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Other Tips and Considerations

Because power could be down for an extended period of time, a generator could prove useful—another item popular with those who prepared for the Year 2000 scenario. Those who live "off the grid"—for example, using solar energy exclusively—would be much less vulnerable to an EMP event, at least when it comes to electrical needs. It is unclear to me whether the generator should also be stored in a Faraday cage. Many have electronic ignition systems that are solid state and could be affected by the EMP.

A microwave oven can be an efficient Faraday cage for most purposes and can be used for shielding small electronic items. It is important that any microwave oven used for this purpose should have its power cord cut off close the body of the microwave oven. This should be done both to prevent accidentally turning on the microwave oven with electronics inside and to prevent the power cord from acting as an antenna to conduct EMP into the interior of the oven. Anything that you are hoping to use as an electromagnetic shield should be tested by putting a radio inside of the shield tuned to a strong FM station. If you can hear the FM station while the radio is inside of the shield, then the shield is not adequate.

Have all computer data that is important to you backed up onto optical media, such as a CD or DVD. Paper printouts are fine, but after an EMP attack, most of the data on paper printouts will never get typed back into computers. CD and DVD data, on the other hand, is not affected by EMP. Even if your computers are destroyed, if the country's economy can get re-built after an EMP attack, then new computers can be purchased from other continents.

Contrary to my earlier statement, according to at least one source (Critical National Infrastructures Report), automobiles and trucks may be more resilient against EMP attacks that what is portrayed in most fiction. Although many vehicles would be rendered inoperative, others that are not running at the time of an EMP will most likely run after they are started again. There is a very high probability that the car will experience electronic damage outside of the electronic ignition system, and it’s possible that the car may have to be started in an unconventional way. It is also possible that it may be necessary to momentarily disconnect the battery so that the electronic modules can recover. Furthermore, it may be a good idea to have maintenance manual for your car so that you, or someone you know, can figure out how to bypass damaged modules in your car.

Looking for data center protection? I’m told that one effective means for isolating disturbances on the power line from electronics equipment is the use of a "double-conversion" type of "true online" UPS (uninterruptable power supply). An EMP coming in on the power line would probably still destroy the UPS, but the UPS would have isolated the equipment from the power line transient before failing. It is important to note that most UPSes on the market are not the "true online" type, and are of very limited usefulness for isolating the equipment from the power line, even for ordinary voltage spike. Most inexpensive UPSes let much of the voltage spike hit the equipment before switching to internal battery power. I understand some of the best of the small true online UPS units are those made by SOLA and Tripp-Lite.

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