EMP... the Blast that Lasts

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by ISplatU, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. ISplatU

    ISplatU Monkey+

    I know most of you know what an EMP is and prep for it. However, I thought I knew all I needed to know intill I read this email I was sent from a friend.

    This is a good read even if you know it all. It give a step by step "what would happen" if the USA was attacked by an EMP, and what we can do to prep.

    Frank AKA ISplatU



    William R. Forstchen Ph.D.

    Author of "One Second After"


    EMP is shorthand for Electro Magnetic Pulse. It is a
    rather unusual and frightening by-product when a nuclear bomb
    is detonated above the earth's atmosphere. We all know that
    our atmosphere and the magnetic field which surrounds our
    planet is a thin layer which not only keeps us alive, but
    also protects us from dangerous radiation from the sun. On
    a fairly regular basis there are huge solar storms on the
    sun's surface which emit powerful jets of deadly radiation.
    If not for the protective layer of our atmosphere and
    magnetic field, those storms would fry us. At times
    though, the storm is so power that enough disruptive energy
    reaches the earth's surface that it drowns out radio waves
    and even shorts electrical power grids. . .this happened seve
    ral years back in Canada.
    View the detonation of a nuclear bomb, two hundred miles
    straight up as the same thing, but infinitely more powerful
    since it is so close by.
    As the bomb explodes it emits a powerful wave of gamma rays.
    As this energy release hits the upper atmosphere it creates
    a electrical disturbance know as the Compton Effect. The
    intensity is magnified. View it as a small pebble rolling
    down a slope, hitting a larger one, setting that in motion,
    until finally you have an avalanche.
    At the speed of light this disturbance races to the earth
    surface. It is not something you can see or hear, in the
    same way you don't feel the electrical disturbance in the
    atmosphere during20a large solar storm.
    For all electrical systems though, it is deadly.


    Those who might remember ham radio operators, or even the old
    CB radios of the 1970s can recall that if you ran out a wire
    as an antenna you could send and receive a better signal.
    The wire not only transmitted the very faint power of a few
    watts of electricity from your radio, it could receive even
    fainted signals in return. As the Pulse strikes the earths
    surface, with a power that could range up to hundreds of amps
    per square yard, it will not affect you directly, at most
    you'll feel a slight tingling, the s ame as when lightning is
    about to strike close by, and nearly all the energy will just
    be absorbed into the ground and dissipate. The bad news,
    however, is wherever it strikes wires, metal surfaces,
    antennas, power lines it will now travel along those metal
    surfaces (in the same way a lightning bolt will always follow
    the metal of a lightning rod, or the power line into your
    house.) The longer the wire, the more energy is absorbed,
    a high tension wire miles long will absorb tens of thousands
    of amps, and here is where the destruction begins as it slams
    into any delicate electronic circuits, meaning computer
    chips, relays, etc. In that instant, they are overloaded
    by the massive energy surge, short circuit, and fry. Your
    house via electric, phone and cable wires is connected, like
    all the rest of us into the power and communications grids.
    This energy surge will destroy all delicate electronics in
    your home, even as it destroys all the major components all
    the way back to the power company's generators and the phone
    company's main relays. In far less than a milli second the
    entire power grid of the United States , and all that it
    supports will be destroyed.


    This is where the effect of EMP starts to get complex. All
    electricity travels, of course, at the speed of light. The
    circuit breakers that are built into our electrical system or
    the ones you buy to plug your own computer in to, are
    designed to "read' the flow of current. If it suddenly
    exceeds a certain level, the breaker snaps and takes you off
    line, thus protecting everything beyond it. More than a
    few of us have found out that when you buy a cheap surge
    protector for ten or twenty bucks sure it will snap off, but
    the surge has already passed through and fried your expensive
    pla sma television or new computer. Unlike a lightning
    strike, or other power surge, an EMP surge is "front loaded."
    Meaning it doesn't do a build up for a couple of
    mirco-seconds, allowing enough time for the circuit breaker
    to "read" that trouble is on the way and shut down. It
    comes instead like a wall of energy, without any advance wave
    building up as a warning. It therefore slams through nearly
    all commercial and even military surge protectors already in
    place, and is past the "safety barrier" and into the delicate
    electronics before the system has time to react.


    Here is more bad news regarding EMP. =2 0If you own a 1965
    Volkswagen bug or Mustange you're ok. . .there are no solid state
    electronics under the hood, it still has an old fashion carburetor,
    the radio still might even have tubes rather than transistors.
    However, even that is in question. In 1962 both we and the Soviets
    detonated nuclear weapons in space (saber rattling during the Cuban
    Missile Crisis) and it is reported that a number of cars. . .their
    ignition systems a thousand miles away from the detonation were
    fried because of EMP. (Check out a few of the more "tech head"
    links on this site for detailed explanations). From about 1980 on,
    cars increasingly went solid state and by the 1990s were getting
    ever more complex computers installed. Consider a visit to the
    mechanic today. He runs a wire in under the hood, plugs it into his
    computer and within seconds has a full diagnostic, types in what his
    computer is suppose to do, the problem is solved and you are handed
    a rather large bill. Great modern conveniences from airbag
    sensors, to fuel injectors and all of it more and more dependent on
    computers. At the instant the "Pulse" strikes, the body of your
    car and the radio antenna will feed the overload into your vehicle's
    computer and short it out.
    Some police departments are even now experimenting with using a specially
    designed bumper on their car for high speed chases. If they can brush up
    against the car they are pursuing the officer just hits a button, and
    through his bumper a high energy surge will be released, flooding into
    the car being pursued and shorting out its computer system. Result. .
    .whether you are being chased by the police with this new device, or an
    EMP burst has been fired off. . .your car will essentially be a useless
    hunk of metal that will slowly roll to a stop. In that instant, most
    of America will be on foot again.


    This is a terrifying aspect of an attack that no government report
    has publicly discussed along with the potential casualty rate in the
    first seconds after an attack. Commercial airliners today are
    all computer driven. In fact, from lift off to landing, a pilot no
    longer even needs to be in the cockpit, a computer can do all of it
    if need be. When the pilot pulls back on the "stick" it is no
    longer connect by wires stretching all the way back to the tail and
    the elevator assembly. Instead, his motion is read by a computer
    which sends a signal to an electrical servo-motor in the tail, which
    then moves the tail. In short, the entire plane is computer
    driven. It is estimated that at any given moment during regular
    business hours, somewhere between three to four thousand commercial
    airliners are crisscrossing the skies. (There is a fascinating site
    you can find via Goggle that shows typical air traffic around the
    world during a twenty four hour period. From dawn til way after
    dusk, the entire USA is one glowing blob of commercial flights
    crisscrossing our sky). All of them would be doomed, the pilots
    sitting impotent, staring at blank computer screens, pulling on
    controls that no longer respond as the plane finally noses over and
    heads in.
    Somewhere between 250,000 to 500,000 people will die in the first
    few minutes. . .more than all our battle casualties across four
    years of World War II


    The frightening answer is no. This author has spent over four years
    researching this topic, interviewing scores of personnel from
    Congressmen and Generals, to your local police chief and sheriff.
    At your local level, since 9/11, first responders have received
    hundreds of hours of training and briefings on all sorts of terrorist
    scenarios. Only a few have told me that they even discussed the
    topic for more than a few minutes at an official level. As to
    emergency stockpiles of supplies and crucial replacement parts, there
    is nothing in place.

    WHY NOT?

    EMP, has managed to "stealth" its way on to the highly dangerous list
    and few, except for a small number of personnel in the Pentagon,
    various research labs, and men like Congressman Bartlett (R., MD) who
    heads the Congressional Investigative Committee on EMP, are aware of
    it. For one it has a certain "sci-fi" sound to it, which makes
    many dismiss the potential before the discussion has even started.
    Second, the only way to truly evaluate the threat and demonstrate it
    is to detonate a nuclear weapon, something we have not done since the
    full test ban went into effect decades ago. It is therefore not
    "visible" to us, the way another airliner smashing into a skyscraper
    is now forever imprinted on our national psyche, feared, and prepared
    for. Next, with all the competing issues and threats in the world,
    EMP simply does not have a "constituency" of influence. Only a few
    members of Congress, our military and scientific community are
    issuing the warnings. There are no Hollywood stars placing
    themselves in front of cameras with this as their cause, the few
    times it has been used in popular movies, it has been portrayed
    inaccurately, often absurdly.
    And finally, the impact is so overwhelming=2 0that it triggers a
    psychological sense of helplessness, and therefore why bother, since if
    it happens we are finished. It is the same response that happened
    between the 1950s-60s. When first confronted with the threat of a
    nuclear attack, tens of billions was spent to prepare, in fact our
    Interstate Highway system was initiated in the mid 1950s as a national
    defense effort to provide avenues of escape from cities in the event of
    nuclear war, a means to bring in emergency supplies and to move our
    military. Plans were issued to citizens on how to build bomb shelters
    and all children were drilled in what is seen now as the absurd "duck and
    Something happened though by the mid-1960s. The threat was no longer
    fifty to a hundred small atomic bombs dropped from bombers, it was now a
    rain of thousands of hydrogen bombs, delivered within minutes by
    ballistic missiles. In this atmosphere of overkill, attempting to
    prepare seemed ridiculous, futile. The standard phrase became "the
    living will envy the dead," so why bother? Civil defense finally
    became an object of derision, the realm of a few survivalist nut cases.
    That threat is still there, and to this day our nuclear forces stand
    ready to respond, which has indeed been the only defense left. . ."if you
    nuke us, we'll nuke you," a policy known as "mutual assured
    destruction," a zero win game.
    EMP is different, it is not a rain of thousands of bombs, needing a vast
    and powerful military to deliver it, which means Russia and China are the
    only real threats in that realm. . .but unless seized by madness, their
    leaders know such an attack, within minutes would be met with thousands
    of bombs annihilating their country as well. It is a balance of terror
    that has now endured for nearly sixty years.
    An EMP attack is different since it only requires but one
    nuclear weapon, detonated 300 miles above the middle of the
    United States . One bomb. The launch could even be done
    from a container ship somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico and in
    that instant, the war is already over and won.

    An analogy. Aircraft carriers existed in 1941 but few saw
    them as a true strategic threat. Most in the military and
    their civilian leaders saw the role of carriers as platforms
    for launching scout planes, spotting targets, and acting
    always in support of the trusted and proven battleship. No
    one seriously considered the potential of putting half a
    dozen such carriers into one group and launching a full out
    attack in the opening minutes of a war. We all know
    what changed that belief forever, but by then, it was too
    late for the nearly 3,000 Americans who were killed on that
    Day of Infamy. The next Day of Infamy will be infinitely


    Given the hatred and fanaticism of some of our enemies today,
    if they can obtain but one nuclear bomb, the temptation will
    be there. It does not even have to be a nation such as Iran
    or North Korea . . .it could be a terrorist cell who with
    enough money buy the components and then destroy their
    definition of "the great Satan."


    Unless you are in a jet liner, plummeting to earth, or caught
    in a massive traffic jam of stalled vehicles on the
    interstate, you might not even know anything has changed.
    Sure the power is off, but we've all been through that dozens
    of times. You call the power company. But the phone
    doesn't work and that might be slightly more unnerving. You
    might go to your car to drive around and see what happened
    and then it becomes more unnerving when the car does not even
    turn over, nor any other car in your neighborhood.
    Twelve hours later the food in your freezer starts to thaw,
    if it is winter and you don't have a wood stove the frost
    will start to penetrate in to your house, if summer and you
    live in Florida your house will be an oven. And that will
    just be the start.

    Law enforcement will be powerless without radios, cell
    phones, and squad cars, unable to know where there is a
    crisis and how to react. The real horror show within hours
    will be in hospitals and nursing homes. They're required by
    law to have back up generators, but those generators are "hot
    wired" into the building so power can instantly kick in if
    the main system shuts down. That "hot wiring" means the
    Electro Magnetic Pulse will take out the generators and their
    circuitry as well.
    If you are familiar with what happened in New Orleans after
    Katrina, multiply that ten thousand times over to every
    hospital and nursing home in America . Nearly everyone
    dependent on life support equipment in ICUs will be dead
    within hours. Nearly everyone in nursing homes dependent on
    oxygen generators, respirators, etc., will be dead or dying
    while depending on the time of year temperatures within
    plummet or soar.
    As to medical supplies, not just in hospitals but across the
    nation to every local pharmacy, they are all dependent on
    something called Fed Ex. As we have perfected a remarkable
    system of instant delivery, guided by computers, local
    inventories have dropped to be more cost efficient and even
    for reasons of security with controlled substances, which to
    ordinary citizens means pain killers. Supplies will run out
    in a matter of days. Those of us dependent on medications to
    control asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and a host of other
    aliments which a hundred years ago would have killed us
    shortly after the onset. . .will now face death within days
    or weeks, unless the national power grid comes back on line
    quickly and order is restored.


    Here is the bottom line of the entire issue and why the
    threat of a single EMP weapon is so dangerous. There is
    the serious potential that we might never be able to restore
    the system. One might ask why? It just means replacing
    some circuit breakers, pulling out fried chips in our cars
    and replacing them with new ones etc.
    It is not that simple. The infrastructure America has
    developed since the beginnings of the Industrial Age, is now
    so vast, intricate and fragile, that it is like a delicate
    spider web, which if touched by a flame can instantly vanish.
    A few examples to illustrate what might seem an extreme
    The incredibly complex system that creates electricity,
    starting from a hydro-electric dam, a glowing nuclear
    reactor, or coal fired plant, leaps through hundreds of
    circuit breakers, perhaps thousands of miles of wiring,
    across high tension lines to sub stations, and finally to the
    outlet your computer is plug into. This single line will
    now have hundreds of breaks in it, each one having to be
    Any of us who have lived through a major disaster such as a
    hurricane, ice storm, or tornado, and then gone several days
    without power know the sequence, h ow much longer the wait
    seems to be, and then finally the welcome sight of a power
    company repair truck turning on to your block. . .and that
    truck might be from a power company five hundred miles away.
    All our disasters have ultimately been local in nature,
    Andrew in Florida , Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi or
    one this author went through with Ivan in North Carolina .
    The disaster is local, even if fifty thousand square miles
    are affected, help streaming in from neighboring states,
    caravans of power trucks, each carrying not just experienced
    crews, but ladened down with all the replacement parts
    necessary to put electricity and phone service back into your
    house. When Ivan hit my town, dumping 30 inches of rain,
    wiping out the power grid and water supply, in less than
    twelve hours thousands of gallons of bottled water had
    arrived from Charlotte, power companies from Alabama,
    Tennessee and Virginia were arriving, the special parts
    needed to replace my town's shattered water main from the
    reservoir were air lifted in by a national guard unit.
    Consider though if the entire nation is "down." Quite
    simply there are not enough replacement parts in the entire
    nation to even remotely begin the retro-fitting and
    replacement of all components. Every community will be on
    its own, struggling to rebuild. . .on their own.

    Example two. A member of your family has type one
    diabetes and if you do have that in your family you know that
    failure to properly monitor and treat can result in death
    within a matter of weeks at most. Start with the testing
    kit. If it is one of the new electronic digital models,
    changes are a small hand held unit, not plugged into the grid
    will in fact survive. If it is an older kit that still uses
    testing stripes and you are running short of those stripes of
    paper, you already have a problem.
    Where does insulin come from? In an earlier age it was
    literally made from the ground up pancreas of sheep and
    horses. Today it is manufactured via genetically altered
    bacteria and cells. There are several such factories across
    the nation which do this, producing millions of vials a day.
    We are not even going to get into the complexity of where do
    the vials, the rubber seals and such come from. But with
    the shut down of power the factory goes dark and the complex
    environmental controls to insure the proper safety of the
    bacteria "batches" is now off line. Within days it will
    cease to function for that reason alone.
    But it will most likely already be off line. What of the
    workers? Will t he next shift show up when cars no longer
    run? Unlikely. And those on the job? No matter how
    dedicated most must leave within a day to see to their own
    families and chances are not return.
    Of the hundreds of thousands of vials waiting in refrigerated
    containers for shipping, what happens to the coolant? And
    where are the trucks to move it? If the insulin is, in
    fact, already in the "pipeline" so to speak, if aboard a Fed
    Ex plane we already know that tragic fate. If on a highway
    it will be stalled. . .and so on to your local pharmacy where
    the few vials in the current inventory will be snatched up by
    panicked customers within hours and then hoarded away,
    regardless of the need of others. And even then, how will
    you keep the insulin temperature stabilized and when that
    fails, how swiftly does the potency drop?
    But one other factor, the syringes to inject the medicine.
    Any of us over 45 or so can recall the dull terrible
    needles in our doctor's offices. (As a child I recall my
    grandmother boiling my diabetic grandfather's needles.)
    After use they were stuck back into an autoclave (powered by
    electricity) and carefully sterilized. . .and then came the
    disposable syringe. Where does that needle come from.
    Again a long back track to an oil field, to a cracking
    plant, to a factory that, in sterile conditions turns the
    plastic into the barrel of syringe, to a mine where ore is
    turned into steel which is milled at remarkable tolerances
    into a needle point. . .and again shipped and shipped again
    and finally to your house.

    The point of these few examples is that in an age not so long
    ago, nearly all that we needed for our lives was produced
    locally, and then came railroads, which could link a farmer's
    wif e in Nebraska, via a catalog and telegraph to the Sears
    office in Chicago for that new set of dishes or a replacement
    part for a threshing machine. . .to our complex web of today.
    Few of us ever realized that with each advance in
    convenience and the latest new gadget or necessity we took
    another step towards dependence which in a global market
    today means that the chip needed to repair an important
    computer might be made in Japan, and ordered via a sales rep
    at a desk in India, and yet we expect it to arrive within two
    days and see nothing remarkable about that. Globalization
    with all its benefits and woes for some workers here, has
    made us infinitely more dependent on a global network of
    communications and transportation. . .that fragile spider's

    There is the true nightmare of EMP. Once the entire system
    collapses, how and where does anyone build it back when that
    one crucial part you need is in a warehouse in Shanghai or
    Seoul and you don't even have means to even ask for that


    When such numbers were discussed during the height of the
    Cold War, the numbers were indeed real, as they are now with
    the use of but one weapon to create an EMP burst.
    The tragic thing is how we can discuss such numbers now in a
    society where the entire nation went into stunned mourning
    after nearly 4,000 died on 9/11.
    The death of an individual is a tragedy. The death of a
    million a statistic.
    The first few million deaths are tragically obvious. Those
    aboard commercial flights, and even most private flights,
    those in nursing homes, hospices, and hospitals.
    The next few million are obvious as well. Those with
    severe aliments requiring careful daily medication or
    treatment, such as those awaiting transplants, people
    undergoing dialysis, those with severe heart ailments both
    known and not yet realized. We are use to emergency
    response within minutes when we snap open a cell phone and
    call 911. The stress, fear, even the unaccustomed
    physical exertion of someone having to walk ten miles to get
    home will trigger heart attacks, strokes, etc. We are a "hot
    house bred" generation, in fact several generations now.
    Our water supply is carefully controlled and delivered
    instantly and on demand, hundreds of gallons of it a day.
    Our food, wrapped in sanitary packages has expiration dates
    stamped on it. Where will you get drinkable water in a
    city after but several days? Frankly when was the last
    time any of us had to live without a flush toilet and
    anti-bacterial hand wash by the sink? Food that starts to
    thaw, which we were always cautioned to throw out, food in a
    refrigerator that is now at room temperature. . . do you
    throw it out or risk eating it? If your house is fully
    electric how do you cook it properly?
    These few questions alone lead to a clear path straight to an
    entire nation heading into gastro-intestinal aliments within
    a week to ten days at most. Any of us who have traveled
    overseas, especially to third world countries have weathered
    them an d survived. . .thanks in part to modern medications
    once back safe home in the USA . But we are now the third
    world country. Very young children and the elderly can
    die in less than a day from severe dehydration and
    electrolyte imbalance. Without plenty of clean water and
    modern waste removal, the problem gets far worst, especially
    in temporary refugee centers.
    Compound this with the fact that by the end of the week
    millions of Americans will be on the road. . .walking. The
    tragic lawlessness we often see in the wake of a large
    disaster will most certainly explode given that police are
    near powerless to react in an organized manner and national
    guard units will not even be mobilized since how do they
    mobilize if no vehicles run and all communications is still
    Millions, many of them the most vulnerable will make the
    choice of abandoning the cities rather than try and fight to
    find a gallon jug of water or a few cans of soup. Beyond
    this fear, summer or winter many urban dwellings will be
    unlivable. The multi million dollar condo on the 40th floor
    is now a nightmare 400 foot hike straight up, lugging
    whatever water or food you might get. They will be
    unheated, or roasting ovens, designed of course with
    perfection climate control. . .that no longer works. Many
    will be driven, as well by the false hope that relatives out
    in the suburbs or better yet "out in the country" will of
    course have plenty of food and be willing to share.
    Our interstate highways will become nightmare paths of exile
    as our largely urban population tries to fan out to find food
    that once was shipped in.
    Millions could and will die on that road. Where do they
    get safe water? The nearby stream or river is now a dump
    for raw sewage since purification plants are off line.
    Once stricken on the road by the results after drinking this
    water, where does one get help, basic medication, more water
    to keep you hydrated.

    Within a month the next level of die off will be in full
    development. Those who survive the initial onset of
    illnesses from polluted water and food, and survive, will
    nevertheless be weakened, knock down a level. Even if they
    do get lucky and have food stockpiled, or find a source,
    chances are it will not be balanced at all and the first
    onset of nutritional imbalance will lower the immulogical
    system even further.
    Now is the time that more serious diseases will appear.
    Pneumonia, especia lly in the winter due to exposure. More
    exotic and dangerous types of food poisoning such as
    salmonella due to a complete collapse of sanitation.
    Various forms of hepatitis, even diseases not heard of in a
    generation or more. . .measles, scarlet fever, and
    In addition, the number of injuries will have soared. Few
    of us today are truly use to the back breaking kind of manual
    labor of the 19th century. Even most laborers today use
    modern equipment to do 99% of the actual work. Unfamiliar
    with axes, shovels and saws, people will break bones, cut
    themselves, or just suddenly die from strain. And waiting
    now are the infectious diseases where an ordinary cut, once
    treated with a few stitches instead becomes an avenue for
    gangrene, a rusty nail is again a threat of tetanus.
    And finally, violence against ourselves. At what point do
    we begin to kill each other for food, water, shelter? At
    what point does a small town mobilize, barricade itself in
    and make clear that any who enter will be shot because there
    is not enough food to share, and any new stranger might be a
    carrier of yet another disease.

    By sixty days true starvation will be killing off millions
    and by 120 days mass starvation will be the norm. Those
    lucky enough to be in rich farm producing areas, with the
    knowledge of how to gather food by hand, and then preserve
    it, will have a temporary surplus, but even then, if they do
    not ration it out wisely, as did our colonial forefathers,
    they too will starve before the next crop is in the ground
    come spring.

    Months later, yes help from old allies might be flooding in,
    but how to move it, distribute it and at the same time
    provide medical aid and also rebuild the electrical grid,
    step by step will still be overwhelming tasks.

    As said before, "the death of a million is a statistic."
    Our statistic could very well be that in a year's time, nine
    out of ten Americans will be dead. Dead from but one
    weapon, our global position shattered forever as we revert
    back into a third rate power, if we even still survive as a
    united system of states.


    Not a wide eyed sci fi novel or something sensationalistic, or even
    something set long after the event, like the book "The Road." But
    instead it was my goal to write a novel like the classic "Alas
    Babylon," or the more well known "On the Beach." To do something
    that might trigger a response, any kind of response. It was my good
    fortune, while researching for the book that I met Captain Bill
    Sanders of the Navy, one of our country's leading experts on EMP and
    Congressman Bartlett who heads the Congressional committee that issued
    a little known report on the threat of EMP. Both of them provided me
    with valuable information, which I must always emphasize was not
    classified, and encouraged me to get the story "out there."
    I therefore wrote the novel from the perspective of a single
    dad with two daughters, li ving in small town in North
    Carolina . .and what he will do, and finally must do to try
    and keep his daughters alive. And yes, it is very
    autobiographical. I am a single parent of a teenage girl,
    and I live and teach in a small North Carolina mountain town
    that is the actual setting for my story.

    My greatest frustration and something I hope my novel will
    stir is the realization that only a minimal effort, to start,
    could radically cut the number of casualties after such an
    attack, perhaps by a full magnitude from over 250 million
    dead to less then 25 million dead. . .which is still a
    horrific number.

    An off the shelf purchase of hand held two way radi os by
    every local police, fire, sheriff, and emergency response
    department in the country would mean, that if then properly
    stored along with a large stock pile of batteries that within
    minutes after an attack, a nation wide network of
    communications would be back up and running. This can not
    be emphasized enough, that proper communications and what the
    military calls "command and control," will go a long step
    towards maintaining public order.

    Another inexpensive step is just simple training. We are a
    nation that sadly has become entirely dependent on someone
    "up the ladder" passing orders as to what to do. Very few
    of us today are conditioned to think and act independently.
    This has to be reversed in the event of an EMP strike.
    Every first responder should be trained to be able to
    recognize an EMP hit, and in coordination with their local
    departments, have a plan in place as to what to do first, and
    then next, and then after that. This author would recommend
    a first step being the seizing of supplies at every
    veterinarian's office in the country. That might sound
    strange, but vets are most likely the only ones in your
    community that have a full array of surgical equipment,
    anesthesia and pain killers. Armed with this equipment,
    medications seized from pharmacies, dentist offices and
    doctor's offices, and then set up at a local school, staffed
    by local doctors and nurses, would mean that each community
    has made a major step towards tending its injured, ill and
    Other training would be oriented towards how to organize a
    community, locating vehicles that still run, and retro
    fitting those vehicles, that had minimal electronics in them,
    so that law enforcement, medical, and fire control have

    A next step would be public education for all citizens,
    similar to the programs in place during the 1950s. How to
    recognize an EMP strike and then what do you do? After
    Katrina we have learned to now start educating our citizens
    that they must rely upon themselves and their own good
    judgment, and not expect government to come instantly to the
    rescue. Contrast the chaos in the days before Katrina to
    the orderly evacuations when Gustav hit New Orleans this
    But a week's worth of emergency food stockpile and water,
    just recycling used milk and soda bottles, filling them with
    sterile water and storing them away could buy a precious
    week's worth of time, nation wide. A few simple medical
    supplies such a sterile bandages and just a basic family
    first aid manual. Simple things even our grandparents,
    still living on farms knew, about how to insure water is
    safe, where to put a privy pit, and properly store any food
    that might last long term. If a family member has a serious
    il lness or condition keep a full level of medicine on hand
    and not wait until the bottle is empty before refilling.
    This alone could be a life saver for millions, buying extra
    weeks or a month or two.
    Above all else educate to a post EMP survival. To turn to
    community organization, to help and rely on neighbors and not
    some distant agency, to have a plan in place to help local
    nursing homes with the elderly, to have an entire community,
    be it a neighborhood in a city, or a small town in the
    Midwest, ready to take care of itself and insure public
    safety and law while the nation gradually stitches itself
    back together.

    Ironically these were plans already put into place across
    America of the 1940s and 1950s, this author can recall
    receiving civil defense booklets at school to take home to my
    parents and my father was the local civil defense coordinator
    for our neighborhood just outside of New York City . We
    took the threat seriously and we acted as Americans, to
    prepare, with the memories of WWII still fresh in our minds.
    This preparedness fell away. . . it should be restored.

    The next step, which will cost more, will be crucial as well.
    The analogy is simple. We all know that America 's
    industrial might literally saved the world from Nazism and
    Japanese Imperialism once we got into the war. But that
    industrial might did not appear overnight. It took over two
    and a half years of build up after Pearl Harbor before we
    went fully on to the offensive with D-Day in Europe and the
    push towards the Ja panese main islands in the Pacific.
    What truly saved us though was not the effort after Pearl
    Harbor but the effort BEFORE Pearl Harbor . We did not
    want to fight, we were about the most reluctant nation on
    earth in 1940 when it came to getting into the war. . .but we
    did have the wisdom to start the build up then. . .building
    factories, training millions to work in them and millions
    more to learn how to fight. If we had not done that in the
    two years prior to Pearl Harbor nearly any historian will
    tell you. . .we would have lost World War II.

    In this post industrial age power is no longer steel plants,
    mills, factories and yet more factories. It is now
    precision electronics, communications, computers. . . and the
    heart blood of all that is electrical power.
    Congress has estimated that a full retro fit to our power grid to
    withstand a large scale EMP strike could cost up to half a trillion
    dollars. . .and the chances of that bill ever passing is remote to say
    the least.
    And yet, there is another path at a fraction of the cost.
    Stockpiling of key components overseas. Any major
    component being manufactured today for our electrical grid,
    that could be destroyed by an EMP strike, we should make but
    one more of each and then store those components at military
    bases overseas. Within hours of a hit on the continental
    United States , military aircraft outside the strike zone can
    be lifting that precious cargo back to the mainland and the
    rebuilding can begin.
    Of late, our nation's railroads have launched an advertising
    campaign which is actually true, that in terms of tons per
    mile, our railroads are still the most effective means of
    moving goods. For an investment not much more than the
    cost of a couple of B-2 bombers, or a squadron of F-22s,
    several hundred diesel electric locomotives could be pulled
    off line, their components harden to withstand an EMP strike,
    then parked inside silos and bunkers at military bases across
    the country. Within hours after an EMP strike these
    powerful machines could already be at work. It will be
    laborious at first, for every other train in the country will
    have stalled on the lines. They have to be shunted off the
    main lines, switches reset by hand. . .but once cleared, a
    single train could move ten thousand tons of food to a
    stricken city and on the return run, evacuate thousands to
    where the food is out in the countryside, or back to military
    bases. Within weeks a nationwide transportation grid
    could be up and running again. . .yet another factor that
    will reduce fatalities even more.

    A further step would indeed be a logical stockpiling of
    crucial medical equipment and supplies, especially
    medications with long shelf lives or can be frozen while in
    storage overseas or in underground facilities.

    The final step in training and preparation. . .our own
    military. The power generation capacity aboard a modern
    aircraft carrier can supply a medium size city, a destroyer
    or frigate a large town. Attention should be focused on
    training our military, especially our Navy whose overseas
    forces and ships would be unaffected by a strike on the
    continental United States to return to save America .
    Within a few weeks both coasts, studded with several hundred
    ships could become focal points for rebuilding, as
    replacement components, food and medicine are moved in via
    ships, loaded aboard trains and distributed into the heart

    It is a war. It is a war in which we will take casualties
    undreamed of in our worst nightmares. . .but it can be
    survivable if we act and prepare now.


    An editor of Aviation Week and Space Technology, after
    reading this author's novel declared. "It is not a
    question of if it will happen. . .it is merely a question of

    Across six thousand years of recorded history mankind has
    known war. Across six thousand years humanity has tended
    to focus its best minds on the technology of war, to speak
    bluntly how to better kill our neighbors. Never has a
    weapon been invented that it has not ultimately been used.
    And ironically so many "new" weapons, when first revealed are
    declared to be so horrible as to render war unthinkable.
    And all have ultimately been used.
    Given the fanaticisms of some of our enemies today, some of
    whom believe that the creation of the Apocalypse will be
    their own fulfillment of a religious destiny, it would be
    madness not to think that such an attack within the next two
    decades is not just possible but in fact likely.

    It is time to think about what to do, and how to prepare
    before it happens. Reacting the day after the next "Day of
    Infamy,"or "One Second After," it will be too late.

    William R. Forstchen
    Author of "One Second After"

    Copyright William R. Forstchen, 2008.


    Any who are reading this who live along the Southern coast or
    in "Tornado Alley," already know the basics.

    Every American should consider doing the same in case we are ever hit by
    an EMP attack.

    Safe water and food are your starting point. If you already buy
    bottled water, save the bottles and recycle them. Simple enough, just
    refill with filtered water, seal, and put in the basement or a closet so
    that you have at least a week's worth on hand, though the more you have
    stockpiled the better off you are. Canned food is great, just remember
    to check expiration dates, I tend to buy an extra few cans of soup etc.
    now whenever I am in the market. If you have friends who are Mormons,
    ask them, they're the experts on what to buy and how to safely store it!
    Do not use recycled milk containers, unless you sterilize them,
    otherwise you'll have problems.

    The longer you stock pile for, the better off you will be, though even a
    week or two of supplies could be crucial. Again, this is something
    anyone in a hurricane, earthquake, or tornado zone is already aware of.

    You can also reference numerous websites for survival packages. Just be
    aware that much of it is overpriced and with a little research and effort
    you can make your own at a fraction of the cost.

    Medication. The usual first aid kit supplies for common
    injuries. Infection and infectious diseases which the day
    before an EMP were trivial concerns now could be deadly.
    Downloading from your computer NOW and learning basic
    survival treatment skills is essential. There are numerous
    websites devoted to what I would call the "Boy Scout Level"
    of First Aid training we should all be familiar with.
    For any of us on necessary medications, the collapse of a
    national infrastructure could mean that you might be cut off
    for weeks at absolute best, most likely far longer, maybe
    If you have life threatening concerns, NEVER let your med
    supply drop down to only a day or two before refilling. If
    there is a way for you to safely and legally have a supply of
    several months on hand of crucial medication, do so now. It
    just might buy the time needed for survival.

    Climate survival. This is a tough one. I live in a rural
    community, have the wood stove and wood supply in place and
    extra propane tanks for cooking. I realize that is
    impossible for most, especially in urban environments.
    Safety is a key thing here with heat sources such as kerosene
    space heaters. Study up on it before preparing. A darn
    good investment is Coleman or propane fueled lamps, along
    with candles and old fashion kerosene lamps. The more on
    hand, the better.

    Other survival needs. Sanitation produces from anti
    bacterial soap, to knowing how to set up a portable toilet
    with household items, to, embarrassing as it might be for
    this guy to talk about, feminine products. . . (you don't
    want to be facing some of the issues your great grandmothers
    dealt with, including possible infections). Again, the more
    you stockpile the better.

    You are on your own. . .for weeks, maybe months. Those
    of you living in Louisiana , Mississippi and coastal Texas
    know what I mean. Don't count on the government to come to
    your rescue in a post EMP America. Consider yourself on
    your own from "one second after," the event. Those who
    realize that now have the greatest chance of survival.

    Personal Security. This is a tough one to discuss. In
    1999 I kinda chuckled at some friends who were convinced Y2K
    was going to wipe us out and I think were slightly
    disappointed when it did not. I am not some right wing gun
    fanatic who sees conspiracies lurking round every corner, but
    I do take personal security seriously. This is a personal
    choice you will have to make on your own, I can't advise
    other than to say this:
    There is a percentage of our population who will view a post EMP world as
    a paradise, where their system of survival, their personal greed, their
    willingness to use any means possible to survive will come to the fore.
    Yes, it is a plot point of the novel, but it is also a harsh reality.
    There are places in this world, at this very moment, where someone would
    kill you for a can of food. Someday, that could be America .
    If you do not own a gun but should decide to do so now, please get the
    proper training. I was fortunate in that my father was a firearms
    instructor during WWII and my training from him was the best, a training
    I have passed on to my daughter. Always remember the valid statistics
    that a weapon in your house is an increased danger to you and your
    family, especially without proper training of all family members and not
    just yourself, but on the other side, it might be the crucial factor of
    survival in a post EMP world. If you are unfamiliar with firearms but
    decide to purchase one, talk to the experts, you will find your local
    police are great guys to point you in the proper and safe direction. I
    have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. I know that in some areas
    you can not obtain that. If you can, the training to get the permit is
    superb and again crucial to your own safety and that of your family and
    does insure that your having a loaded weapon on you is legal.
    If you live in a community or on a street where neighbors
    know and trust each other, do not hesitate to talk about
    "what if this happens? What do we do?" A few hours
    conversation before hand might be the crucial difference
    between your living and dying. Who on your street
    understands personal security and can offer solid advice?
    Who is the person who is the gifted "tinker" who might get
    some things running again? Who has special needs that others
    can help out with? Who can you trust? And sadly, who can
    you not trust? It is better to know now rather than later.
    A street or neighborhood plan can make all the difference
    in who lives and who dies.

    Personal Health. Do your own personal assessment now.
    Realize you will be living in a world without automobiles,
    without electricity, without infrastructure or any kind of
    immediate medical aid. Are you fit enough to survive? If
    not, take a serious look at this for your own sake and that
    of your family. Friends of mine who read this will shake
    their heads because I am in a constant struggle against
    smoking. Could I walk ten miles hauling a twenty pound sack
    of rice? Frankly I have to get my act together as should
    all of us.

    Plan as a Family. Think about how far you commute every
    day. How far away is your child's school? It might be
    daunting when you realize it. If we are hit by an EMP, you
    might have to walk home. How does your child get home? Do
    you have an elderly parent living close by? How do you
    pull your family unit back together and then survive. Talk
    about it now and lay out plans. . . ."I will walk from my
    office and pick up our youngest at her elementary school on
    the way back, while you go to grandma's place and get ready
    to move her. . ." is crucial now, rather than trying to
    figure it out when all communications are down. Most of
    all, everyone should be able to recognize, IMMEDIATELY, if we
    have been hit by an EMP. The signs are obvious. Power
    goes off, but beyond that nearly all cars will no longer
    start, your cellular service is dead, there is a complete
    blackout. Know the signs and react. He who reacts swiftly
    and logically stands a far better chance of survival then
    those who will wait for "them" or "the government" to sort it
    This might seem off the wall but I'm a dog person. OK, I
    even lean towards PETA on some issues. In a harsh post EMP
    world, your dog might help you survive, it is a point in the
    novel that when writing it, struck me one night. While
    doing the first draft of the book my yellow lab came out and
    assumed his usual spot. . .curled up by my feet and I
    suddenly realized. . ."what happens to him?" How will he
    and my other dogs survive? Keeping several months of food
    for them on hand might save you from a very horrible choice.
    If nothing else on this page motivates you, but a love of
    your pet or companion hits close to home and starts you
    thinking about the broader issues here, then let it.

    Communications. A simple thing called a "Faraday Cage" is
    nearly a fool proof protector of electronics from an EMP.
    You can find the plans on line and purchase the material to
    make one for just a few dollars from any hardware store.
    Make sure it is properly grounded. If you then buy a
    couple of simple hand held two way radios, plus a good short
    wave radio and place them inside the Faraday Cage (make sure
    they rest on a non conductive surface such as a ceramic bowl)
    they will survive even the worst EMP hit. In your family
    survival kit be certain you have plenty of batteries to
    support them since you might be relying on these things for
    months. You now have communications with your family, or
    neighbors and news from the outside world.
    If you are one of those types who is a "handy-person" think
    further. You have an emergency generator. Don't plug it
    in to your home because the "surge" will blow it out.
    Instead, disassemble any delicate components and put them in
    the Faraday cage. If a regular emergency such as power
    failure due to a storm happens, you can always pull them out,
    reinstall and you'll have power anyhow. In the event of an
    EMP, that generator might be a life saver. What about an
    old moped, or even extra parts for an old car? The few
    real life experiences of EMP, dating from nuclear tests in
    1962 showed that even then, car ignition systems burned out.
    If you know how to repair these components, get the parts
    now and just store them away. You might be the only person
    driving in your community the day after we are hit.


    So far, the national government reaction in relationship to
    EMP is abysmal. One of the few shining lights is Congressman
    Roscoe Bartlett (Republican- Frederick , MD ), who headed up
    a Congressional Committee on EMP. He too believes this is
    our number one threat. If you read this and agree, send an
    email letting him know of your appreciation and support, no
    matter where you live. Check out his testimony on line by
    just simply going into Thomas.gov Then contact your
    own Congressional representative. In some ways government
    is very simple. . .the squeaking wheel gets the oil. Right
    now, concern about EMP has no "constituency." You and I
    could name a hundred "causes" which on a daily basis get
    national attention and national funding, and which pose a
    threat to only a very few in our society as compared to over
    300 million Americans. If over a span of several months a
    local Congressional representative starts getting letters,
    emails and phone calls saying "hey I'm concerned about the
    threat of EMP, you should talk to Roscoe Bartlett," believe
    me, they really do check. Remember they need your votes
    come 2010. All Congressman Bartlett needs is the support of
    a couple of dozen Congressmen and women from both sides of
    the aisle and his hope to get this issue off center, and out
    of committee, and into the reality of planning and funding on
    a national level will happen.

    Talk Radio. What a powerful vehicle for getting out the
    message. I know because I hosted my own show for a couple
    of years. My radio show was once a week and just a fun show
    about history. It amazed me how sometimes months later I'd
    be talking to someone in a store and a stranger would come
    up, ask if I was "the history guy," and then want to talk
    about some issue I had raised. Nearly every community has
    a well known talk show host. Call in. Talk about this
    issue and voice your concern. Chances are your host might
    not know about it, but your voice will be heard. This is
    not some advertising on my part but tell them to read my book
    and darn it, the hell with the royalties, get it out of the
    library if need be or find it in a used book store. Tell
    folks to go on line, get to this site, then go to the links
    and study up on the subject. Your one call might trigger
    dozens more and in the end, action.

    Local Action. In researching for this book it would have
    been impossible to pull it together without the help of a lot
    of people. The scene in the novel set in the nursing home
    came out of direct experience when my community was hit by a
    hurricane, my father was in a nursing home and I was asked to
    come in and help out because most of the nurses could not get
    in due to the storm. In fact that night was one of the
    major triggers for this novel, because I knew help in terms
    of emergency water, medical supplies etc., were on their way
    thanks to the fact that a great local talk show host stayed
    on the air all night giving us updates. But I did wonder. .
    .suppose this had been an EMP instead and no outside help
    with water, food, and medications would be here for weeks,
    months, maybe never?
    I've interviewed a number of local law enforcement officials
    for this book. A couple were caught off guard by the topic
    and I had to bring them up to speed. Several though, the
    moment I mentioned EMP all but grabbed me, ready to exclaim
    "thank God someone else is thinking about this," and the
    conversation would then go on for hours, both of us
    expressing our worst fears. In the book I acknowledge Jack
    Staggs, my local police chief. My hat is off to him again,
    he is a guy who on a local level is already thinking about
    EMP and planning for it.
    If you know a local police official, first responder, your
    mayor, whomever, talk with them. You might be surprised
    that they too are deeply concerned. They will tell you, and
    this is frightening, that there has been almost zero
    preparation and training for this kind of threat. Hundreds
    upon hundreds of hours of training and funding have been
    allocated on your local level since 9/11 on the "standard"
    scenarios of terrorist hitting a local school, a chemical or
    bio attack, a "dirty bomb" even a suitcase nuclear device
    being detonated, but nothing on EMP.
    If local officials know that their citizens are concerned,
    they will definitely respond. A minimal investment of a few
    thousand dollars at a local level could prepare your first
    responders with communications equipment properly stock piled
    in EMP proof storage areas, an operational plan as to what to
    do in those crucial first hours after an attack, and how
    every "first responder" should recognize an EMP strike and
    then how to report in and start organizing your community to

    There is a lot more than can be said on this topic. This is
    only cracking the door open for you to think, talk, and even
    reply on this site if you should wish to. In closing
    consider this story from history. At around 7:00 AM on the
    morning of December 7, 1941 , a new technology, radar, was
    being used atop a mountain peak on the northern tip of the
    island of Oahu . The two men manning the radar unit started
    to pick up a huge inbound "blip." Their shift was just
    about over, it was a Sunday morning, a day on the beach
    beckoned but they decided to call in to headquarters with a
    report. The officer in charge there. . .well God save and
    forgive him. . . he shrugged and told them not to worry about
    it, it was most likely some of our own planes anyhow, so
    close up their unit and call it a day. They did as ordered.
    Fifty minutes of warning time was lost. How different
    history might have been if that officer had reacted, said the
    hell with "channels" and called for a full alert.
    Consider this moment, right now as you read this. Is it
    7:00 AM on the morning of December 7th yet again? If you
    should decide to go to alert now, rather than wait for others
    to do so. . .what might that mean for you, your family and
    neighbors, your community. . .and our nation?
  2. Detentus

    Detentus Monkey+

    I read One Second After. Fascinating book and it had me enthralled from the first page. A frightful scenario and one which we are prepared for: as best we can be.

    I just read in a local paper that our town hall, PD and fire station was struck by lightening this past weekend. All emergency services were cut off for a period of a few hours. Computers were destroyed and dispatch could not contact EMS. They are now investigating what calls may have come in during that time as well as exploring purchasing lightening rods for the affected bldgs.
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