EMP-Proofing Myths No One Ever Told You

by Tommy Grant

The modern world relies heavily on electronic devices for communication, critical infrastructure management, and electronic commerce. EMPs threaten all electronics, whether the mobile phone in your pocket or the control room running your county’s electrical grid.

While there is little you can do to protect large infrastructure, you do have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from the consequences of an EMP event.

Many people think we cannot protect our devices without serious resources or don’t see how our efforts could make a difference. In this article, we will look at 10 EMP-proofing myths that will help you make informed decisions about the threat of EMPs.

Aluminum Foil Provides Sufficient Protection

It is well known that aluminum foil can provide a modicum of protection against electromagnetic radiation. However, it is also essential to recognize its limitations when you want it to protect electronics against intense EMP pulses.

The shortcomings of aluminum foil relate to its thickness and limited conductivity. If you want to be sure the devices will continue to work after an intense EMP, instead of aluminium you should wrap them in this EMP-Proof Cloth.

Surge Protectors Offer Adequate Protection

Surge protectors effectively arrest voltage surges through connections to the power grid. These devices will protect your electronics from spikes originating from outside.

There are two different threats to consider here. The first is that the induced voltage spike could be too significant for the surge arrestor to divert the voltage.

Second, EMP will cause a surge in electronics and conductive materials between the surge protector and your device, meaning that your devices will be unprotected from surges induced in the wiring between the surge arrestor and your device.

Turning Off Devices Prevents Damage

EMP-Proofing Myths No One Ever Told YouTurning devices off and disconnecting them from a power source may help to avoid the risk of electrical surges due to EMPs, but it does not guarantee safety.

The EMP will induce a voltage spike internally in the conductive materials, including all electronic devices’ wiring and circuit boards.

While it follows that devices connected to the grid will have more severe voltage spikes, a small induced spike on a circuit board could render a device useless. Once again, the best bet is to house devices in a Faraday cage or an EMP-Proof Cloth.

EMP Bags Provide Complete Protection

EMP bags, also known as Faraday bags, provide low protection against EMPs. They are ideal for storing small electronic devices. However, the material used for construction, proximity, source of electromagnetic radiation, and the strength of the pulse may be too strong for the bag.

If you suspect you may be close to a potential site for a high-intensity strike or have highly critical electronic components, opting for adequately designed and grounded Faraday Cages would be best.

EMP Shielding Paint Protects Electronics

Certain conductive paints provide shielding and protection against EMP fields. Not only are these paint layers thin, but if not properly grounded, they can be easily overwhelmed by high-energy electromagnetic pulses.

I am a big fan of these types of paint, but they should be used as a first layer of defense against EMPs. For instance, paint your roof, ceiling, and walls with this type of paint to provide extra shielding for the room where your Faraday cage is installed.

DIY Faraday Cages Are Sufficient

EMP-Proofing Myths No One Ever Told YouI am a keen DIY enthusiast and don’t like it when DIY projects are knocked. Homemade Faraday cages could provide the same level of protection as their more expensive, professionally designed counterparts. The effectiveness of a Faraday cage depends on proper design, adequate materials, and top-notch construction techniques.

Related: Is the Microwave or the Fridge a Faraday Cage?

Buying a professionally designed and constructed Faraday Cage could be the best if you have critical electronic components. If you still need the financial means but still want to build your own, make sure you use high-quality conductive materials, that there are no gaps for electromagnetic leakage, and that you don’t take any shortcuts from design to creation.

Wrapping Devices in Metal Foil Protects Them

Wrapping devices in metal foil will provide more excellent protection than not wrapping them in anything. High-intensity Electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) could move through thin sheet metals and damage components concealed within.

EMPs have fast-rise time pulses, one characteristic that makes them so devastating. Use metal foils only if you have no other alternative. If you can get it, copper or brass foil should work better than most other metal foils.

EMP Protection Is Only Necessary for Military or Critical Infrastructure

While protecting Military and Critical infrastructure is of the utmost importance, individuals can benefit greatly from taking precautions.

In the event of a severe EMP, authorities might be too busy taking care of large-scale chaos to get around to protecting or helping every civilian. You will be well advised to be in a position to take care of yourself.

Unplugging Devices Prevents Damage

EMP-Proofing Myths No One Ever Told YouUnplugging devices is almost the same as turning them off, with the additional feature that they are no longer connected to the grid.

This will lower the risk from EMPs, but remember that the voltage spike induced in conductive materials can still happen within the devices.

Take all the precautions you can, but remember that the safest option is an EMP-Proof Cloth. It provides 98% military-grade protection against electromagnetic waves.

EMP Protection Is Too Expensive or Complex for Individuals

Large Faraday cages, EMP filters, Surge protectors, and other countermeasures could be costly, but there are small-scale, affordable options for civilians.

Many practical steps exist that will help shield devices; even if your measures are perfect, you could still achieve a high level of protection, and if you are lucky enough not to be close to the source, you could very well be unaffected.

Web forums often contain expert advice, and if you take some time, you should quickly be able to discern good advice from urban legends and uninformed boasting.

How Real Is the Threat?

Back in the day, when nuclear testing was still conducted in the atmosphere, there were quite a few such tests done to measure their impact on electronics. Some of the more notable tests include:

  1. Operation Fishbowl: The United States conducted Operation Fishbowl in the 1960s. Several high-altitude nuclear tests were carried out over the Pacific Ocean. One of the tests, Starfish Prime, involved detonating a nuclear weapon 400 kilometers above the earth’s surface.
  2. Soviet Tests: In the Soviet Union, The K-Project conducted a series of high-altitude nuclear explosions. These tests included multiple detonations at altitudes of hundreds of kilometers.

The First States That Will Go Down During an EMP. Do You Live in the Red Zone?

The findings from these tests provided insights into the effects of high-altitude nuclear explosions and the resulting EMPs. Some of the key findings include:

  • Wide Geographic Coverage: High-altitude nuclear detonations span hundreds or thousands of kilometers.
  • Induced Currents: It was concluded that EMPs induce high-voltage spikes in electrical conductors. This included power and telephone lines back then, but network cables and circuit boards would see the same effects.

EMPs can be potentially devastating. Many commentators downplay the threat, while others overstate the potential damage that can be caused. A few facts remain and should form the basis of informed decision-making.

High-altitude nuclear detonations can cause severe EMPs. These electromagnetic pulses induce voltage spikes in conductive materials, which can damage electronics or electrical devices that are not rated for high-power input.

The last fact is that proper protection, in the form of an EMP-Proof Cloth or a well-grounded, well-designed Faraday Cage, will provide protection against strong EMPs.

The rest is up to you.

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