Funny, but once upon a time, and that wasn’t too long ago in the realm of reality, it was easy to prepare. You had to deal with snowstorms in the winter, hurricanes in the fall, tornadoes and thunderstorms in the summer and flooding in the springtime. Pretty cut and dried stuff. Add in a drought here and there and maybe a famine and financial panic and that was pretty much the worst that could happen.
No so today, thanks in part to the dreaming of the folks who brought us sci-fi classics such as Star Trek and Star Wars. Gadgets galore flooded the minds of inventors and became reality. Remember Captain Kirk’s flip phone…..”beam me up Scotty!…. Many of the invented technologies that were but a vague concept in the early days of sci-fi are now in use and common. Cell phones, computers, satellite radios and GPS units that fit in your pocket. Touch screen TVs and high tech kitchen appliances that practically prepare your meals without touching them.
Unfortunately, along with all of these toys and tools, we now have an entire new world of threats we have to deal with when developing our preparedness plans. We’ve long known about the risk of nuclear attack and devastation, and with the evaporation of the old Communist regime one would have thought the threat was diminished. Instead, the threat is only increasing, and in worse ways than we had to deal with before.
Today, we have to worry about not only the country of Russia, but China, India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea and Iran, although the last two to a lesser degree than the former. And not only do we have to consider an ICBM, or InterContinental Ballistic Missile from the major powers, but the potential devastation from smaller weaponry as well. A properly placed suitcase nuke could be detonated practically anywhere, with no prior warning available to alert people to the danger. While these ‘bombs’ are very small, the amount of radioactive material could be spread over a wide area, especially if windy, causing much radiation sickness and poisoning of crops and water supplies.
There’s also the potential for smaller missile attacks as well. For instance, back in 1998 thirty some Alazan Rockets went missing from a former Soviet Union storage facility near the Trans-Dniester Tiraspol military airport in Moldova. Supposedly there were 24 active and usable rockets, and 14 that were dismantled but had complete parts with them and could be rebuilt for use. Further, these rockets had small nuclear warheads of Strontium and Cesium, considered to be what are called ‘dirty bombs’ by the military. Having a range of 8-10 miles, these rockets could be launched from a small ship outside of our sovereign waters on any of numerous coastal metropolitan areas, such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, etc.
I’ve yet to determine if any of these weapons have been recovered. I do know from reading several articles and various reports that at least a few of them were in fact offered for sale on the black market. It is more than possible that one or more terrorist organizations had rounded up the cash to purchase them, but that is supposition at this point as I have no factual evidence to prove that happened.
The area of devastation and contamination would cover over twenty square miles. There would be few actual deaths outside of the direct explosion area in most scenarios, but there would be much damage, and the remediation of the fallout, or cleanup would cost billions and disrupt entire regions, both economically and psychologically.
Another threat, and one that is taking on a life of its own is the threat of an EMP, or Electro Magnetic Pulse explosion. This would be caused by a nuclear weapon being detonated some 250 to 300 miles above the earth’s surface. The resulting carnage would be no deaths, and no physical damage. Actually, there would be some radioactive fallout to deal with, but little else, except for the real problem extant with such a device and its detonation.
That problem would be the resulting death of all things electronic and/or electrical within the weapons range. How big is that range? If detonated over California, the entirety of the west coast would go dark, and maybe beyond that area dependent upon the weapons proximity to earth and the size of the warhead. And it wouldn’t even need to be an ICBM. It could be launched from a freighter a hundred miles out to sea. R2-D2 would be dead, and so wouldn’t his pal CP-3-0. The wonders of solid state electronics are also the problem with solid state electronics. And as these little electronic chips and parts get more sophisticated they also become more vulnerable to attack in this manner.
Your watch would stop. Your cell phone would no longer work. You’d be unable to get news on your TV or radio. The internet would no longer function. Trains and planes and automobiles would cease to function. Medical equipment would no longer work. You get the idea, I presume. All of this electronic circuitry would become fried, just like bubba’s bologna sandwich. And what are we doing to prepare for this eventuality? Not much, from what I can see.
The government has their committee meetings and studies, big industry invents and tests and so on, but there isn’t much going on to get everyone ready for this sort of event, and in fact, even though the threat is very real, very credible and becoming more possible every day, we rarely hear about it from the main stream media outlets.
But there are some things you can do to prepare, and one of them is to build some Faraday cages to help protect your more valuable equipment. This will take some time to describe how to build, so I’ll do it in another post. Keep checking back to read all about it. Essentially, a Faraday Cage is a solid metal box that you put your electronic gadgets into to protect them from the EMP. An EMP is basically a pulse of energy so strong that normal circuitry cannot handle the surge in voltage, and the affected components become shorted out. Obviously, to keep this from happening we need to keep energy away from those precious gadgets. The Faraday Cage can be looked at as a sort of surge suppressor that we plug our computers into to protect its own circuitry.
We’ll get back to this Faraday Cage business another day, but for now, just remember that there’s more to cause you problems out there that most people like to think about. Prepare and defend against the unexpected and the unexpected will never take you down. It may, and probably will, cause some bumps and bruises, but by preparing you can overcome the tragedy. No matter the source.