Last month, we received a number of similar questions in response to a Survival Scout article. The question:
"Would my vehicle function after an EMP event?"
It's something we haven't really gone into in our articles, so I thought now would be as good a time as any to discuss it.
BUILDING AN EMP-PROOF TRANSPORTATION PLAN
ALL QUIET ON THE AMERICAN HIGHWAYS
Many of our Survival Scout readers think alike. When we ran our story on the "Black Sky" events many governments were secretly preparing for, many of you asked about how EMPs might affect our automobiles. In case you missed that story, you can read it here.
To give a brief overview, an EMP or an electromagnetic pulse, is a massive amount of energy that could have catastrophic consequences. EMPs can come from natural or sinister causes, like a massive solar flare or nuclear weapon.
Powerful EMPs can wreak destruction thousands of miles from its epicenter. What are the effects? Essentially, the complete destruction of anything electrical. Not only will our electrical grid go down, but our devices... and modern vehicles would cease to function.
I am by no means an engineer, mechanic or "gear head." But I know that almost all vehicles produced in the past 20 or 30 years are controlled by onboard computers and complex electronics that is quite delicate. This is one reason why those who are truly obsessed with cars and trucks stick with the classics – they're much easier (and more enjoyable) to work on.
After a little research, I was amazed at how much of today's vehicles are dependent on modern technology (which will most likely fail in an EMP). This includes:
- On-board computers (the "brain" of the vehicle)
- Entire electrical system (sensors, fuses, etc.)
- Ignition system
- Emissions systems
- Cooling systems
- Navigation systems (of course)
An EMP could take out some or all of these technologies. This means that if your car turns on, there's a chance the other failed systems will eventually shut down the engine. This is because everything in modern vehicles is integrated. It has "fail-safe" mechanisms in place to ensure complete and proper operation.
So...if an EMP strikes and the car you drive right now is stalled and useless, what's your plan?
There's no doubt an automobile can come in handy during a crisis. It's the fastest and most common mode of transportation. It can save lives in getting to a bug-out location or scrambling for last-minute supplies.
However, acquiring an EMP-proof auto or doing modifications on your own (modern) vehicle) is not easy or cheap. I am by no means the expert to give detailed information on these kinds of plans. And I'd imagine your average mechanic would look at you funny if you asked for an EMP protection kit.
If you are interested, the consensus of those who know more than I do is that your best bet is to buy an older vehicle.
Most recommend a diesel-powered four-wheel drive capable SUV or pickup, with a stick shift and carbureted engine. You're looking for model years at least from the early 80s and older.
I do want to add a note of caution here. What I've described just now is what I'd call "nice to have" in a preparedness plan. It will take either a lot of money, time, knowledge or all three to be all set.
If an EMP does occur, and because of your preps your vehicle is unscathed, how will you deal with the gridlock of all the cars dead on the road? Will you be able to avoid the hordes of people on foot who would do anything to have your vehicle? When you run out of gas and your backup supplies, how will you refuel now that the pumps aren't running?
That's why I add a note of caution. We must not get carried away thinking that an automobile is a necessity. Food, water and shelter are necessities.
This nation was carved from the wilderness without gas-powered vehicles. We can certainly survive the aftermath of an EMP and rebuild civilization without them as well. But we can't do that without:
So how do you get home or bug out without a car?
You will have to consider the region you live in and the terrain you encounter. But if you only need to get home from your place of work, a bicycle might be a useful thing to store in your company's garage, just in case.
You should also know how to get home or to a bug out location on foot. If possible, you should practice doing this at least once. You might find out that your bug out location is too far or difficult to find on foot. Adjust your plans accordingly.
It may be hard to imagine a world without motorized vehicles. But it's not impossible to thrive in that world.
Our nation's forefathers found their freedom and pursued their happiness without it. It may be uncomfortable at first, but we will make it.
That is of course, as long as we prepare for our basic needs to see us through.
I hope you found this week's information a jumping off point for thinking about EMP preparedness.
Stay tuned for next week's Survival Scout and stay alert and vigilant out there, friends!