Facing an extreme survival situation like the one depicted in NBC’s Revolution is a nightmare for anyone, but for the unprepared it could mean the end. The report from the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack lays out the details of what Americans could expect if the country were to be hit by a high-altitude EMP attack. That world looks eerily similar to the one depicted in Revolution.
Below is an excerpt from the report describing the dire situation in the aftermath of an EMP attack (with our emphasis added).
Depending on the specific characteristics of the attacks, unprecedented cascading failures of our major infrastructures could result. In that event, a regional or national recovery would be long and difficult and would seriously degrade the safety and overall viability of our Nation. The primary avenues for catastrophic damage to the Nation are through our electric power infrastructure and thence into our telecommunications, energy, and other infrastructures. These, in turn, can seriously impact other important aspects of our Nation’s life, including the financial system; means of getting food, water, and medical care to the citizenry; trade; and production of goods and services. The recovery of any one of the key national infrastructures is dependent on the recovery of others. The longer the outage, the more problematic and uncertain the recovery will be. It is possible for the functional outages to become mutually reinforcing until at some point the degradation of infrastructure could have irreversible effects on the country’s ability to support its population.
So what happens when the power goes out? If you’re not concerned with such things, you probably stumble around until you find your flashlight and light a few candles. Under normal circumstances, those should last you a few days until the authorities and the utility companies get things running again. But an EMP attack could take the grid down for months, or longer. What if it gets cold? Even oil and gas furnaces need electricity to spark their fuels.
If you’re more prepared, you’ll have a generator and fuel for it. But how long will that last? Does your home’s oil tank contain enough fuel for an entire winter? That’s doubtful. And do you have enough gasoline, propane, or diesel to run your generator until spring? Maybe. But fuel will become scarce fast, and the means of fossil fuel production will be idled by the same EMP attack that turned out the lights. So no new production is forthcoming.
What next? If you have access, wood is a great fuel alternative. It’s been used since man discovered fire. Stockpiling wood seems plausible. But there isn’t a lot of wood in the suburbs. There is a better alternative.
There is a fuel that lasts billions of years. It won’t rot if it gets wet. It won’t gel like diesel fuel in the cold. You can stockpile it and it won’t go bad, and you can have it delivered to your door anywhere. If your food supply should last 25 years, why shouldn’t your fuel? The fuel we’re talking about is coal. This is an often-forgotten fuel source that heats homes around the world every day. The use of coal for heating homes has declined in the U.S. but is showing signs of a resurgence as Americans look for stable alternatives to imported oil at sky-high prices. Consider your survival preparations and whether or not adding a coal stove and stockpile of the black rock to your home is the right choice for you.
But what about the second survival essential we promised you? Come back next week to find out which essential survival item is hiding right under your nose.