Is TEOTWAWKI really that Far-fetched?

by M. Edwards

I struggled with submitting this article because it is not the typical “how to” one might usually find here. Even so, the content is something I’m not seeing elsewhere and I think it needs to be shared.

We all know people who think we Preppers are nuts. They must think we are preparing for an alien invasion or something equally absurd because they can’t comprehend TEOTWAWKI ever happening. An EMP caused by solar flare or terrorist weapon which fries all our electronics? Simply not going to happen. A foreign invading army? Nope. Another decade-long Great Depression caused by economic collapse? Not a chance. Civil War? LOL! Whatever you throw at the naysayers they will quickly shoot it down as being totally out of the realm of possibility. We can’t change their thinking so we usually leave them be and go about our business, but I hope something in this article is found to be enlightening to those kinds of people.

Even among Preppers there are those who think TEOTWAWKI is a remote possibility which (they hope) will probably never happen, so they are preparing for more personal scenarios. By that I mean they are preparing for a day when they suddenly lose their job, suffer through a short-term natural disaster, or some other relatively minor event which is limited to their own household, community, or city. For them, that is a personal TEOTWAWKI, for their world will been turned upside-down for a short while. They believe having a 3-6 month supply of food in the pantry is enough and they become content with that level of readiness. In my experience, it seems very few are planning for long-term events (years) which impact the entire State, Time Zone, or Country. I would like to challenge that line of thinking because the possibility of TEOTWAWKI happening are much greater than some would care to admit.

It has been said there are two kinds of people: Those who divide people into neat little groups and those who do not. That was a bit of lame humor but, seriously, for the intents and purposes of this article there are two kinds of people: Those who hope TEOTWAWKI does not happen (mentioned above) and those who actually want it to happen. Of course, a good many who read this will recoil at that statement and respond, “Why would anyone desire TEOTWAWKI and everything that goes along with it; including martial law, detention camps, starvation, mass slaughter, etc.?” You would be right to ask this challenging question, of course, but the answers might surprise you.

Sadly, I believe there are many in government today who are actively working hard to bring about TEOTWAWKI in our society. It’s not because of sadism or “Schadenfreude” (taking pleasure in the misery of others), but rather because they don’t like the present state of the Union or the direction this country is currently heading. They want to change the very core of our country and take it in a totally new direction from where we have been. Needless to say, their vision for America is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind. For various reasons I won’t go into here, I believe our President is one of those people and he’s in good company with many other politicians in all three branches of government. Just before being elected he said we were going to fundamentally change this country. Yes, he wants this country to get a total makeover. Changing any aspect of an entire country is an incredibly slow process, especially when trying to change the very foundations upon which that nation has been built, so how is the former community organizer going about doing it?

Those who are familiar with the Alinsky “Rules for Radicals” might recall a quote from page 116, “The first step in community organization is community disorganization. The disruption of the present organization is the first step toward community organization. Present arrangements must be disorganized if they are to be displace by new patterns…. All change means disorganization of the old and organization of the new.” In other words, to bring about drastic change rapidly, one must first create chaos and then bring about new solutions to rebuild that which has been destroyed.

Using an analogy to demonstrate how this tactic works: Suppose I don’t like my carpet, but I can’t justify replacing it because it’s in good condition and my wife loves it. One day a leak develops in my roof which allows rain to seep into the house and onto the carpet. Being careful not to let a crisis go to waste, I ignore it while hoping the leak will eventually ruin my carpet so I can justify replacing it. However, my wife soon notices the leak and starts nagging me to fix the roof. I procrastinate as long as possible before finally trying a few minor fixes which I know won’t work (and they don’t). I let the situation continue until the carpet is moldy and my wife demands I replace it. I then fork out a huge sum of money for all the repairs and my wife complains that I should have listened to her as we could have saved so much money if only I had fixed the problem sooner. She is right, of course, but she wasn’t aware of my strategy from the beginning and that is why I continued to let her complaints go in one ear and out the other. Honestly, she would have had a fit if she knew about my strategy so I kept that part a secret from her. In the end, I got my new carpet, she likes it better than the moldy carpet we had, and she’ll get over being mad soon enough.

The above analogy is basically how Obama gets things done. Pay close attention when watching the news and you’ll see this concept is in play virtually everywhere. “Fast and Furious” for example, was a DOJ program which purposefully overlooked straw purchases of American firearms by cartel members who should not have been able to acquire them. In other words, our existing laws should have stopped them at the sales counter, but government agents chose not to enforce those laws. They knew the straw buyers were going to take the weapons back to Mexico and allowed them to do it despite the fact it was against numerous laws. We had no plan to track those weapons except by documenting them when later found at Mexican crime scenes, which undoubtedly included the murder of innocents. The US would eventually be able to point their finger at the situation and justify passing more restrictive gun-control laws. Infringing upon the Second Amendment was their goal all along, but they couldn’t justify doing it. Create enough chaos, however, and the justification will appear as if by magic. Sometimes the chaos is unplanned, but it can also serve as justification to advance the progressive agenda (e.g. mass shootings are always used to justify their demand for tighter gun-control laws).

Note they are they willing to be complicit in the murder of innocents or dance on the graves of victims in order to have the opportunity to reshape this country according to how they think it should be. Interestingly, “Rules for Radicals” also teaches the end justifies the means so using these tactics to reshape this country is perfectly justified in the minds of Alinski admirers. Keep in mind Obama used to teach “Rules for Radicals” to others and Hillary is no stranger to the works of Alinsky either. I don’t think they are too concerned about TEOTWAWKI and everything that comes with it because 1) it would create chaos and allow them to reshape this country according to how they think it should be and 3) they are powerful and protected enough to escape the pain which is brought about by their changes. It should be no surprise this kind of government would be willing to cause TEOTWAWKI in order to accomplish their goals, if they felt it was necessary to do so. However, they really want “controlled chaos” and for TEOTWAWKI to happen on a number of small scales (e.g. specific times and places) so as to better manage the transition and outcome. I believe the day may soon come when they can’t control the chaos they have created in various places and that combination of circumstances may very well bring about TEOTWAWKI for everyone all at once.

One could easily write this off as a conspiracy theory, except for the fact the pattern keeps showing up elsewhere. Obamacare, for example. Some think Obamacare was passed in order to improve our national health care issues, but remember the Alinski model calls for disorganization followed by reorganization. With that in mind, I believe Obamacare is actually the instrument of destruction which was designed and passed into law by progressives to create more chaos in our existing health care system. Is it any surprise what followed was a billion-dollar Obamacare website that didn’t work, doctors leaving the system in droves, premiums skyrocketing, old insurance plans being cancelled, medical services no longer being covered, employers eliminating full-time jobs in order to avoid offering coverage, a mandate for all citizens to have health insurance, discussions of government bailouts for health insurance companies, etc? Of course Obamacare won’t work effectively because it was never intended to improve anything. It is merely a tool which causes further damage to the system in order to pave the way for an even more progressive solution in the future. Those who thought Obamacare was a bad idea were routinely ignored (remember all the Town Halls?) while the law was passed despite the majority of citizens opposing it. Those who don’t like Obamacare today are really going to hate “Heath Care Reform – Part 2” tomorrow.

The citizens, by and large, are not aware this is how government is behaving today. All they see are chaotic situations which government either creates through bad policy or is unwilling/unable to fix and it frustrates them terribly. They protest in anger, but are routinely ignored; just as I ignored my wife in the leaking roof analogy. However, citizens might think differently if they understood the chaos is part of the overall plan. For example, we all know the border is insecure and we protest to bring the matter to the attention of our leaders, but the power brokers in this country ignore them because they don’t want to fix it right now. They won’t openly admit it, but I believe they want terrorists and illegals to infiltrate our country to the point the system breaks so they will be able to implement immigration reforms. That’s how the Alinsky tactic works, but to speed up the process they decline to enforce current immigration laws while also talking about granting amnesty for those who are already here. As a result, earlier this year, Mexicans started hopping on moving freight trains and coming over by the thousands (aka “Death Trains” because of the dangers involved). Their kids are now enrolled in public schools all over America and we’re finding we do not have enough money, classrooms, or teachers to accommodate everyone. It’s all going exactly to plan and immigration reform will soon become the crisis of the moment which absolutely must be addressed with the utmost urgency.

The media is largely playing along with lying government officials throughout this whole process. They don’t expose truth behind government dealings, but rather help conceal it to make favored politicians look good. They are on-board with the advancement of the liberal agenda and if we listen to them then we can be assured our border is secure, Obamacare is working wonderfully, and Ebola is nothing to worry about in this country. A good number of people are not interested in hearing the truth, but only that the news is presented to them in a biased way which matches their viewpoint. Thankfully, a good number of people aren’t so easily fooled. Despite what the government is saying about America being safe from Ebola, a majority of Americans want to ban flights from Ebola-infected countries. However, government is hesitating to do so. I don’t know their motive, but it’s clear the same tactics are being applied in that situation too. They want chaos to come here because that is how they implement drastic change in this country.

There are many things about our economy and government functions which are chaotic and unsustainable, which makes me wonder just how far and wide the application of these tactics really goes: Maintaining high levels of debt and deficit without having a budget, cranking up the currency printing machine while having an economy which is largely dependent on credit purchases, and having more government benefit recipients than there are taxpayers (to name a few). I could list a few dozen other examples of why we should all be concerned, but others have written much about them already and they all point to the same inevitable SHTF outcome. The thing is our country can deal with singular breakdowns like the burst of the housing bubble a few years back just so long as everything doesn’t collapse at once. The progressive agenda will keep advancing until that total loss of control happens. Logically speaking, freedom-lovers who desire a restoration in this country should be hoping everything collapses at once (aka TEOTWAWKI).

So, I’ve identified two very different groups of people who are or should be hoping for TEOTWAWKI, although they do so in different ways and for different reasons. One group feels immune to the fallout which comes with TEOTWAWKI while the other group will most likely be the primary targets of a government which is trying to change our way of life during TEOTWAWKI. When the two groups clash there will undoubtedly be a Civil War. As awful as that would be for individuals, there is a silver lining within it.

First, although being very difficult to endure, TEOTWAWKI is exactly what this country needs to change direction towards restoration. Serious events such as Katrina and 9/11 were not enough, for it will have to take something of much greater magnitude to put us on that path. Some will claim they are already on that path and working hard to move this country in the direction of restoration, but know elections and protests are not going to do it. TEOTWAWKI is truly our only true hope if we want to return to the vision our Founding Fathers had in mind for this country.

Second, the attitude of the citizens prevents restoration given the fact we are so extremely and bitterly divided in this country. If government doesn’t manage to cause TEOTWAWKI which then leads to Civil War then Civil War which eventually leads to TEOTWAWKI will be sparked by the hatred which exists between citizens in our society. A recent example of that hatred involved participants in the Moms Demand Action gun-control group who openly voiced their desire to see licensed firearm carriers killed for exercising their Second Amendment right in public. Some of them were even encouraging the idea of calling the police to report a man with a gun in the hope the police would show up with guns blazing. (source: That is how much they hate their fellow citizens who have a difference of opinion when it comes to the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Since there are no peacemakers capable of making peace between the left and right, it’s only a matter of time before that level of hatred, bitterness, and anger sparks a Civil War in this country and that will consequently cause TEOTWAWKI.

Another benefit which can be gained through TEOTWAWKI is that people undergo a situation which causes them to rethink their attitudes and priorities. Keep in mind many of the social problems which exist in our country today are not found in many third-world countries which have much lower standards. I believe we developed our particular set of cultural issues because of the fact we have enjoyed so much progress, we have higher standards, and life is actually pretty good here. Most of our poorest citizens live better than kings of the Middle Ages.

For example, most Americans don’t know what it’s like to breath the polluted air in Beijing or New Delhi, but the smog-tainted air of Los Angeles is fairly clean by comparison. As a result of always having fresh air some people have developed a heightened sensitivity to offensive odors. Their intolerance goes beyond cigarette smoke to include factories, breweries, livestock farms, slaughter houses, canneries, and other odor-producing facilities. Never mind the useful products, jobs, and economic benefits which are generated by these facilities; the hyper-sensitive work very hard to ban the odors as a public nuisance. They would rather the business shut down or relocate than tolerate offensive smells in their neighborhood (e.g. hot sauce factory in Irwindale, CA). Such a thing doesn’t happen in China or India, for they simply go about their business without giving much thought to their nostrils.

Our grocery stores are always well-stocked and we have the ability to choose what kinds of food we consume. Some people have chosen to avoid animal products entirely and the extreme practitioners have formed groups such as PETA to protest the “murder of animals” as a food source. Other health-conscious people complain about obesity and how our food is too high in salt, sugar, fat, cholesterol, etc. You won’t hear such complaints in starving countries, for they eat whatever they can get their hands on and be thankful for it. However, here in America our solution is to impose bans and restrictions of all kinds. Never mind countless high school students are now skipping lunch entirely and cafeterias are operating in the red while throwing out more food than ever, politicians take pride in forcing schools to provide a healthy lunch.

In countries were civil war is happening it is not uncommon to see people carrying firearms in public, even full-auto rifles. They do so not only because they can, but because survival depends on it. This isn’t necessarily true in America as most citizens would say it is a relatively safe country. Most citizens today live out their entire life without ever owning a firearm. Some of them are saying America is so safe we no longer have a “need” for firearms, especially the “scary-looking” ones. Of course, they are working very hard to ban them entirely despite it being a right secured by the US Constitution. They are truly no longer Americans in spirit given the fact they have total contempt for our fundamental document which outlines how we are all going to live in this country. The rights secured by that document used to be our “common sense” (knowledge which is common to all), but now we each have a different definition of what “common sense” means and people who can no longer admit they are wrong argue about who is right.

I am citing only three examples, but, if I can say so delicately, we’ve become a nation of ban-happy pansies. The general attitude of Americans has seemingly changed from, “I don’t like X, but others do, so let X be for their sake” to “I don’t like X and those who do like X should not like it either, so we must ban X entirely.” Sadly, their efforts are working! Freedom-lovers are losing more of their rights and privileges every day (even the things they simply enjoy doing, watching, or consuming for personal pleasure) and there is no hope of reversing this trend. We have become so spoiled in this country that many citizens can choose to behave like divas as the expense of everyone else. Knocking them off their high horse and bringing them back to reality will require nothing less than a TEOTWAWKI situation. Divas would quickly get over themselves if America suddenly became like a third-world country.

Again, I am not minimizing how difficult TEOTWAWKI and/or Civil War would be to endure, but am saying it would bring some unexpected and welcome restorative changes in our country. With so many bigger things to worry about people would have greater tolerance of the little things. Political correctness would no longer exist. There is nothing which can restore appreciation for freedom, all kinds of freedom, as living through martial law. People would regain their respect and appreciation for the firearm as a useful and desirable thing to have. When government is seen to be the tyrant it really is then fewer people will rise up in defense of it, so a certain measure of truth, real truth, will once again be important to consumers of news. It is inevitable, but if it doesn’t happen soon then my children and grand-children will be left to deal with it, so I’d much rather be the one to endure the hardships now so they might enjoy greater freedoms and peace in future years. It would be incredibly difficult to endure, but better it be me right now given I am prepared for it.

To briefly summarize, there are some people who are working hard to create the very chaos which may bring about TEOTWAWKI. They are like a juggler expertly tossing a dozen balls into the air creating an incredible display which is both seemingly chaotic yet tightly-controlled, but it only takes one momentary loss of control for everything to come falling down at once. That could very well be how government creates TEOTWAWKI. Meanshile, the citizens are so bitterly divided and angry they may one day spark TEOTWAWKI themselves. It almost started at Bundy Ranch, NV last Spring, again during the Summer in Ferguson, MO; and other opportunities for it to happen currently exist in States where firearm confiscation is being implemented or considered right now (such as CA or CT). One way or another, TEOTWAWKI is bound to happen.

In conclusion, my purpose in sharing these words are to encourage others to 1) be mindful of how government operates by using chaos to implement change, 2) avoid wasting time, money, and energy protesting chaos (social issues, political problems) as you’ll only be ignored, 3) form your own conclusions and follow your intuition regardless of what major news outlets are reporting, 4) know Civil War and TEOTWAWKI are inevitable, and 5) plan for a long-term crisis. Be prepared

Types And Effects of Nuclear Weapons, The Basics

by contributor Ron G

NUKE WW3Think of this as a primer if you will. It is written to cover the basics that will matter most to you as a prepper. I am intentionally leaving out a lot of technical jargon; there are others willing to throw that out at you. There will be some terms and concepts that do need to be understood. One I will use a lot is Ground Zero (GZ).

Ground Zero is that point on the surface of the earth directly under, at, or over, a nuclear detonation. Your location, distance, and direction, from GZ is very important.

It’s important that you understand that there are four types of nuclear detonations or “burst”. Sub Surface Burst, Surface Burst, Air Burst, and High Altitude Burst.

All nuclear burst will produce the same basic effects, blinding light, tremendous heat, massive blast wave, radiation, and the electromagnetic pulse. However, the type of burst will greatly determine the degree of each effect upon the target.

A Sub Surface Burst is one that occurs underground in which the fireball produced does not break thru to the atmosphere. The ground will shake and there may be a surface collapse at GZ but on the surface there will be no radiation or EMP released or blast wave. Really nothing to be concerned with and I mention it only because they have been used during weapons design testing programs in the past.

A Surface Burst is a detonation on or near enough to the surface where the fireball touches the earth’s surface. This is the one we almost always see in the movies and in illustrations for articles like this. There will be a brilliant flash of light, a massive fireball, and an intense outward-bound blast wave outward from GZ. As the fireball starts to rise a second blast wave, this time returning towards GZ, arrives and brings with it massive amount of debris. This debris is forced upward into the fireball and creates the stem of the familiar “Mushroom Cloud”. At GZ there is total destruction and depending on the size, design of the weapon, and to a degree the terrain, the area of total destruction can be considerable. Large areas of partial and incomplete destruction will extend even further.

Meanwhile the Mushroom Cloud continues to rise through the atmosphere, the stem discontinues and temperatures inside the fireball start to cool down. As it cools the prevailing winds will start to push the fireball downwind. Material inside the fireball, now radioactive, cools and starts to fall, largest, heaviest material first. By the time it reaches 30,000 feet the fireball will appear to be just another cloud but this cloud will be leaving behind a trail of radioactive fallout for several hundred miles.

GZ will not be survivable and will be radioactive for a long time. The further away from GZ you are the better your chances. A safe distance downwind will be much further than a safe distance cross or upwind.

An Air Burst is a detonation in which the fireball does not touch the surface of the earth. It has all the other characteristics of a Surface Burst but there is no Mushroom Cloud and most important there will be no significant fallout. What the Air Burst will do however is create a much larger area of destruction. It does this by creating three blast waves.

As the expanding blast wave (or initial wave) strikes the surface of the earth, it is reflected off the ground to form a second shock wave traveling behind the first. This reflected wave travels faster than the initial wave since it is traveling through air already moving at high-speed due to the passage of the initial wave. The reflected blast wave will merge with the initial wave to form a single wave. This is called a Mach wave. The over-pressure at the front of the Mach wave is generally about twice as great as that at the initial blast wave. If you have trouble picturing this try thinking of a ripple hitting the edge of a calm pond. This deflected wave becomes a second wave. The third wave will be the displaced air mass returning to GZ.

These types of detonation will double the area of destruction without the messy fallout. You can see the military advantage of this type of detonation. GZ will not be survivable but will not be radioactive for long. The distance from GZ you will need to survive the destructive blast are much greater but fallout will not be an issue.

Last of all is the High Altitude Burst. A detonation above 100,000 feet is a High Altitude Burst. No blast damage. No fallout. Your personal physical threat from this would be the potential flash blindness from the initial burst. The purpose of this type of detonation is the Electro Magnetic Pulse.

Lets review. A Sub Surface Burst is really not a military option. Surface or Air Burst, if you are at or are too close to GZ you are either toast or soon to be toast. If it was an Air Burst fallout is not a threat. If it was a Surface Burst and you are located far enough up or cross wind you should be in good shape. If you are downwind…

Fallout. Fallout is material that was made temporarily radioactive in the fireball through a process called ionization. It has a known decay rate.

There are multiple layers in the atmosphere; each layer is capable of having different wind speeds and directions. As the fireball becomes a fallout cloud and raises and lowers thru each layer the winds in that layer will have an effect. Lower levels will have less effect while upper levels will have more. In predicting where the fallout will go it helps to be a weatherman. Generally Continental US weather patterns flow from the South to North and West to East. But, there are seasonal variations. Understanding Highs and Lows and where you are in relation to them, would be useful information. Knowing that your westerly winds are the lower part of an upper level low that is moving south you can determine that the fallout will mostly travel south and east. (I once had to explain why surface winds have no effect to an Air Force General. The Major who ran the DoD weather school just sat there and grinned.

Fallout Protection is all about Time, Distance, and Shielding. The longer it takes for fallout to arrive the less there will be. If you are in a safe space, the longer you wait to go out the less you will be exposed to. The greater the distance between you and fallout that has arrived the less radiation you will be exposed to. The more mass between you and the fallout the less radiation will reach you. I think everyone understands these concepts well enough.

The next topic is very important. Targeting in Nuclear War.

In an all out war the first strikes will be against an enemy’s ability to strike back. Missile Silos, Bomber and Submarine Bases, and Command and Control Centers will be the first targets. Major military bases, seaports and manufacturing centers would be secondary. In a nuclear war most targets are going to be hit with Air Burst. Let me say it again. In a nuclear war most detonations are going to be Air Burst. (ICBM Silos and Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado will be exceptions to this). Fallout will be a problem, but probably not to the extent most of us think. Nuclear Winter? Forget about it. Totally made up bull!

One last thing, if you are outdoors and see an unexplainable, sudden, intense, flash of light and cannot identify the source, immediately drop to the ground, close your eyes, and cover your ears and open your mouth. You want to protect against flash blindness and the oncoming over-pressure of the blast wave. Remember, there will be a second blast wave in the opposite direction, so don’t be in a hurry to get up. Of course you may be far enough away that the wave(s) may never get there. Count that as a blessing.

M.D. Creekmore adds : If you’re interested in learning more about this subject (you should be) then I suggest that you order a copy of Nuclear War Survival Skills: Lifesaving Nuclear Facts and Self-Help Instructions

Ideas for SHTF transporta​tion

by M Dotson

Alright, we’ve got our Bug Out Bag (BOB) filled with all the essentials of getting from here to there safely. Flashlights, food, bullets and fire makers are all stashed in their own special place in the hopes we never have to use them. We have publications, tools and weapons we want to bring with us. It’s all been calculated and planned down to the last ounce. We’ve drilled and practiced until its second nature to grab the BOB and jump into our predefined spot in the vehicle.

We ensure the primary vehicle maintains that certain level of gas to get you there. You have a seat for everyone and you have worked out where everything needs to be in case things get ugly. You know who’s driving and who’s shooting. The vehicle is maintained at a high state of readiness; few extraneous items are left in the vehicle in preparation for BOB’s and bodies.

So, what happens when all these carefully worked up plans goes to hell in a hand basket if you can’t start your vehicle? What happens when that EMP hits the vehicle and turns it into a 2.5 ton paperweight? Well, now is the time to ask that question and plan for the answer. It will probably involve walking.

I’ve noticed that kids today will stand and wait for a ride to keep from having to walk. I’ve had my own children give me that look when they were told to walk. I also got a different kind of look from their doting mother.

If cars and trucks are disabled due to an EMP, or series of them, we’ll have to find a different mode of transportation. Older vehicles that have points and condenser will still operate. The newer ones might not, depending on where they are and the strength of the EMP. Planes may fall from the sky.

I’m no expert on EMP’s, but the point of this is alternate transportation in the event your existing mode of internal combustion propulsion is suddenly removed from your control. The most obvious choice would be a form of a cycle; bicycle, tricycle and you can even get a quadcycle. The most common form would be the bicycle, and a pair of high quality walking/hiking shoes

During the Viet Nam conflict tons of supplies moved down the Ho Chi Min Trail on bicycles. The Vietnamese would sling a couple of hundred pounds of beans or bullets on a bike and walk it to where it needed to go. Sometimes they’d tie a bamboo stick to the handlebars so they could push and guide easily. After delivery, they’d simply ride the bikes back up north to get more supplies.

There are small, lightweight trailers one can attach to the back in order to tow. There is also a wide variety of attachments such as horns, bells and lights as well as baskets and saddlebags. One can usually find a beater bicycle for free. The tires will be flat and dry rotted, it’ll be rusty and the seat will be water-logged from sitting outside. But, for just a few dollars, far less than what a new bike would cost, a new seat and tires can be purchased. Squirt a little used motor oil on the chains and repack the bearings with grease.

Additionally, one of the vulcanizing inner tube patching kits would be a must to keep on the bike. sells the

Park Tool VP-1 Vulcanizing Patch Kit for $3.50. It also sells a decent manually operated tire pump sells for about $15.

It may not be the first choice to get where you’re going, but it will get you there eventually.

Testing the Shielding Effectiveness of a Metal Garbage Can

by Dr. Arthur Bradley, author of Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms

Many people are looking for an inexpensive Faraday cage to protect personal electronics from a nuclear-generated EMP. Unfortunately, it requires quite a bit of test equipment to determine shielding effectiveness. On the transmit side, it requires a signal generator, a high-power amplifier, and a broadband antenna. The receive side requires a small, battery-operated spectrum analyzer. I’ve done quite a bit of testing on various makeshift Faraday cages, and this article discusses the effectiveness of a metal garbage can.

fareaday cage trash can

A baseline open air measurement is first taken to determine the ambient field levels at some predetermined frequency (i.e. 500 MHz in this case). The levels at the spectrum analyzer are shown to be at -36 dBm.

When placed inside the garbage can, the measurement is shown to be -46 dBm, meaning that the can offered 10 dB of shielding. Not too great!

fareaday cage trash can

Much of the energy was believed to be coming in through the seam around the lid. It was, therefore, taped with conductive tape and the measurement repeated.

fareaday cage trash can

Next, the spectrum analyzer is placed into a metal garbage can, and the measurement is repeated.

fareaday cage trash can

fareaday cage trash can

The new measurement was shown to be at -77 dBm, meaning that the taped can offered 41 dB of protection. Much better!

fareaday cage trash can

This experiment showed that a metal garbage can can serve as a very good Faraday cage, but only if the seams are taped. Remember, it is not small holes that matter most, but rather long narrow slots, such as those around the lid’s seam. Expensive EMI copper tape and cheap aluminum duct tape both worked equally well, so a quick stop at the hardware store will get you what you need.
To learn more about EMP protection, check out Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms. Also, to find the highest quality EMP bags, see

A Possible “EMP” Hit on a Solar Power System — And How To Reduce The Risk

Today we present another article in our non-fiction writing contest – By Prepper Doc

emp protection.EMP is just a super-duper version of regular old radio frequency interference. With enough signal strength to blast past the reverse voltage limits of most semiconductors, an EMP attack is expected to destroy many solid-state radios, computers, controllers, etc. I *may* have had my own small “EMP” caused by my own ham radio station, and this article explains what I learned.

My solar power system is based on Outback inverters & charge controllers, so I had their computerized Mate3 monitor installed. This is a very compact little special-purpose computer that displays current and daily total power at multiple points throughout the entire solar power system, including panels, chargers, batteries, inverts, circuits and power being sent back to the utility. In my case, I had it connected via cat5 cable to a nearby private WIFI router so I could read the results from my easy chair. (NOT connected to the Internet!)

I subsequently put up a new random-length dipole antenna, fed with an antenna tuner, and got a linear amplifier working, and was finally able to get a fairly powerful signal out. The antenna end was just about exactly over the Mate 3 controller, about 20 feet above it. Do you see where this is going?

I can’t be sure that these are related, but my previously reliable Mate3 suddenly died, acting as if its startup-circuitry was either fried or reprogrammed: it would perform initial self checks, but then would go in circles, refusing to go on to the actual monitoring task. No amount of resetting made any difference.

Of course, it could have been a lighting-related event, or just a component failure, but the recent antenna and ham shack work made me wonder if the high voltage field at the end of the dipole on some frequencies might have been related?

I decided to attempt to build a mini-faraday shield around the Mate3 by enclosing it in a homemade cardboard box, cutting holes as needed to access buttons and see the screen, and then wrapping it with copper-backed adhesive tape [1]. I soldered connecting wire between the different copper tapes. Although the holes certainly allow some RF energy access, they aren’t great access for frequencies with wavelengths many meters long — and most of the energy from EMP is below 100 MHz. I also (for now) removed the cat5 connection to the router, figuring that was another “antenna” that could pick up electromagnetic energy.

The antenna is still there, and I’m back to full power — and the replacement Mate3 is soldiering forward without any apparent problems. So maybe my idea worked. At any rate, although this isn’t a perfect shielding, I would imagine it is probably 20-30 dB better shielding than nothing against a real EMP! If you look in the photo, you can also see the blue glow from the LED’s in the heavy-duty surge protectors that I have also added to both DC and AC lines throughout the solar panel system. [2]

[1] Copper shielding tape, 2″ wide. Available from multiple suppliers, beware there are significant price differences. Here is a reasonable one:

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Broken Foundation: US power grid nation’s biggest danger?

A Wood Cookstove is a Must Have!

Would a Long-Duration Blackout Cause Nuclear Armageddon?

By Dr. Arthur T. Bradley

nuke 2According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, there are sixty-one active commercial nuclear plants spread across the United States. A question on the minds of many is what would happen to those plants if the nation experienced a widespread, long-lasting power outage? Let me start by saying that there is a quite a bit of misinformation on the web about this subject, so my advice is to be careful about what you choose to believe.

Many of you may know that I have a background in science and engineering (Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering), so I believed that if I could talk with a knowledgeable person working in the nuclear power industry, I could get to the bottom of this question. To find answers, I consulted Jim Hopson, the Manager of Public Relations at the Tennessee Valley Authority. As readers may point out, it was in Mr. Hopson’s interest to assure me that nuclear plants are safe, but to be fair, I found him to be forthright about the industry’s safeguards and vulnerabilities.

Probably the best place to start is with a basic discussion of how a nuclear power plant operates. There are two types of reactors in the U.S., boiling water reactors (BWRs) and pressurized water reactors (PWRs). For purposes of our discussion, the differences in their operation aren’t terribly important. Nuclear reactors use an atomic process called fission to generate heat. The heat is then used to create steam that turns large turbines to generate electricity. The steam is later condensed and returned in a closed-loop process within the reactor system.

The nuclear reaction itself is beyond the scope of this brief write up (and my expertise), but the gist is that an energetic neutron is absorbed by a uranium-235 nucleus, briefly turning it into a uranium-236 nucleus. The uranium-236 then splits into lighter elements, releasing a large amount of energy. The physical system inside the reactor consists of tens of thousands of nuclear fuel rods placed into a water bath. The rods are essentially long metal tubes filled with ceramic nuclear pellets that are bundled together into larger assemblies. Trivia bit… a nuclear fuel pellet is about the size of a pencil eraser but equivalent in energy to one ton of coal.

The risks of nuclear power are many, but two stand above the rest. The first is that the fuel assemblies in the reactor might overheat. That would only occur if the fission process became uncontrolled or if the cooling system failed. Should overheating occur, the fuel rods’ zirconium cladding and nuclear materials could both melt, resulting in a nuclear sludge akin to molten lava. That slag would be so hot that it might melt through the bottom of the reinforced reactor. Eventually, it would cool enough to harden, but not before it had spewed nuclear contaminants into the air. Melting zirconium also releases hydrogen, which could lead to an explosion that might actually expel the nuclear material into the surrounding area—think Fukushima.

The good news is that nuclear fission can be stopped in under one second through the insertion of control rods. Those control rods are automatically inserted near the fuel rods either by a hydraulic system or through the use of an electromagnetic deadman switch that activates when power is removed. That means that when the electrical grid goes down or an emergency shutdown is initiated, fission would automatically stop one second later. That’s a good thing, but it doesn’t make the reactor inherently safe. Even without fission, the fuel rod assemblies remain incredibly hot, perhaps a thousand degrees C. If they were not actively cooled, pressure and temperatures would build in the reactor until something breaks—not good. After three days of active cooling, however, the reactor would be thermally cool enough to open, should it be deemed necessary to remove the fuel rod assemblies.

The second major risk has to do with cooling of the spent fuel rod assemblies. Nuclear fuel rod assemblies have a usable life on the order of 54-72 months (depending on reactor type). Every 18-24 months, the reactor is brought down and serviced. While it is down, the fuel rod assemblies are removed, and 1/3 of them are replaced with fresh assemblies. Think of this like rotating cans of food in your emergency pantry. In the U.S., fuel rods are not refurbished like in other countries. Instead, they are carefully stored in giant pools of water laced with boric acid—imagine a swimming pool at your local YMCA that is 75-feet deep. Those spent fuel rod assemblies are still incredibly radioactive, and they continue to generate heat. Water in the pool must therefore be circulated to keep them cool. How long must the fuel rods be cooled? According to Mr. Hopson, the answer is 5-7 years. After that, the rods are cool enough to be removed and stored in reinforced concrete casks. Even then, the rods continue to be radioactive, but their heat output can be passively managed.

Nuclear plants obviously require electricity to operate their cooling pumps, not to mention their control systems. That power is normally tapped off of the electricity that the reactor generates. If the plant is offline, the power is provided by the electrical grid. But what happens when the grid itself goes down? The short answer is that large on-site diesel generators automatically activate to provide electricity. And if those should fail, portable diesel generators, which are also on-site, can be connected. Recent standardization has also ensured that generators can be swapped between plants without the need to retrofit connectors.

There are also a couple of additional emergency systems that can be used specifically to cool the reactor. These include the turbine-driven-auxiliary-feedwater pump, which uses steam generated by the reactor to power a cooling turbine. The pump requires an operator, but it runs completely without electricity. This system, however, is meant only for emergency cooling of the reactor during those critical first few days when the fuel rod assemblies are being brought down in temperature, not for long-term cooling. And finally, in the worst case, most plants have a method of bringing in river or ocean water to flood the reactor. This typically damages the cooling system, but again, it helps to cool and cover the reactor core should all else fail. Unlike in other countries, permission from the federal government is not required to flood the reactor.

With backup systems to the backup systems, it would seem that there’s nothing to worry about, right? Under all but the direst of circumstances, I think that assessment is correct. However, one could imagine a scenario in which the grid was lost and the diesel generators ran out of fuel. Speaking of fuel, how much is actually stored onsite? It depends on the plant, but at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, for example, there is enough fuel to run the emergency diesel generators for at least 42 days. I say at least because it would depend on exactly what was being powered. Once the reactor was cooled down, a much smaller system, known as the Residual Heat Removal System, would be all that was required to keep the fuel assemblies cool, both in the reactor and the spent fuel rods pool. The generators and onsite fuel supply could power that smaller cooling system for significantly longer than if they were powering the larger reactor cooling system. Even if we assumed a worst case of forty-two days, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which that would not be enough time to bring in additional fuel either by land, water, or air. Nonetheless, let’s push the question a little further. What would happen in the unlikely event that the diesel fuel was exhausted?

Even with the reactor having been successfully cooled, the biggest risk would continue to be overheating of the fuel rod assemblies, both in the reactor and the spent fuel rods pool. Without circulation, the heat from the fuel rod assemblies could boil the surrounding water, resulting in steam. In turn, the water levels would drop, ultimately exposing the fuel rods to air. Once exposed to air, their temperatures would rise but not to the levels that would melt the zirconium cladding. Thankfully, that means that meltdown would not occur. The steam might well carry radioactive contaminants into the air, but there would be no release of hydrogen and, thus, no subsequent explosions. The situation would certainly be dangerous to surrounding communities, but it wouldn’t be the nuclear Armageddon that many people worry about.

The bottom line is that in the event of a long-duration blackout, several things would need to occur. First, fission would need to be halted by the insertion of control rods, a process that takes less than one second. Next, the reactor would need to be cooled for at least three days using the large diesel engines to provide electrical power. After that, the fuel rods would be cool enough that the reactor could be opened, and the plant’s Residual Heat Removal System could be used to provide cooling. That smaller system would need operate for 5-7 years to ensure that the fuel rod assemblies, both in the reactor and in the spent fuel rods pool, didn’t overheat. Only then could the fuel rod assemblies be moved to concrete casks for dry storage and final dispositioning. During those 5-7 years, electricity in one form or another would be required. If it was not maintained, radioactive contamination could be released into the air, but the temperatures of the fuel rods would not be high enough to cause a complete meltdown or the dangerous release of hydrogen.

The point of this article wasn’t to convince anyone that nuclear power generation is safe. I would argue that history has already proven that it comes with some very serious risks. Rather, it was to discuss the impact of a long-duration blackout. Specifically, it focused on the safeguards that are currently in place, and more importantly, discussed the magnitude of the catastrophe that might result if we allowed those safeguards to fail.

Arthur T. Bradley, Ph.D.
Author of the Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family, Prepper’s Instruction Manual, Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms, and the Survivalist Series

EMP Reality Check: Can You Survive Without Technology?

By Shane S – Visit his site at

POWER LINESImagine a world where there is no technology. Not because you’ve traveled back in time to the 1800’s but because someone has attacked America’s electric grid. Cell phones and computers don’t work. But that’s the least of your problems.

  • Power is out everywhere. Hospitals are no longer functional.
  • Food is limited and will probably last only a few months – if you’re lucky.
  • Trash and waste build up and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Disease spreads like wildfire. It’s not a nightmare.

It’s possible, and if it happens could you survive?

What is an EMP

An electromagnetic pulse, EMP, is a short disturbance of electromagnetic energy, either from a man-made or natural occurrence. An EMP can be damaging to all kinds of electronic equipment, and if it is powerful enough, it can even damage structures or buildings. This makes it the perfect choice for a technological terrorist attack.

I first heard about EMPs when I read One Second After, by William R. Forstchen. It’s an excellent book and really brings the scenario to life. I highly recommend you check it out if you haven’t read it.

A big enough EMP attack could wipe out power indefinitely. And could potentially be the end of our country as we know it. Most EMP’s affect a relatively small area, an attack could affect northern states from Maine to Wisconsin for example.

Although that may seem like a large area, a solar flare could easily affect double the area. However, if three EMP attacks targeted different parts of America at the same time the whole country could be affected at once.

The dangers of an EMP attack

The most obvious and initial dangers of an EMP attack would be for anyone relying and machines to live. For example, anyone on life support would die immediately or soon after the attack. Fires would break out everywhere due to surges. People traveling on airplanes would also be in danger of the plane crashing due to the loss of technology.

Those who do survive would have to quickly learn how to no longer depend on technology for everything. They would have to find new ways to cook, and new ways of keeping their family safe from harm. Prisoners would be able to break out of jails all over the country, and people would resort to stealing, looting and violence for any food or first-aid available.

Almost anything can happen

The most dangerous issue of an EMP though is the fact that anything can happen. No matter how much planning we do, or how many precautions we take, we just can’t know for sure what would happen in this scenario.

Preparing for an EMP

The best defense is a good offense as they say, and the best way to survive an EMP is to be prepared.

Faraday cage for electronics

You could try to build a massive lead structure, but as you can imagine, it isn’t very practical. The first thing you should do to prepare for an EMP is get a Faraday cage for any important electronics. This is a cage made of conductive material which can block electric fields, so electronic devices stored here would still work after an EMP.

You can make your own basic Faraday cage with heavy duty aluminum foil. It’s recommend you wrap an item in at least three layers of foil to make sure it is protected. Keep in mind however, this is a very rudimentary example and might not work in a massive EMP attack.

For greater protection, wrap the items in foil, then place them in some sort of container, such as a shoe box, wrap that box in three layers of foil and finally place the box in an aluminum trashcan or other container. It may seem like overkill now, but should an EMP occur, you’ll be glad you took this precaution.

Faraday cages can also be purchased in several stores or online. If you want the best protection for your essential electronics, and don’t mind paying a lot, consider this option. You can also use a radiation blocking material like tungsten radiation shielding.

A few suggestions of items to protect are, an old, but still working, cell phone, a laptop, a small portable stove, a radio. Just think about technical items you would most need in a blackout or other emergency and put those in.

Have cash on hand

Be sure to always keep some cash on hand, in a secure but easily retrievable location. Once the power is out, credit cards won’t work. And if you have stashed your cash in an electronic safe, you’re out of luck once again.

Remember though, after an EMP, cash will lose it’s value very quickly, as many people will start stealing or looting. Go to a store and get as much as you can as quickly as you can. Food, bottled water, extra blankets and even supplies for cooking without electricity are all things you should already have, but it wouldn’t hurt to stock up on at this point.

Be ready to collect water

Water is needed for so many daily activities, so you’ll want to have as much of it on hand as possible. Fill everything up you can think of, sinks, tubs, glasses, pots and pans. This will be used for not only cooking but washing as well. You should also have plenty of bottled water on hand too to use for drinking water.

Eventually, sewer and water plants will stop working, if they work at all after the attack, and you will need all the clean, fresh water you can get.

Get set up with solar

Solar equipment, such as a solar powered stove, can be extremely useful after an EMP, but keep in mind, if it’s not stored in your Faraday cage it will be as useless to you as your other electronics. Keep this in mind when making or purchasing the cage, and be sure it will hold everything you wish to protect.

What if you’re in your car?

Don’t forget, you could be anywhere when an EMP occurs, work, home, vacation, or even in the car. Make sure you have survival equipment within reach no matter where you are, by keeping supplies in your car as well as your home.

Always keep nonperishable food and a few bottles of water in your car, along with a first aid kit, and a few blankets. It’s also a good idea to have a good pair of shoes for each person in your family in the car, incase for any reason you must stop driving and travel on foot. Make sure your car is well maintained and running smoothly, you never know when a five minute drive could turn into a longer journey. Other important items to always have with you are, a knife, a metal container for cooking/boiling water, and a fire starter.

Be Ready to Bug Out

Any semi populated city or metropolis will be in a pure panic. Remember the situation in New Orleans with Katrina in 2005. So, there is no reason not to plan for a possible bug out scenario. An EMP is literally one of the times you may want to get out of town.

If you are in a rural setting, you may be able to buckle down and bug in. You won’t have to deal with the riots, looting, and chaos. That said, in the days after an EMP, you may find some of the urban population bugging out from the city. If you have enough land and resources, you can consider setting up a camp as a charity of sorts. The people that made it all the way to your homestead probably have some survival and planning skills that may be valuable.


Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to prevent an EMP attack, but you can be prepared. Keep these tips in mind and you will be well on your way to surviving one of the potentially most harmful and damaging attack in existence.