An EMP (electromagnetic pulse) can be created by space weather, like massive solar flares, as well as HEMP weapons. High Altitude Electromagnetic Weapons (HEMP weapons) are nuclear weapons that are detonated high in the atmosphere. They don’t produce much fallout and they don’t cause blast effects on the ground, but they can zap the power grid and most electronics into inoperability. Electromagnetic pulses don’t hurt people directly, they just wipe out communications and infrastructure.

In a nuclear war it is possible that the first nukes used would be HEMP weapons in an attempt to knock out defenses. Even if you’re not planning on building a fallout shelter you might want to consider building a small faraday cage – a simple metal container with an insulating layer inside that protects electronics contained within. You might have the materials lying around in your garage right now – and if not the cost to build one is very low and can sometimes be done in less than 10 minutes.

How a Faraday Cage Works

As the EMP hits the faraday cage, the energy travels around the outer metal material but not through the insulator. Electronics stored inside the faraday cage should survive an EMP. If the box is grounded to the earth (third prong in household wiring or to a metal rod stuck in the ground) it should work better, but this is not required.

What to Store in the Faraday Cage

The type of electronics you may want to store in your faraday cage are:

  • AM/FM/Shortwave Radios
  • Ham Radio Transceivers
  • Two-way radios for communicating with other members of your group
  • CB Radios
  • Solar battery chargers
  • Solar panels
  • Solar charge controller
  • Inverter (converts DC to AC power)
  • Pedal powered generators
  • LED flashlights
  • LED battery powered lighting
  • MURS motion detection system components
  • Night vision
  • Electronics aided rifle scopes
  • Photo and video cameras
  • Security cameras
  • Alarm system components
  • Memory cards or thumb drives with important data, books, software, or other resources
  • Laptop computers
  • Raspberry Pi micro computer, 12VDC LCD monitor, and 12VDC power system
  • Wifi router
  • 12VDC fans and blowers
  • Medical electronics you rely on

Batteries should not be effected by an EMP but might be useful stored with your electronics for easy access.

Faraday Cage Examples

Some easy ways of making a faraday cage are:

  • Line the inside of a metal trash can with a non-conductive material. (example photo above by The Elite Mind)
  • Line a metal file cabinet with a non-conductive material
  • Line an old metal locker with a non-conductive material
  • Line an old trunk with aluminum foil or sheet metal and a non-conductive material

If you have certain individual electronics you use regularly and want to add a level of protection, consider buying small faraday bags. These can contain a handheld radio or phone and stay inside your purse or backpack.

Tin Hat Faraday Cage

Below is an episode from the Tin Hat Ranch that shows you how to build a faraday cage/box from an old crate, aluminum foil, metal screen, and particle board.