A few thoughts on EMP protection


Quite often I receive questions and comments related to EMP protection. Let me start by saying I am not an expert on EMP. I will also tell you that I have talked to some very knowledgeable people when it comes to EMP and electronics. For me the answer to what will happen if there is an EMP attack is rather simple:

No one knows for sure.

It’s true. No one knows exactly what will happen. Different “experts” have different opinions.

When it comes to protection….what is that saying? Opinions are like #$$%&@!$! Some say microwaves will work, others say they won’t. Some say a metal galvanized trash can will work. Others say they won’t. Let me tell you what I believe provides the BEST chance for success for EMP protection:
ruspuzzleRussian Matryoshka dolls. OK, not literally but it’s the concept. Storing your items to be protected inside a metal box, inside another metal box, inside ANOTHER metal box – this provides the best chance for success. These metal boxes must not touch each other. This separation can be accomplished via packing foam, paper towels, bible wrap, sponges, etc.

The idea here is to provide multiple layers that the EMP pulse would have to penetrate – increasing your chances of the items survival.

One example of this would be to take a radio, wrap it in bubble wrap, and place it inside a sealed Mylar bag. Then wrap the bag with a t-shirt. This is then placed inside a metal pencil box. Now – the metal pencil box is surrounded by large car washing sponges – and then placed inside a .50 caliber ammo can.

Get the idea?


So, will it work?

I hate to say it, but…….No one knows for sure.

This use of multiple barriers provides an excellent chance of success with minimal expense.



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8 thoughts on “A few thoughts on EMP protection”

  1. Rourke, and Steven Douglas Robinson,
    I believe that Faraday cages will allow us to access stored information that will make every effort to protect them NOW! I am going to build one myself for this purpose. I have ebooks and PDF files I still NEED to access to now and after an EMP or disaster.


  2. One other note for people who store things in faraday cages, etc…

    It is always good to have a backup of your content. Keep one copy in the cage and one for everyday use. Then periodically put your everyday use one in the cage while updating your backup.

    This way, you greatly diminish the likelihood of being caught in an EMP event with your device out of the cage… and you keep it up to date.

  3. Steven,
    Having been born in those prehistoric days before transistors, I agree much of the electronics of the age is nothing but trash and soma for the masses. I do suspect that my Kestrel wind meters, binoculars with integrated laser range finders, handitalkies, and night vision just may give me that edge especially during the time of big adjustment following the EMP event we hope will never happen.

  4. I have an old 1950’s all metal upright freezer that I use. I replaced the metal shelves w/ 3/4″ plywood as further insulation and then I put electronics and thumb drives shielded in wrap like he does and then in ammo cans or pop corn tins / cookie tins that I buy at thrift stores (for a buck!). This accomplishes the double or triple shielding that Rourke suggest. (you could also seal the door with metalized ‘silver’ tape [not regular duct tape) if you wanted.)
    Note* after removing the guts of the freezer, I used thin aluminum scraps and silver tape to seal all holes where the vents and coils went into the freezer.

  5. Rourke,
    First: thank you for the headline. It contained the truth of the article, gave enough to allow me the decision to read the article, and most importantly:
    did NOT mislead me!
    Second: some more thoughts..
    EMP protection is very subjective.
    Subject to location, distance from source, materials used to create the Faraday cage, even what is being protected. Is it “delicate” electronics? Is it an old power supply?
    You get the idea..
    The nature of an EMP is such that a good understanding of frequency the power involved and wave propagation will help immensely in damage mitigation.
    You are on a good solid path to that end with your Matryoshka dolls idea,
    (Though, maybe just two boxes).
    For the same reason a microwave oven won’t work: Power over Frequencies.
    Microwaves emit a narrow frequency (2450 Mhz) at a relatively low power
    and only need to contain THAT frequency.
    The holes in the window (and open seams around the box)
    are designed to be sufficient for that task..but ONLY THAT TASK.
    Things in the oven will be exposed the same as if they were sitting out on the counter.
    An EMP encompasses an extreme range of frequencies with massive amount of power.
    Just remember that your Faraday container must be
    a solid electrical seal and NOT BE GROUNDED.


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