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EMP Resistant Vehicles ?





jwellsy
What kind of vehicles would be resistant to the Electromagnetic Pulse from from a nuclear blast?

Of course bicycles would still work.

I dought if points and condensors would be affected, so most riding lawn mowers should work.

Electronic ignition control modules might be effected, that would disable 80's and newer vehicles.

Old Harleys and dirt bikes would probably still run.

Can you think of any new vehicles or motorcycles that would not be disabled by an EMP?
Indi
Any vehicle can be made EMP resistant. Just encase anything sensitive in a Faraday cage.
jwellsy
That sounds nice in theory.

There are so many electrical systems on modern vehicles that may be impossible.

Ignition control systems,
ABS systems,
digital dashboards,
security systems,
remote starters,
chips embedded into ignition keys

Are all sensitive to EMP's.
Indi
It's hardly theoretical. ^_^; Your car is already safe, you know.

Many military vehicles are already "hardened" - yes, planes included - and most of them simply by default. Many government buildings are also shielded. It doesn't take much, you know.

In fact, your car is probably already a Faraday cage. Your car is probably already safe.

If you're worried about any electrical equipment being taken out by an EMP, just wrap it in aluminium foil. Simple as that. Wrap your PC or laptop in aluminium. It's safe now. Doesn't take much. ^_^;

The EMP generated by a typical nuke isn't that big a deal. Dedicated EM bombs are more of a concern, but they're also harder to talk about without knowing details like the frequency of the EM radiation released.

But even in a worst case scenario... don't panic. ^_^; You know what piece of secret technology will save just about anything from EMP damage? A fuse. ^_^; Yeah. That's all it takes.
Bikerman
Just a quick observation;
Top Gear (a UK motoring show) ran a test on a modern car where they subjected it to 'lightning' strikes using high-voltage kit in a controlled situation. Whilst not directly comparible with a nuclear EMP it is interesting to note that the car suffered absolutely no damage to any systems.
Indi
Bikerman wrote:
Just a quick observation;
Top Gear (a UK motoring show) ran a test on a modern car where they subjected it to 'lightning' strikes using high-voltage kit in a controlled situation. Whilst not directly comparible with a nuclear EMP it is interesting to note that the car suffered absolutely no damage to any systems.

(The US DoD has also tested modern cars under EMP conditions, under concerns about the level of damage that would result from an EMP attack. All the cars were fine. The only reason i didn't quote this fact is because i don't know how sophisticated the cars they tested were - did they have traction control, GPS, i don't know - and because i didn't feel inclined to look up the evidence when it's so obvious theoretically.)
Flarkis
The chances that another nuclear blast going of in a populated are are next to none in my opinion. What we can be afraid of is an EMP bomb or something along that lines. But even then those are highly theoretical and even if a government has made one its top sceret. On top of that if an EMP does hit an area it doesnt realy matter what survies the population of that area will go into complete chaos.

Thats my 2 cents,
Markus
Indi
Flarkis wrote:
The chances that another nuclear blast going of in a populated are are next to none in my opinion. What we can be afraid of is an EMP bomb or something along that lines. But even then those are highly theoretical and even if a government has made one its top sceret. On top of that if an EMP does hit an area it doesnt realy matter what survies the population of that area will go into complete chaos.

Thats my 2 cents,
Markus

Well, populations can and do degenerate into complete chaos at the drop of the proverbial hat - any time something completely unfamiliar happens. But would the result of an EMP event be completely unfamiliar? i dunno, but i doubt it. What they would experience would be appear on the surface to be a blackout, more or less. Do people usually riot during blackouts? Not in my neighbourhood.

It's very likely that only when the power comes back on will people realize that it's more than just your average blackout, and only then if there is any notable data loss. i would imagine that no critical data loss would have happened - people's social security numbers and whatnot would still be valid and stored somewhere in hardened systems.

The real concern from an EMP attack is really all about the aftermath. A powerful enough (high-frequency) EMP would cause enormous damage to the power transmission infrastructure. In plain English, it would blow the hell out of the big electricity distribution stations. No power is no big deal for a few hours, and even the massive blackout we had a couple years back that went on for a few days wasn't that big a deal, but no power for the weeks or months it would take to repair all of the power distribution stations... that could be a problem. Food might become scarce because anything that needs refrigeration... poof... and water probably won't be available either (tap water, of course - bottled water would likely be plentiful). But if the authorities can manage to organize the situation even marginally well, it shouldn't be that big a deal. A massive natural disaster (flood, hurricane, whatever) would be far tougher to get through than the aftermath of a massive EMP.

i don't really know if anything specific prompted this concern, because to my knowledge, even though this topic is hot in the national defence circles, it's only lukewarm at best anywhere else (and i don't know of any recent movies that use it as a plot device). It's not really surprising that the national defence people are wringing their hands over the issue... these guys lose sleep at night if there's a chance that the mail will be an hour late, that's a "major crisis" to them - that's just the way they are, and good on them for being so diligent. Pulling off an EMP attack is really easy to do, and it would be really inconveniencing. And if our major infrastructure were hardened against EMPs, that would be a Good Thing! It would also be a good thing if consumer electronics manufacturers would take the issue to heart and design EMP-safe devices. But even without any of that, an EMP would not spell the end of civilization, nor would it spell widespread doom and suffering.

Incidentally, these devices are not "theoretical", nor are they the least bit top secret. You can probably learn how to make one on Google. North Korea probably has the capability already, at least in theory if not an actual device, and i've read that there is a serious concern that Iran is actively researching such a weapon. If you were an enemy of the US, and you wanted some kind of weapon that you could use to give yourself some kind of protection against them, an EMP weapon is the way to go.
lothre
There is a government division who is charged with the sole task of evaluating the societal and governmental impact of an EMP attack on the United States of America. Congress was scheduled to vote on a new division to retrofit our under protected military tech and governmental communications systems for EMP threats in mid sept 2001. You can guess why the vote was pushed aside and forgotten early sept of that year. Some estimates put our military at only 15% - 20% EMP protected.

While a direct Nuclear strike is unlikely, the threat of a nuclear device detonated in high atmosphere over the USA has been determined to be one of the greatest threats in the future as far as devastating way of life in the USA. This can be done easier than most people realize. It creates the 'Compton Effect' which would be a blanket line of site from the detonation point of the nuclear blast, creating a high EMP pulse which would render pretty much any technology made after the 1960's useless for a couple thousand miles in every direction. unless of course said technology were protected for example by a Faraday cage.

The examples given in this thread so far, as to the reactions the general masses would have in the faceof an EMP strike seem G rated compared to what most experts have calculated. One of the top Military researchers into EMP threats to America wrote a decent fictional account of what could be expected if such an attack occurred. 'One Second After' A fairly entertaining read but also a good eye opener.

While the book does have some unrealistic points, far more of the book than less of it is pretty spot on as far as what people could expect.

Chaos swooped down on New Orleans in just under 3 days, and mind you most people there still had communications and knew that the rest of America was fine. When people have no way of contacting loved ones or authorities fear quickly sets in, spreads and grows.

Perhaps I am an alarmist. But preparing ones self and family costs much less than what most spend on auto and home owners insurance for things that rarely happen. And the risk of losing those material things pales in comparison to what millions stand to lose if an EMP were to occur over a large populated area.
ocalhoun
The simplest way to have an EMP-proof vehicle is to simply have a vehicle with little or no electronics.
Horses, bicycles, pre-electronic cars... all naturally EMP-proof.
My '67 ford, for example would easily survive an EMP, it may possibly lose its radio or lights in an extremely strong one, but the important parts would still work.

If you want an EMP-proof vehicle with all the modern electronic conveniences, this is also possible, you just have to encase all electronic components within Faraday cages. Doing that may be expensive and/or tedious, but it is possible.
jwellsy
I already have a grounding rod sunk to ground my generator frame and casing. I'm thinking that lining my generator shed interior with chicken or rabbit wire fencing may be some cheap insurance since grounding the cage would be so easy. Then I could use the protected shed to store backup electronics like AM/FM/Shortwave/Ham equipment and sensitive auto repair parts. The best case scenario would be for it to be a total waste of time and money.

How sensitive do you think solar photovoltaic panels and the associated diodes/controllers are to an EMP?
Indi
You know, it's really not that big a deal. ^_^; i'm not speaking hypothetically either. Obviously i haven't experienced an EMP event, but in 2003, there was a massive blackout to all of southern Ontario. But... no big deal. Seriously. i got stuck in Brampton for hours... i killed time by directing traffic for a while. i even got free ice cream on the way home because Dairy Queen was giving it away because it was melting. There were no riots. No panic. It really wasn't that big a deal.

In the event of a major EMP strike, think about it... what really are you going to lose? Seriously, think about it without freaking out. Your computers and cell phones might be fried, so there'd be some data loss, but... really? Are we back to anarchy over the loss of your porn stash? Really? ^_^;

Seriously, just take a step back and have a cool head here. In the event of a major EMP strike, assuming it wasn't followed up by actual war, the power would be back up in a day or two - a week, tops. (Naturally in a limited way at first, likely with brownouts and rolling blackouts, but still.) In the meantime, you probly have enough food in your house right now that you can get by for a week on it no problem. Comfortably even. And, very likely your local supermarkets would be giving away food from their coolers, too - so you may even eat better than you normally do. And there would be emergency services volunteers cruising around just to check on things if you really need help. It's really not something you need to start thinking about building a bunker and learning how to catch and cook squirrel for, geez. Obviously, you can do some things to make it even less of an inconvenience, like having a separate hardened file server in your home network to store backups on, but even without that, you're really not going to lose anything but a week of your time until the crisis begins to abate.

Like i said, i obviously haven't experienced an EMP incident, but i have lived through hurricanes, earthquakes and one of the biggest blackouts in history. Even after a major hurricane in a third world country... it really wasn't that bad, people - and that was far worse damage than an EMP attack, i promise you. You guys have such a low opinion of humanity; it baffles me. The reality is that in a major crisis, it's a struggle, sure, but it's not like how they spoof it on The Simpsons where, the second power flicks out, everyone starts screaming, smashing store windows and burning things. Even in New Orleans - a lot of the chaos was actually caused by the stupidity and mismanagement of the emergency response people, who, in several case, actually shot at people who were trying to organize and feed large groups of isolated survivors. They also blocked the movement of supplies around. Yes, yes, chaos can happen, but in reality it rarely does. And when it doesn't seem like a major catastrophe (and, an EMP attack will seem to be a big blackout, which is not that big a deal), there's not even any panic. The reality is that when there's a real crisis, we're not that bad a species. Obviously there are bad elements, but, by and large, when there's a real crisis, we just slog through it until it passes.
ocalhoun
jwellsy wrote:
I already have a grounding rod sunk to ground my generator frame and casing. I'm thinking that lining my generator shed interior with chicken or rabbit wire fencing may be some cheap insurance since grounding the cage would be so easy.

A wire cage does not protect against wavelengths shorter than twice the width of the holes.
The smaller the holes, the broader the protection. Solid sheets are ideal in that they block everything.
Aluminum foil is better protection than wire screens, provided you join the seams well.
Multiple layers of conductor-insulator-conductor-insulator, et cetera are more effective than thick single layers.
Quote:
Then I could use the protected shed to store backup electronics like AM/FM/Shortwave/Ham equipment and sensitive auto repair parts. The best case scenario would be for it to be a total waste of time and money.

Storing this stuff in individual metal containers may be much easier, and just as effective.
Far more effective if you bury them.
Quote:

How sensitive do you think solar photovoltaic panels and the associated diodes/controllers are to an EMP?

Very sensitive, unless their casing provides shielding.

Indi wrote:
You know, it's really not that big a deal. ^_^; i'm not speaking hypothetically either. Obviously i haven't experienced an EMP event, but in 2003, there was a massive blackout to all of southern Ontario. But... no big deal. Seriously. i got stuck in Brampton for hours... i killed time by directing traffic for a while. i even got free ice cream on the way home because Dairy Queen was giving it away because it was melting. There were no riots. No panic. It really wasn't that big a deal.

In the event of a major EMP strike, think about it... what really are you going to lose? Seriously, think about it without freaking out. Your computers and cell phones might be fried, so there'd be some data loss, but... really? Are we back to anarchy over the loss of your porn stash? Really? ^_^;

If power is lost in a major city for an extended period of time, it would be a major disaster.
At first, you only lose electricity, no big deal.
However, all the utilities are operated on electricity, so when the backup batteries and generators fail, you're going to have problems.
Water supplies stop pumping causing thirst, sewer pumps stop pumping and sewer backs up, causing disease, cell phone towers and land-line phone stations stop working, which combined with widespread lack of internet, TV, and radio, leads to an uninformed and scared population, gas pumps stop pumping, which means delivering supplies or evacuating will be difficult...
Once people are no longer able to get the necessities like clean water or food, they begin to get desperate; they loot because they have to in order to survive, and order breaks down.
Without order, without sewer, and without trash pickup, diseases can spread easily.
Without water and without deliveries to grocery stores, thirst and starvation become pressing issues.
In hotter areas, people could suffer heat-related injuries and deaths from staying in buildings that were not designed to ventilate without electricity.
In colder areas, people could freeze to death from lack of heat availability; even most oil or propane systems still require electricity for distribution of fuel and heat.

So yeah, it could become a major disaster if it lasted long enough.
A power grid failure for more than a week or two could bring any modern city to its knees, and a nation-wide or world-wide grid failure would be even worse, because there would be reduced or no aid being sent in from outside.
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
Indi wrote:
You know, it's really not that big a deal. ^_^; i'm not speaking hypothetically either. Obviously i haven't experienced an EMP event, but in 2003, there was a massive blackout to all of southern Ontario. But... no big deal. Seriously. i got stuck in Brampton for hours... i killed time by directing traffic for a while. i even got free ice cream on the way home because Dairy Queen was giving it away because it was melting. There were no riots. No panic. It really wasn't that big a deal.

In the event of a major EMP strike, think about it... what really are you going to lose? Seriously, think about it without freaking out. Your computers and cell phones might be fried, so there'd be some data loss, but... really? Are we back to anarchy over the loss of your porn stash? Really? ^_^;

If power is lost in a major city for an extended period of time, it would be a major disaster.
At first, you only lose electricity, no big deal.
However, all the utilities are operated on electricity, so when the backup batteries and generators fail, you're going to have problems.
Water supplies stop pumping causing thirst, sewer pumps stop pumping and sewer backs up, causing disease, cell phone towers and land-line phone stations stop working, which combined with widespread lack of internet, TV, and radio, leads to an uninformed and scared population, gas pumps stop pumping, which means delivering supplies or evacuating will be difficult...
Once people are no longer able to get the necessities like clean water or food, they begin to get desperate; they loot because they have to in order to survive, and order breaks down.
Without order, without sewer, and without trash pickup, diseases can spread easily.
Without water and without deliveries to grocery stores, thirst and starvation become pressing issues.
In hotter areas, people could suffer heat-related injuries and deaths from staying in buildings that were not designed to ventilate without electricity.
In colder areas, people could freeze to death from lack of heat availability; even most oil or propane systems still require electricity for distribution of fuel and heat.

So yeah, it could become a major disaster if it lasted long enough.
A power grid failure for more than a week or two could bring any modern city to its knees, and a nation-wide or world-wide grid failure would be even worse, because there would be reduced or no aid being sent in from outside.

See, this is what i mean when i try to impress that it really isn't that big a deal. Everything here is just sheer runaway panic. i mean you're looking for death and suffering like it's a fetish. Case in point, look at the first sentence of your response... then look at the first couple of sentences in my post that you neglected to quote: Seriously, just take a step back and have a cool head here. In the event of a major EMP strike, assuming it wasn't followed up by actual war, the power would be back up in a day or two - a week, tops.

See that? All of a sudden, your "extended period of time" evaporates. And the result? No starvation. No drowning in our own filth. No reversion to barbarism.

i mean, seriously, man, take a step back and think. Do you really, really believe that a society would fall apart to the point that people are living in their disease infested garbage... just from losing electricity?!?!

Take a step back and think. Unless an entire country is bathed in EMP radiation... then is it really plausible that a city that loses its grid really is going to be left to fall into a post-apocalyptic hellscape? i mean, if New York gets pasted with an EMP attack... you really think the folks in Albany are going to leave the New Yorkers to starve, riot and fester in garbage?!?! (And if the EMP attack is nationwide... dude, unless you're somewhere like North Korea, you have allies.)

Here's a reality check. When a third world country gets plastered by a hurricane, it can get its power back up in 48 hours - i've seen this first-hand more than once. And that's not just transformers getting fried by lightning strikes, that's also entire power poles ripped out of the ground. A third world country can repair its power grid - including literally going out in trucks and replanting poles and reconnecting power lines - in 48 hours. (Obviously not completely, but they connect the major distribution net in that time.) How fast do you think, say, New York could get their power grid back up... if the only real damage is blown transformers and control systems... and replacement parts are a half-hour drive away (as opposed to a 4 hour flight)? Think about it.

i don't know what more to say than that virtually every single point you've listed is ridiculous. i mean:
  • "... when the backup batteries and generators fail..."... excuse me? Dude, generators usually last years. A quality generator can easy run for decades. i've used generators older than my father. How long do you think it'll take them to repair the grid? ^_^;
  • "... Water supplies stop pumping causing thirst..." Dude, any modern city could survive for weeks on just the bottled waters and juices sitting around right now. Not to mention that... you know, this may shock you... cities have emergency contingency plans already for water shortages. (Usually they involve using fire trucks and/or requisitioned tanker trucks as mobile water delivery systems. Look! Even if the nearest clean water source is a day's drive... that's really no problem.)
  • "... sewer pumps stop pumping and sewer backs up..." What?!? How stupid do you think people are? You don't think they'll maybe realize to stop using the toilets when the stuff doesn't go down the hole? You don't think people will be smart enough and resourceful enough to coordinate some port-a-potties and a means to keep them relatively hygienic?
And so on and so forth.

Honestly, people aren't that stupid. In fact, they can be pretty resourceful when pressed. And, quite frankly, the mere loss of electric power for even a couple of weeks isn't that much of a press. Yes, yes, yes, thing's will be a little tough for a while, but people have quietly lived through far, far, far, far worse disasters in cities than an EMP. Dude, the Blitz!!! People lived through that just fine! You know, cities do already have contingency plans for most major disasters, and while they may not have a plan for EMPs specifically, the EMP itself is no big deal (as evidenced by the fact that you had to drive your hypothetical population into starvation in order to get any real nasty effects).

What i'm seeing here is just naked hysteria - all reasoned thinking is just gone out the window. i see talk of shielded shortwave stations... what the hell for? Who the hell do you think you're going to talk to, and what are you going to say? Unless you already have your radio operator's licence and some experience using it, then by the time you figure it out the crisis will probably already be over. (Either that or you'll have wasted a chunk of your battery power or fuel reserves while figuring it out. i mean, come on, you can't just pull a shortwave transceiver out of a box and be online - you need to set up antennas and stuff, too. And even then, you don't just turn it on, dial a station and start chatting. You have to find other people who are useful (and not just as clueless, isolated and blind as you are in the crisis), and that you can (relatively) trust for good information.) i see talk of populations degenerating into disease-ridden barbarism... really? You really think that if a city was getting that bad, that people wouldn't just... i dunno... leave?!?! They'd head for the country, or wherever they heard their chances are best. Bear in mind, too, that in most cases, a population won't even know what happened until the crisis is passed - like i said, i was in that big blackout where all of Southern Ontario lost power, and we just assumed it was a normal blackout until we started to get wind of how widespread it was, and even then we never assumed EMP.

Seriously, stop, step back and think about it - without an intention to find a way to make some chaos out of the situation. EMP hits, power grid is ruined... what happens next? Do we start razing and pillaging? Or, maybe, do the city's emergency response services kick into action? Maybe, perhaps, those generators and transformers are already being looked at by experts an hour or two after the strike? And an hour later major repairs are already being coordinated? More likely than not, by the end of the day, most of the grid is already back up (and, bear in mind, in a real crisis, there won't be big industries and commercial use of energy, so maybe only a fifth of the regular energy capacity is needed). i'll even grant you that if the strike is nation-wide, it might take an extra couple of days (to ship in parts and supplies from outside the country). Think we'll be drowning in our filth and looting for survival by then? i seriously doubt it.
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:
Seriously, just take a step back and have a cool head here. In the event of a major EMP strike, assuming it wasn't followed up by actual war, the power would be back up in a day or two - a week, tops.

[...]

Here's a reality check. When a third world country gets plastered by a hurricane, it can get its power back up in 48 hours

Well, I've seen firsthand a hurricane cause loss of power for up to a month. -- In the US.
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i mean, seriously, man, take a step back and think. Do you really, really believe that a society would fall apart to the point that people are living in their disease infested garbage... just from losing electricity?!?!

I think they would be living in their disease infested garbage pretty quickly if the services that took that garbage away stopped.
Quote:

Take a step back and think. Unless an entire country is bathed in EMP radiation... then is it really plausible that a city that loses its grid really is going to be left to fall into a post-apocalyptic hellscape? i mean, if New York gets pasted with an EMP attack... you really think the folks in Albany are going to leave the New Yorkers to starve, riot and fester in garbage?!?! (And if the EMP attack is nationwide... dude, unless you're somewhere like North Korea, you have allies.)

I do admit, this type of situation is only really likely in a national or at least regional outage, otherwise help can easily come in.
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if the only real damage is blown transformers and control systems... and replacement parts are a half-hour drive away (as opposed to a 4 hour flight)? Think about it.

The difficulty in restoring it is the sheer number of replacement parts needed. I doubt there are enough spares readily at hand to replace a large percentage of them all at once.
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i don't know what more to say than that virtually every single point you've listed is ridiculous. i mean:
"... when the backup batteries and generators fail..."... excuse me? Dude, generators usually last years. A quality generator can easy run for decades. i've used generators older than my father. How long do you think it'll take them to repair the grid? ^_^;

By 'generators fail', I mean 'run out of gas'. Even quality generators don't have enough fuel for decades.
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[*]"... Water supplies stop pumping causing thirst..." Dude, any modern city could survive for weeks on just the bottled waters and juices sitting around right now. Not to mention that... you know, this may shock you... cities have emergency contingency plans already for water shortages. (Usually they involve using fire trucks and/or requisitioned tanker trucks as mobile water delivery systems. Look! Even if the nearest clean water source is a day's drive... that's really no problem.)

Perhaps they do have good emergency plans, but I'd bet their water shortage plans don't also have contingencies for lack of electricity, fuel shortage, and/or clogged roads.

As for the bottled water, stores in a city need shipments daily -- in some cases several times a day -- to keep those in stock under normal conditions. (By keeping in-stock inventory low, they increase profits.)
If deliveries stopped, I'd expect to see most store shelves looking very bare within days.
How long those stocks would last once in the hands of individuals is anybody's guess, but not very long, I'd wager.
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"... sewer pumps stop pumping and sewer backs up..." What?!? How stupid do you think people are? You don't think they'll maybe realize to stop using the toilets when the stuff doesn't go down the hole? You don't think people will be smart enough and resourceful enough to coordinate some port-a-potties and a means to keep them relatively hygienic?[/list]And so on and so forth.

Really, I don't think that most people would be smart enough to coordinate any hygienic waste disposal. Most people would use whatever comes to hand when toilets stop working, and be unaware of the health concerns caused by many people doing this in a small area.

Hell, I can't think of any good way to dispose of wastes in a densely populated urban area for a length of time either... At least without access to chemicals, transportation, or working plumbing.
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Honestly, people aren't that stupid. In fact, they can be pretty resourceful when pressed.

Some can be pretty resourceful, some can be pretty stupid.
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What i'm seeing here is just naked hysteria - all reasoned thinking is just gone out the window. i see talk of shielded shortwave stations... what the hell for? Who the hell do you think you're going to talk to, and what are you going to say? Unless you already have your radio operator's licence and some experience using it, then by the time you figure it out the crisis will probably already be over. (Either that or you'll have wasted a chunk of your battery power or fuel reserves while figuring it out. i mean, come on, you can't just pull a shortwave transceiver out of a box and be online - you need to set up antennas and stuff, too. And even then, you don't just turn it on, dial a station and start chatting. You have to find other people who are useful (and not just as clueless, isolated and blind as you are in the crisis), and that you can (relatively) trust for good information.)

I do agree that a shortwave radio as an emergency supply is a little silly.
For all the trouble of having it and knowing how to use it and protecting it, the most important information you're likely to get from it is knowing how widespread the problem is. -- It would be a good way to find out if it is just a local or a nation-wide problem, but besides that, its use is very limited.
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i see talk of populations degenerating into disease-ridden barbarism... really? You really think that if a city was getting that bad, that people wouldn't just... i dunno... leave?!?!

That may be more difficult than it sounds. Roads are likely to be very clogged, and may grind completely to a standstill given a few wrecks or breakdowns in the wrong places. As an added difficulty, some city dwellers don't have transportation -- a problem cited in the evacuation of New Orleans before Katrina.
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that in most cases, a population won't even know what happened until the crisis is passed - like i said, i was in that big blackout where all of Southern Ontario lost power, and we just assumed it was a normal blackout until we started to get wind of how widespread it was, and even then we never assumed EMP.

That can be a downside as well; when people don't know what's going on, they are more likely to choose an unhelpful course of action. Out of panic, perhaps, but more simply because they don't have the information available to make good choices.
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Seriously, stop, step back and think about it - without an intention to find a way to make some chaos out of the situation. EMP hits, power grid is ruined... what happens next? Do we start razing and pillaging? Or, maybe, do the city's emergency response services kick into action? Maybe, perhaps, those generators and transformers are already being looked at by experts an hour or two after the strike? And an hour later major repairs are already being coordinated? More likely than not, by the end of the day, most of the grid is already back up (and, bear in mind, in a real crisis, there won't be big industries and commercial use of energy, so maybe only a fifth of the regular energy capacity is needed). i'll even grant you that if the strike is nation-wide, it might take an extra couple of days (to ship in parts and supplies from outside the country). Think we'll be drowning in our filth and looting for survival by then? i seriously doubt it.

I think your estimate of restoring a power grid nation-wide in a few days is wildly optimistic, for one thing.
For one city, maybe, it depends on the size of spare parts inventories in the surrounding area. But for the whole country?
Are there even that many spare parts in existence, or are you planning on them setting up factories to build the parts needed within days?



Now, I will say,
-This is an unlikely, worst-case scenario.
-Having some EMP shielded electronics wouldn't help much in that case anyway.
-Having an EMP-proof vehicle would only really help if you had the sense to leave the city before things got bad.
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
Well, I've seen firsthand a hurricane cause loss of power for up to a month. -- In the US.

Check again. Whenever there is a long delay in reconnecting power, there is almost always another factor in play.

Are you talking about the case in Kentucky in 2009? That was only 2-3 weeks, and the statements are misleading because while it is true that power was not fully restored by then... over 98% of it was restored by the end of the first week (and, again, that's not just a simple power failure, there were ice storms at the time hampering the process).

Maybe Illinois, 2008? Again, 2 weeks, again most people were back up in days, and again, storms where hampering the process.

2007 Texas? That was a week and a half, and again, ice storms.

Or Hurricane Wilma, in Florida, 2005? Two weeks. Again, that's two weeks to full recovery - the vast majority were reconnected in hours.

Or maybe you mean Katrina. Katrina caused power outages in at least a half-dozen states - Florida (on its initial approach), Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and, of course, Louisiana - affecting literally millions of people. And yes, some were without power for weeks and weeks. But - and you should have seen this coming - take a closer look. Again, the vast majority of people had their power back in a week. What about the others - a couple hundred thousand people (if that) were without power for several weeks... why? Because, again, there were other factors. When an area has been flooded as badly as parts of Louisiana and Alabama were, you can't just flick the power back on. You have to make sure that they're not still flooded, first, or you'll just short the whole thing out again. That took time. Power could have been switched back on with a week - two, max - of the greatest natural disaster in US history... and it was in most places, except for the heavily flooded areas, and only then because the had to make sure they weren't still flooded.

The most recent example i could find was Illinois, last month. 850,000 people lost power on 11 July during a windstorm. As the news put it, it took them a week to get the power back up - but that's misleading. The reality is that 99.94% of the people were reconnected before that.

Of course, unlike all of these examples, an EMP attack will not necessarily be coupled with such severe weather and infrastructure damage. The only thing destroyed will be the transformers and control systems; that happens often, during surges or lightning strikes, and power is usually restored in an hour or two. Therefore, like most power outages, including several that have spread across several states and even countries, it can be repaired in a matter of days, tops.

So, after an EMP attack, 90+% of people will have power within a day or two. The rest, a week, maybe. i think society will make it.

ocalhoun wrote:
I think they would be living in their disease infested garbage pretty quickly if the services that took that garbage away stopped.

Again, reality disagrees. Disruptions to trash services happen all the time. In 2009, the entire city of Toronto and surrounding area was hit with a garbage strike that lasted a month. A month. During a heat wave.

What's that? Didn't hear about Toronto degrading into a cesspool of disease in 2009? That's because it didn't happen. Mind you, it wasn't pleasant. And, famously, Google happened to be on the prowl at the time. Not our best moment, certainly. But, hardly a disaster.

That's nothing. Windsor (another city in Ontario) had a 15 week garbage strike! Guess what. No festering outbreak of filth and disease. (Just lots and lots of illegal dumping in city parks.)

Again, you're not thinking. You're so desperate to find a disaster in this, that you're ignoring the obvious. Why would the services that take away garbage stop because of an EMP attack? Because the trucks won't start? You really think they couldn't get that fixed in a couple days? Especially if it were a priority (ie, if it were really true that not taking out the trash for a couple weeks would result in festering disease)? But again, even if the trucks won't start at all for weeks, do we really produce enough trash to drown in that fast? Come on, man. My house produces one bag every two weeks on average (not counting recycling - which is plastic and cardboard, and hence, not a disease hazard). And, granted, i'm not typical, but i just took out the garbage and looked up and down my block; this was a full garbage day (we only have these once a month or so), including large pickup (ex, old furniture, and there was some out there), yet i estimate it would take 2-3 months of garbage at this level just to fill up my driveway with garbage. And during a shortage, there will be far less trash produced than the usual. Where is all this garbage we're going to drown in coming from?

ocalhoun wrote:
Quote:

if the only real damage is blown transformers and control systems... and replacement parts are a half-hour drive away (as opposed to a 4 hour flight)? Think about it.

The difficulty in restoring it is the sheer number of replacement parts needed. I doubt there are enough spares readily at hand to replace a large percentage of them all at once.

Oh, you do? Because, of course, a city with an emergency response plan wouldn't think to have spares on hand for an emergency. i mean, right?

No, again, the reality is that there are plenty of spares sitting around, all ready to go... and, in fact, they get used regularly! Most power failures last only a few hours - max - because they have spare parts sitting right there ready (and in fact, by remarkable coincidence, we had one this past weekend - total downtime: less than 30 minutes; the comedy special i was watching was still running when the power came back up). Seriously, why would they not have spares sitting around ready? You think power grids never break down? Or that, when they do, city officials aren't under a lot of pressure to get them back up as quickly as possible?

ocalhoun wrote:
By 'generators fail', I mean 'run out of gas'. Even quality generators don't have enough fuel for decades.

And exactly why does an EMP event make the gas go away? If you've got enough fuel to run your generator for a month before the EMP attack, you've got enough gas to run it for a month after the EMP attack. If you have enough gas to run your generator for the duration of the crisis in the event of a hurricane, assuming average response times, you'll be more than fine for an EMP event.

ocalhoun wrote:
Perhaps they do have good emergency plans, but I'd bet their water shortage plans don't also have contingencies for lack of electricity, fuel shortage, and/or clogged roads.

Yeah? How much you wanna bet? (Spoiler alert: my father worked for the City of Mississauga for many years when i was younger - he was working for the city during the 1979 mass evacuation - the largest peacetime evacuation in North America before Katrina.) Dude, these people planned for nuclear war, alright? 'sauga's emergency plans included scenarios were Toronto was hit by a nuke. Come on. Granted, those plans are probably a little out of date now, and admittedly they probably didn't specifically include EMP events, but still, it's a pretty safe bet that among the emergency response plans your municipal officials pay thousands and thousands of dollars to prepare are at least a couple on prolonged power loss. Do you really think these people are that incompetent?

Look, here's the 2011 emergency response plan overview for my city. It's reviewed every year, and tested every year. Note the vast range of general emergency categories. Note that one of the officials is the "Burlington Hydro Representative" (for those not in the know, in Ontario, we refer to power as "hydro" because so much of it used to be hydroelectrically generated (now it's mostly nuclear)). Note that their specific job includes "restoring interrupted services" and "providing alternate utilities" (they will have their own, more specific emergency response plans, for how to do those things). Note also that the plan calls for getting in touch with "Ontario Hydro" (the provincial power authority). These people are not sleeping at their desks; they're doing their jobs.

ocalhoun wrote:
As for the bottled water, stores in a city need shipments daily -- in some cases several times a day -- to keep those in stock under normal conditions. (By keeping in-stock inventory low, they increase profits.)

No, that's a lie. i worked for 2 different supermarkets (technically 4: Dominion->Metro and Price Chopper->Freshco) and a big box retailer. Water came in once or twice a month, under normal circumstances, roughly (varying, of course, between summer and winter). When there was a sale on, a truck full of water only would come in at the start of the sale, and we'd take a bunch of palettes (how much depends on the size of the store - the small store would take ~10, the big box retailer took >30) and store them. (And yes, we did store them. Yes, it was not ideal to store stuff, because any inventory not on the floor was just costing money, but there's another factor: when the store can buy sale price, it can save a ton if it can buy huge bulk and then sell what doesn't go in the sale at regular price later.)

Other liquids that don't require refrigeration (anything from Gatorade to bottled apple juice) come in less than once a month, on average, and even then it's usually just a small order to top up a facing that's only half-empty.

And, again, you're missing the bigger picture. Any given supermarket or whatever usually has a massive distribution centre with stockpiles of the stuff - that's where the daily deliveries come from. If the stores run out, they'll just get another load from the centre (or, direct people to the centre), keep track of what they give away, and bill the government later.

ocalhoun wrote:
Really, I don't think that most people would be smart enough to coordinate any hygienic waste disposal. Most people would use whatever comes to hand when toilets stop working, and be unaware of the health concerns caused by many people doing this in a small area.

My goodness, you really do think people are, on average, functionally retarded. As in, able to function by training and rote despite not having the intellectual capacity to understand why they're doing what they're doing. Do you really believe that most people aren't aware that poop is dirty? -_- Or that if the waste isn't getting disposed of, it will pile up and stink? Come on. Most people are so freaked out by germs that they won't even touch the inside of a toilet bowl without thick rubber gloves.

ocalhoun wrote:
Hell, I can't think of any good way to dispose of wastes in a densely populated urban area for a length of time either... At least without access to chemicals, transportation, or working plumbing.

And again, pointing out the obvious: why wouldn't they have access to chemicals, transportation or working plumbing? How does an EMP cause the breakdown of the chemical composition of nitrates? i'll even give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that after a whole month, there is still zero power restored, and zero working vehicles, with no end in sight. In this situation, you see people drowning in their own filth. By contrast, i see people having slapped together makeshift carts, who have set up porta-potties all over the city, requisitioned manual well pumps from hardware stores and the required chemicals from the local water authorities... and they're doing just fine. i can't even begin to estimate how long they will be able to get by like this; after they've exhausted the stockpiles used by the water authority, they will raid stores for more, then they will start using MacGuyvered solutions (like potassium nitrate or just chlorine). Sure, the average person probably won't come up with this solution... but in every 10,000 people, there is sure to be one sewage worker or chemical engineer or someone who will come up with solutions - in fact, there will probably be a few dozen of them.

ocalhoun wrote:
Quote:
i see talk of populations degenerating into disease-ridden barbarism... really? You really think that if a city was getting that bad, that people wouldn't just... i dunno... leave?!?!

That may be more difficult than it sounds. Roads are likely to be very clogged, and may grind completely to a standstill given a few wrecks or breakdowns in the wrong places. As an added difficulty, some city dwellers don't have transportation -- a problem cited in the evacuation of New Orleans before Katrina.

This is another failure to grasp the problem properly. After an EMP... are vehicles working or are they not? If they aren't, then whence come the clogging of roads? If they are, then things really aren't that bad after all, because garbage pickup will still work, water can be delivered easily, sewage can be handled in proper sewage trucks, etc. You see? Clogged roads is a situation that will never come up.

ocalhoun wrote:
Quote:
that in most cases, a population won't even know what happened until the crisis is passed - like i said, i was in that big blackout where all of Southern Ontario lost power, and we just assumed it was a normal blackout until we started to get wind of how widespread it was, and even then we never assumed EMP.

That can be a downside as well; when people don't know what's going on, they are more likely to choose an unhelpful course of action. Out of panic, perhaps, but more simply because they don't have the information available to make good choices.

But why would they panic? This is yet another failure to grasp the problem. Either they are aware of what has happened, or they are not. If they are, then there is obviously some form of communications network up and running, even if it's only runners going door to door - so vital information can be distributed, and people can be told what to do. If they are not, then... it's a blackout; who panics in a blackout, really?

ocalhoun wrote:
I think your estimate of restoring a power grid nation-wide in a few days is wildly optimistic, for one thing.
For one city, maybe, it depends on the size of spare parts inventories in the surrounding area. But for the whole country?
Are there even that many spare parts in existence, or are you planning on them setting up factories to build the parts needed within days?

You're failing to see the picture again. You don't need to hook up the grid nation-wide (in fact, that would be foolish - you'd be inviting a cascade failure). You just need to repair your local grid... which you already have people trained to do, along with your own emergency supplies... and wait for your nearest power-station to come back online (and they, too, have emergency contingency plans to get back up and running in hours). Reconnecting the national grid can come later (the national grid only exists so states can buy and sell energy across state borders - and in the crisis industries won't be running, so demand will be so low that no state should need any more energy than what they produce).

Every municipality has its own emergency plan... and hence, its own stockpile of emergency replacement parts. There is no "whole country" in this equation; you're failing to see the trees for the forest. Every city in America has (or should have) all the replacement parts it needs on hand, at least to get up and running at minimal levels. Every city in America already deals with power generation/transmission equipment failures; the only thing novel about an EMP event is that the failures are caused by a hostile person or persons and not nature or wear-and-tear... but so what? That point is irrelevant to the fact of the failure, and how it should be repaired. In other words, from the point of the view of the electric utility folk, an EMP is just a "premeditated thunderstorm"; and since the premeditation is irrelevant to them, they already know exactly what to do when their transformers are blown by surges. It really doesn't matter to, say, Dallas Electric Company whether or not every single city in the world has had their transformers blown; all that matters to them is: "looks like the transformers have blown again, so get Frank out to install the spares".

This is the whole point of municipal governments. Their whole reason for existing is to micromanage the cities so the state and federal governments don't need to sit down and plan how to fix every damn failed generator in America.

ocalhoun wrote:
Now, I will say,
-This is an unlikely, worst-case scenario.
-Having some EMP shielded electronics wouldn't help much in that case anyway.
-Having an EMP-proof vehicle would only really help if you had the sense to leave the city before things got bad.

...

Do you want to really know how to survive an EMP - or just about any kind of crisis? The answer is going to blow your mind.

If you really want to be prepared for just about any contingency, including an EMP, then the way to do it is simple: get the community connected. Meet your neighbours, get to know them, hold community barbeques where everyone can meet and greet, and arrange community initiatives in the event of crises.

i know that suggestion will cause a short-circuit in the brains of all the libertarian survivalists out there, but it really will work - and it will work far better than a panic shelter in your backyard, no matter how well stocked. And it won't just work better for the obvious reason that humans are pack animals. All that survivalist nonsense is hokum; it only works if you assume fantastic luck on your part. What happens if, right after the EMP burst, you gather your stuff up and head out back to your shelter - that is fully stocked to have you survive on your own comfortably for a year, if necessary... then you slip on a patch of ice on the way to the shelter and break your femur. Or, let's say you make it safely down into the shelter... and 20 minutes later your appendix bursts. Or you choke on one of you canned sausages and you need someone to give you the Heimlich manoeuvre. All trivial problems, sure... all possibly fatal if you're alone and cut off from civilization.

By contrast, what if you had really a strong community? Right after the burst, after the power hasn't come on for a long enough time - so people are starting to get concerned - you call together a community meeting in the park. With all those minds at work, it won't take long to figure out that if cars and land-based phones are not working, this is more than just a typical power failure. Now what? Well, Amy from 212 can get together a group of volunteers to canvas the neighbourhood to see who's got food (in non-functioning fridges) spoiling - they can arrange to get everyone who has a propane-based barbeque to bring their grills to the park and everyone will have a big cook-out, and then collect the rest of the spoilable food in just a few fridges/freezers running on generators. Meanwhile, Asif in 108 can arrange people to go out and get more information about what is going on; Fran's kids have those dirt bikes which will probably still run, Ed was training for a triathalon so he can ride his bike great distances, Steve has that '68 Camaro that still runs - between them and some people who don't mind going for long walks/rides, they can go out to get information from local police stations, the mayor's office, maybe even the provincial government. Sandeep from 178 will go door to door to check on the people who didn't show up, and arrange regular checks just in case someone gets hurt or sick. And just in case the blackout might last a while longer, Hinako in 140 and Ted in 215 are in charge of making long term plans for getting water, arranging waste disposal and so on....

An average-sized neighbourhood in an average city will almost certainly field a large enough pool of talent to be able to intelligently and successfully weather the duration, even if it's quite prolonged. Hell, Sandeep from 178 will probably find the dude who was running for his shelter and broke his leg, before sepsis sets in. In other words, building a strong, connected community will even save the lone survivalist nut from his own folly.
gopin2012
INDI:
Maybe you should read the US EMP Commission Report before making any other posts.
Obviously the severity of the situation depends on the type of weapon, the height detonated above earth, the strength in kilovolts of the E1 pulse and subsequent E3 pulse (not measured in kv), and a multitude of other factors...BUT the Critical National Infrastructure report states to repair Power Plants "Replace damaged furnace, boiler, turbine, or generator: one year plus production backlog
plus transportation backlog. It is uncertain if and to what extent damage to these
elements will occur if the protection schemes are disrupted or damaged."
Read the whole thing...
And by the way: The type of damage done to large power transmission transformers by the E1 and E3 pulses cannot be fixed "in a few days".
Read both the EMP CNI Report or the report done by Metatech for Oak Ridge National Laboratories (no amateurs in the EMP game)...both available online.
They both clearly report that power companies do not keep a stockpile of these around in case of failure...in fact they are not even made in the U.S. or Canada and would take at least a year PLUS production and backlog and transportation and backlog to even get replacements!
It might take a while but read both reports...
gopin2012
INDI... You also seem to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of an EMP occurance. Only the E2 pulse (the weakest of the 3) is similar to a lightning strike. The E1 pulse of enough power will not just damage a few SCADAS or control modules but could in fact destroy almost all of a utilities hardware. No utility company has a spares department that has the ability to maintain such a huge stockpile.
gopin2012
Again INDI...just to piggyback on my last post...You write that an "EMP is just a "premeditated thunderstorm". You could not be more misinformed.

When lightning strikes cause spikes in power lines or hits a transformer, or a transmission line or pole goes down, the automated systems quickly react to limit the degree of damage done across the board...thus we have a local blackout that within hours is usually fixed.
When a large natural disaster happens this scenario plays out many times over a large area...it's important to remember this happens by design to limit damage to the smallest degree possible and so that the real hardware contained at the generating facility is not damaged.

THE BIG DIFFERENCE:
In an EMP event the fast E1 pulse will destroy some, if not all, of the SCADAS and modules that protect our power plants and grid system....leaving the system wide open for the following E2 and, more significantly, the E3 pulse.
gopin2012
One more thing...
READ THE REPORT...especially the the section on power station "black starts"....restarting a power grid, even just a regional one, is not quite as easy as you imagine. Even in the best of circumstances.
ocalhoun
First, I would like to note that gopin2012 is not an alternate account I made to continue arguing the point under a new name. It may seem suspicious, but I promise that it is not so. (Besides, I wouldn't make 4 consecutive posts like that; I know how to use the edit button.)

@gopin2012- Sorry I had to make that note, but having a newly registered user suddenly take up the argument on behalf of an old user is a classic sign of somebody using an alt account.
Also, now that you mention it, I think referencing the reports made by people who are experts in the effects of EMP attacks is an outstanding idea.

@Indi-

Fine. I will concede that the thread by which civilization hangs is not quite as slender as I thought.
An EMP attack would have to be extremely strong, and at least regional in scale, to have such devastating effects.

I will however, still make two comments:
1- This 'thread' may be less slender than I thought, but civilization (as we know it) does still hang from it.
2- I think you have a bit too much faith in disaster plans, and a bit too much faith in the intelligence, rationality, and mutually helpful cooperation of humans.

*edit*
Oh, and you are absolutely right that 'going solo' is not the best survival plan -- in most situations including the one discussed here.
Better is to solicit help from other people and form a group.
Better still is to have formed such a group before any emergency happens, around 3 to 15 people, preferably with a variety of talents and experience, but all fit and healthy, and all willing to help each other out no matter what.
PoppingIn
I just want to pop in and say two things: (1) I'm not someone's puppet account. (2) I applaud Indi's, if perhaps a bit overwrought, responses. They are, in a phrase, the highest compliment I can give a post: a good read. Informative, possessing a good amount of verve and convincing.

Your opposite in the discussion, gopin, it seems, has not done you the service of providing a convincing argument. Speaking as an objective observer, I'd recommend gopin to simmer on down. If EMP's are as difficult to prepare against and recover from as he says he should leave it to others. Individuals who aren't so fundamentally unable to present their views in a convincing manner. To not push home the point too far: regardless of who is correct, I certainly am not knowledgeable about the subject, Indi, you should stop replying to Gopin. You, to a sizable extent, have already made him look ignorant and ridiculous. You certainly aren't going to convince him, he seems that sort of type.
morgs1070
I don't think we have to concern ourselves with an EMP device or attack. The more concerning thing is a massive Solar Flare or Sun spot theory. The EMP Generated by this would be on a global scale. I don't mean to sound like a nutter, but this is what we need to be prepared for, not some terrorist attack......
Think boats and horses as there may not be anywhere to drive a vehicle
prepperman
If anyone is interested, most of your desk top PCs come in a metal case that is grounded thru
the plug, creating a Faraday cage. If you want you can run a second grounding wire from the case
to any electric outlet - remove the plastic cover, loosen one of the screws that holds the outlet
in the box, wrap your ground wire around the screw and tighten, the replace the cover. You computer is now grounded to the entire house.
As for faraday cages, mine is an old foot locker/trunck that is 24" wide by 36" long by 24" tall.
It is made of cheap metal sides you could punch a screwdriver thru. The insides came covered
with some type of cardboard (insulation).
I keep a handcrank radio, battery powered TV, HAM radio, stun guns, portable radios, GPS unit,
a laptop with all of my important papers and other odds and ends.
The important part, this trunk is grounded to the house's electrical system by a length of
12 gauge insulated wire.
As for cars, trucks, etc being EMP proof, remember they are insulated by 4 large pieces of rubber.
A 1 million volt wire can fall on your car and not effect it or you as long as you don't touch the metal
or try to get out.
Good luck, be prepared and stay alert.
prepperman
Hi again,
I just read a good artical about the testing of cars and trucks and the effects of EMP on them.
You might be surprised, I was.
The artical can be found at: www.futurescience.com/emp/vehicles.html
Take a look, you might be relieved.
Good luck and keep prepping.
Prepperman Very Happy
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