What is an Electromagnetic Pulse? EMP and Why You Should Be Concerned


I am no science major, but researching electromagnetic pulse and it’s potential to take down the grid tells me that we should be worried, and of course prepared.  “What is an electromagnetic pulse?” you ask?  To put it simply, “an intense pulse of electromagnetic radiation, especially one generated by a nuclear explosion and occurring high above the earth’s surface.”  Thanks Wikipedia!

Types of EMP’s

Not every EMP is dangerous, or has the capability of doing serious damage, in fact, they happen each and every day.  Some examples include:

  • Lightning
  • Power Line surges
  • Solar magnetic flares
  • Meteors

Even electric motors and gas engines can produce EMP’s with little effect.  Some safety measures like surge protectors can help with these smaller scale EMP events.

Naturally Occurring EMPs solar flare

We hear about solar storms all the time, but sometimes they get so big that they can cause damage.  Back in 1989, Quebec was the lucky recipient of a large scale EMP that took out the entire electric transmission system, and Earth has had a few near misses of massive solar flares and other spacey occurrences that could have potentially done significant damage to our grid.  In fact, some experts are saying that there is a 1 in 8 chance that a significant solar event could cause a major EMP by the year 2020.  Kind of scary, huh?

EMPs in the News

EMPs have made headlines recently as military data on this issue became declassified in the U.S. and experts in the field have been demanding government take action to protect us from these events.

The world is kind of a crazy place right now and the Western world has some pretty nasty enemies that could potentially have the technology to cause a serious threat to our wellbeing.  If the grid goes down and we are without power for one year, 90% of our population could experience starvation, disease and death.

Civilization would basically collapse and the world as we know it would be a very different place.  Imagine having no electricity, access to clean drinking water, toilets, no cell phone network or internet.  It would be like going back in time!

Bill_&_TedI thought “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” was pretty cool, but even the phone booths won’t be working.  I grew up in the 90’s, excuse the cheesy movie reference.

Man Made EMPs

These are in my mind the most dangerous EMPs because to build an electromagnetic bomb requires relatively unsophisticated technology and can be launched anywhere, including on some non descript boat near our shores, or even from space.  Countries like North Korea, Iran and Russia are thought to have this capability right now.

The World Goes Dark

Whether an act of war or a lovely gift from our sun, there are ways to be prepared for an electromagnetic pulse.  Like in any manmade or natural disaster, you should have a supply of water and food to get you through a long term blackout.  Remember what happened in 2003 when a big chunk of North America went without power for a week?  I fondly remember having a big bbq, warmish beer, and looking up at the stars with friends.  I also remember having no water, AC or supplies of any kind in the middle of a heat wave for a whole week.

Stockpile, Stockpile, Stockpile!

In previous posts, I have discussed what items you will need for 3 days in an emergency, a pandemic lasting 6-8 weeks, and now I want to encourage you to work on building your food and water stores to last for one year. Yes, one year.

That is a lot of food, water, batteries and toilet paper, and it will take time build, but you can significantly increase your chance of survival in a catastrophic event if you have access to these items.  If there is no power, there is no clean water, or grocery store, or $4.99 “walk-in” special at the local pizza place.  Resources will be in short supply, and accessing government support will increasingly become difficult.

Want to know how to build your stockpile and prepare for the worst, while hoping for the best? Keep checking in as I will be posting strategies and products that can help you achieve success in preparing for a large scale disaster.

Sleep tight!




  1. I’ve always thought about stockpiling. One idea that I had was to build underground storage (something like a bunker) to store food, water and other items that might otherwise go bad if left in heat. I’ve always heard that if you build underground, the temp stays pretty much the same. Seems like it was somewhere around 70 or so. ?

    • If you have the space to build an underground bunker, that would be an excellent way to keep your stockpile, and add an extra layer of security for your family. If you live in a condo like me, you can always rent a locker, which are usually in the basement level, and store your stuff there. If only we had a backyard….

    • or the company until I saw a rencet post by our favorite Darwinian Fail, Krysten. We’ve done heroic adventuring with her before on this site. She’s a welcome face in these

  2. Certainly a scary thing to think about. Very informative post, though, I can tell you did your research. I don’t know too much about this kind of stuff. Thanks for the knowledge!

    • In am no scientist, but I have been reading about this in the news quite a bit lately. Glad you liked the post!

  3. Hi! I love the Bill and Ted reference. Me and my husband have been talking about storing dry goods in tubs, pinto beans, canned goods, rice, and all the water we can a little at a time. Do you have any suggestions on what else we could store?

    • Hi Sheena, beans, rice and canned goods are a great start. Look at instant oats, powdered milk and lots of water. You can also order freeze dried meals that last for 25 years. We have about 3 months worth right now. It will save you lots of space too!

  4. Loved this post!
    Indispensable info, a must read for everyone.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  5. If we experience an EMP, it’s not only going to take out the power system but everything that runs on electronics. The EMP doesn’t just shutdown the power to electronics. It destroys the electronic systems. Any computer systems in the effected area of the EMP will be destroyed. To include banking , health care, and many other systems. A large scale EMP would be devastating to our society.

    • Exactly! It’s a bomb without the explosion, and the casualties may not be immediate, but they will be sever over the long term.

  6. Wow, that’s a lot of heavy information!
    Do you really think it is necessary to a stockpile ready for a possible imminent disaster?
    Sounds like a helluva lot of work 🙂

    • Hi Lynne, consider what would happen if food deliveries stopped. Our global economy and trade partnerships have allowed for a lot of our food supply to be delivered from Mexico and California, especially during winter months. If for some reason deliveries stopped, how much food do you think would be available to us, especially in a city like Toronto with over 2 million people. Grocery stores would be empty overnight! People would be fighting over basic necessities. We have become so used to having to having food available at our fingertips, what would we do if we ran out?It seems like work yes, but if you build your supplies over time, it is actually not that difficult to build a healthy stockpile for emergencies. Consider investing a few extra bucks on your weekly grocery shops, or check out Costco and buy some bulk canned goods. I think the work, which is minimal, is worth the effort to stay fed and healthy during a crisis.

  7. Hello, a very nice and informative article on Electromagnetic Pulse. Most of the people don’t know about it and those that know about really give little attention to it effect on our lives. However, you did made it clear how serious it could be and also proffered preventive measures. Thanks for the info.

  8. hi Krysten!
    I can only imagine what it would be like to stock pile for a year! Holy, that’s a lot 🙂 And the heat! We are going through a heat wave as we speak where I live. It’s been a week and I am ready to call it quit! So I am not sure how long I would last, lol! I had no idea all those events were referred globally as electromagnetic pulse

    • Hey Emily, the key to stockpiling food is finding quality non-perishable items. Look at canned goods, like veggies, tuna/chicken/turkey, oats, rice and dried milk. That stuff holds up pretty well. you can also order freeze dried food or MREs that have 20 year plus shelf life. It is easy to store and carry.

  9. Hey
    I’m kinda glad that i stumbled upon your website during the day, and I can see outside and people still appear to be doing “non zombie – eating the face of other people” things. Your site is cool. I wondered about it on first page, kind of thought I had found some nutnut, but then found myself reading more and loving the wry humour and now I’m addicted and now I’m waiting til you publish more
    Awesome writing
    please write more soon – just spotted Mrs Jones from across the road and I’m not sure her head should be facing the way it is…

    • LOL – thanks for the laugh! Zombies certainly pose a threat, with all that face eating stuff. Keep checking in, ill have more things to share soon!

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