7 Tips to Prepare Your House for an EMP

If there’s one threat facing the nation today, one that is bound to make even the most die-hard prepper a little queasy, it has to be an EMP. Think about it: in the blink of an eye, the electrical grid could be totally destroyed, all of our electronics damaged or destroyed alongside it, and an entire society plunged into chaos.

a large home in the countryside

This isn’t the stuff of fiction, and it isn’t black magic. EMPs are entirely real, and worst of all, they can be spawned by various natural events or by things as terrible as nuclear weapons and man-made generators.

It’s bad enough to make anyone want to give up, because what hope could you have of protecting yourself and your home from such a thing? As it turns out, it’s possible, but you’ve got to take the right action. Keep reading, and I’ll give you some proven tips for preparing your home for an EMP.

Invest in or Make Faraday Cages for Vital Electronics

Something you’ve probably heard about if you spent any amount of time researching EMP readiness is a Faraday cage.

A Faraday cage is nothing more than some type of container, be it a bag, box, case, canister, or other enclosure that is made out of conductive material, usually some kind of metal mesh or foil.

By placing vulnerable electronics like phones, radios, chargers, GPSs, and so forth inside it, you can actually shield them from the destructive energy of the pulse.

Obviously, this kind of capability is just solid gold for preppers. It’s possible to have devices that still work after an event like this if they were previously protected inside a Faraday cage.

Even better, you can make one yourself from basic materials – even from something as simple as a metal trash can with a metal lid.

Go through your prepping stash and pull out all of your essential electronics; put them inside these cages, and then you know you’ll be able to count on them when the time comes.

Have Backup Power Solutions Ready to Go

With absolutely no question, the first and most spectacular casualty of an EMP event is going to be the power grid. The dangerous, cascading overload that an EMP causes can result in a series of regional blackouts that will leave tens or hundreds of millions of people in the dark for the foreseeable future.

It’s a good idea to plan on going without electricity in the aftermath, but that doesn’t have to be you. If you have a liquid fuel generator or a solar array, you can still power your repaired appliances and your other gadgets that we described above, ones protected by Faraday cages.

The trick is, any personal electrical generators (solar, gas, etc.) will be vulnerable to the effects of an EMP also. You’ll need to have these things stashed and in storage, properly protected, so you can pull them out, set them up, and then put them to work.

Install Whole-House or Service Entrance Surge Protectors

One of the best and, tragically, most chronically overlooked ways to protect your home, meaning the structure itself and anything plugged in inside, from an EMP is to install a surge protector. And no, I’m not talking about those dinky little power strips you have your home entertainment system hooked up to.

There are two main types that you can install on your home or other structure: the first is a whole-house surge protector, and the other is a service entrance surge protector.

A whole-house unit, is exactly what it says, a surge protector installed at the circuit breaker box and will detect and then reroute a sudden, substantial surge of power into the ground before it flows through the wiring in your home. EMP Shield is one popular model that is rapidly growing in popularity.

The other kind of structural surge protection is a service entrance unit. Basically, this is an oversized variety that is more commonly found on commercial structures, apartment buildings, and other large installations.

This is installed before the breaker box rather than after, and it is a more involved and more expensive job. The benefit, though, is that these units are capable of shunting truly humongous power surges before they wreak havoc: a 100kA to 300kA unit should be able to deal with a powerful EMP multiple times before failing.

Both are big investments but well worth it if you’re serious about EMP prep.

Get Fire Extinguishers

This is another overlooked factor of EMP readiness. You might not know this, but the strongest EMPs, precisely the kind we are preparing for, have a tendency to cause fires.

Power lines will spark, light bulbs will burst, anything plugged into an affected electrical grid will overload, melt, and burst into flames. Imagine this happening on a regional or, worryingly, even national scale, and you can see what we’re up against.

But more immediately, all of this might be taking place in and around your home. If it does, there is not one second to waste. You’ll need to grab a good ABC-rated fire extinguisher, and probably more than one, and set to work putting out those small fires before the whole structure catches.

ABCs are rated for solid, liquid and electrical fires and are the overwhelmingly best choice for all residential applications…

Get fire extinguishers, keep them maintained and inspected, and keep them in strategic points of your home.

Make Sure Your Home is Well Grounded

Surge protection only goes so far, and in the case of either whole-house solution discussed above, you’ll need to pair them with good grounding.

Most homes are grounded as a matter of course to help protect them, to a degree, from lightning, but it is well worth the time and money to have an electrician come out to inspect and, hopefully, improve the grounding system.

Considering that an EMP might be really powerful, there could be substantial voltage flowing through a ground wire or rod and into the soil. It needs to be made of appropriate material, sufficiently thick, and maintained if you want to depend on it.

Consider a Ham Radio for Post-Event Comms

Another sad fact you’ll be able to count on in the wake of the event is that cell phone networks are going to be utterly trashed. As reliable as they are in gentler times, they’re simply too intricate and dependent on too many interconnected components and systems to avoid total destruction.

But there is still a way to communicate electronically over long distances, and that is radio. And don’t get upset just yet: I know radios are themselves electronic and inherently vulnerable to EMPs, whether or not they are plugged in. That’s why you have the Faraday cage, remember?

The cool thing about radio is that as soon as you can pull it out, assemble it, and power it up, you’ll be back on the airwaves, and so will everyone else with a radio.

This will likely be the only way to get news about what is going on and where- once people have wrapped their heads around what is happening! With dedicated emergency, first responder, police, and fire department channels, there’s also a chance you’ll be able to get in touch with authorities directly if needed – though the situation will still likely be chaos.

If your friends and family are preppers also, definitely get them on board with radio so you can get in touch ASAP.

Make Sure You Have Survival Supplies on Hand

Lastly, don’t neglect the basics. In the wake of a major EMP, society is going to very literally and figuratively be offline. You need all of the usual survival supplies, from food to water, first aid supplies to medicine, fuel for heat, and more.

And, sadly, you must plan on a long-duration event. Every element of society that we know and depend on will be shattered, and it will be quite a while before it all gets back to normal. Consider a 1-month supply the absolute bare minimum, though 6 months is better.

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