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  • After the Lights Go Out: Is Your Community Prepared?

    This week, Heritage observed National EMP Awareness Day.

    An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the United States would have truly devastating effects. An attack would change the “very fabric of U.S. society,” and millions could potentially lose their lives in the aftermath. Yet as the name “EMP Awareness Day” suggests, Americans and our nation’s leaders remain woefully unprepared to protect against this threat.

    An EMP is a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by the rapid acceleration of charged particles. Caused by either a nuclear weapon detonated high in the atmosphere, a radio-frequency weapon, or a naturally occurring solar storm, an EMP event could cause entire regions of the country to lose electricity—permanently. Cars, cell phones, and computers would all be dead. Water, sewer, and electrical networks would fail simultaneously. Banking, transportation, food production and delivery, and even emergency services would collapse.

    Yet, as Heritage has explained, despite the gravity of the EMP threat, “a survey of congressional, federal, state, local, and international measures to deal with the threat reveals more complacency than action.”

    Indeed, despite the many recommendations of such congressionally mandated commissions as the EMP Commission and the Quadrennial Defense Review Panel, little progress has been made to protect the country from an EMP attack and prepare for the aftermath. And at the state and local level things are equally as bad:

    A 2007 survey of state adjutant generals, the officials responsible for overseeing National Guard units, found that few states were prepared for an EMP attack.… [A]lthough 96 percent of adjutant generals surveyed indicated that they were concerned with the threat posed by an EMP attack, few had analyzed the actual impact details of an EMP attack.

    Recognizing this fact, House Resolution 762, recently introduced by Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R–MD), encourages local communities to create sustainable local infrastructure and local power generation, food, and water production so that our nation’s communities are better prepared in the event of a large scale disaster. H.R. 762 also encourages citizens to develop individual emergency plans so that they are able to care for themselves and their families in the absence of government assistance.

    These policies would increase preparedness in the event of an EMP attack and help ensure that communities and their citizens are better able to respond the in the aftermath of all manners of catastrophic disasters.

    In a normal catastrophic disaster, the federal government could take up to 72 hours to respond. In the event of an EMP attack, things would likely be much worse. Local communities and their citizens need to be prepared to help themselves in the event of the next disaster.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    14 Responses to After the Lights Go Out: Is Your Community Prepared?

    1. lisa groves says:

      If you are a camper you could possibily be more prepared than most.

    2. sam k says:

      this is all fine and dandy …but they always forget to tell you mankind has set it up so if something like this happens there are enough nuke plants that are reliant on electricity /modern technology that they will fail and wipe out civilization as we know it .

    3. Fred17 says:

      Typical lack of action of any kind on any serious issues. Not "politically useful" you know. Will we ever elect REAL representatives of the people?

    4. PacRim Jim says:

      I checked my community.
      Yep, Messrs. Smith and Wesson are ready.

    5. jim says:

      would an emp affect batteries aaa type or 12 volt car batteries

    6. Bobbie says:

      How is this a priority to America's new "change?" Just kidding. Honorable people keep safety a priority and doesn't "change" it's level to ignorance.

      I was listening to 80's music and it's too bad music couldn't rid evil? Good music pumps me up and NO ONE "changes" the awesome mood it puts me in! The only music I oppose is the vulgar, senseless rap crap that destroyed the real art of rap! Wish we could enjoy Louie Farrakhan's beautiful talent in violin. Love the violin, especially in rock! But he'd rather be known for his hatred for every white person he doesn't know or give a chance!

      I'd say with all things apparent, the only preparation will be what we can do for ourselves. This administration isn't budgeting or budging for anyone's protection but their own! With our money just to add. This administration is a deep and unfortunate disappointment to America! Freedom to take freedom is what this administration took advantage of America's opportunities for. In whatever deceptive way they couldn't do it on their own two feet now willed to cripple everyone! Republicans in reflection of all human skin colors, show a distinct contrast to this deplorable, degrading governance over people!

    7. Locomotive Breath says:

      Never mind an EMP attack. Electrical generation is already suffering an EPA attack that's guaranteed to produce blackouts.

    8. @EMPCover says:

      Pakistan is currently the biggest risk factor for the threat of a nuclear EMP attack. Pakistan is at risk of being a failed state. The terrorist assault on a military base housing nuclear weapons is a chilling reminder of what is possible.

      The military is the real power in the Pakistan. Did you know that Ashfaq Kayani, Pakistan's Army Chief of Staff, was named the 20th most powerful man in the world?

      What would happen if the Pakistani military started to lose control? Would some of the leaders go the way of Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, and do whatever it took to stay in power? If they could not stay in power, would they be willing to make some exit-money by selling a nuclear weapon to terrorists or a rogue state?

      Pakistan has between 80 to 120 nuclear weapons. These are fairly large nuclear weapons, with experts estimating them between 20 kilotons to possibly 500 kilotons. By way of comparison, North Korea has an estimated six to twelve nuclear weapons of about 10 to 20 kilotons. (About the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.)

      Pakistan's larger nuclear weapons could create a *much* more significant EMP blast. For an example of this, take a look at our EMP simulator at EMPCover.com.
      –Change the weapon size to "mini." That is for a 20 kiloton bomb, like North Korea's.
      –Now change the weapon size to small or medium. That is the range of bombs that Pakistan has.

      These medium-size nuclear weapons could cause a multi-regional EMP pulse that would be a significant blow to the United States. Please take a look at our EMP simulator.

      Our current estimates are:

      –The chance of a solar super-storm is about double the risk of a house fire.
      –The chance of a nuclear EMP is about the same as the risk of a fire at your house.
      –The chance of terrorists using a non-nuclear EMP for a local EMP attack is about the same as the house fire risk, but the odds are growing as the devices become easier to build and smaller.

      But, the more unstable Pakistan gets, the higher the chances of an EMP attack. If things get worse, we will have to increase our estimates.

      The pictures and and graphics on our site help explain this much better than words. In addition to our EMP simulator, we have pictures of EMP devices built into the back of truck trailers. The US Military uses these for testing. (Real stuff, not some crazy ranting. Click on the link and you can read the US military brochure that explains the test systems.)

      We hope you will visit and review our information. No hype — we are hoping to provide realistic information that will elevate the level of debate on this threat.

    9. Chuck Manto says:

      House Resolution 762 provides the country with an opportunity for everyone to make their local communities stronger and more resilient. I hope there is a rush from both parties to support this resolution and expedite the discussion.

    10. Regardless of the type of emergency, Americans need to learn for themselves how to be prepared, not depend on a politically motivated, incompetent Federal government.

    11. Taz says:

      I'm sure I'm preaching to choir here. The cost at this point is prohibitive. There is no action that can be taken, save protection of military assets, and protection of some infrastructure. As for the rest of us, it is literally lights out. Politicians will not fork out funds to fix this. And we're going to let Iran get nukes. Be ready for 18th century again.

    12. Michael says:

      The dangers of an EMP are real. A recent book entitled COLLAPSE: You're On Your Own is a great fictional account of what folks must deal with in the aftermath of just such a calamity. The author even shares some good recipes and how-to advice for the reader. In the event we will really be on our own because the governmental services will be non-existent – no electricity.
      Get prepared folks. Thanks.

    13. Guest says:

      The more iminent threat is the current (hush-hush) SOLAR-MAX (the worst since 1958). IF a large X class Solar Flare hits the earth at the worst time (positive/negative magnetism will destroy most electronics in the northern hemisphere). It has happened before, back in the 1800's and fried telegraphs across the USA.Goto NOAA website, or google the Solar Max…there is a risk in the next 18 months of a direct hit!!! We would have 24 hours to prepare!!!

    14. Chris says:

      There is a way to provide triage communications but it would be expensive to fund and would have to be thought of as an EMP insurance policy to get it paid for.

      Major regions could deploy closed-loop portable wireless telecommunication platforms that could be self contained in shielded storage containers until they are needed.

      Pre-positioned solar powered cell phones and modems could be placed with police stations, fire departments, disaster recovery specialists and regional leaders. Western Union or banks may want to also stay in that system to at least attempt to maintain some semblance of order in that scenario.

      This would NOT be a system for use by civilians and the total amount of phones and modems in a disaster recovery system of this type would be 100,000

      Hell, I'll do it myself if someone is willing to write the check for $100 million (per region)

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