worst even while hoping it never came to pass.
By day four our non-preppers were dead.
After day four, preppers planned to band together to begin a mutual defense community as they had previously been in contact with like-minded individuals across town with pre-determined locations set up within walking or biking distance when things simmered down.
The difference between who will live and who will die….. is who prepared and who didn’t.
In 2013, Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy, discussing what a single EMP blast could do, stated ““Within a year of that attack, nine out of 10 Americans would be dead, because we can’t support a population of the present size in urban centers and the like without electricity.”
Preparation is important not just because of an EMP threat, but a number of catastrophic events are in the realm of possibility and even likely to happen where being prepared could mean the difference between life and death.
By Susan Duclos – All News PipeLine