An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is a short burst of energy caused by either solar flares or a nuclear blast. They instantly fry electronics – permanently killing them. Cell phones, walkie-talkies, radios, GPS units, computers, and essentially anything else electronic would instantly die in the event of an EMP.
Because of this ability, EMP weapons have been created with the aim to destroy the enemy’s technological capabilities. If a single nuclear missile detonated high enough in the atmosphere above central USA, it could wipe out most of the country’s electronics.
This fear has caused many preppers to invest in a Faraday Cage, giving them the means to protect their most valuable technology-based survival equipment.
A Faraday Cage, simply put, is a metal container with a lining on the inside that does not conduct electricity. It acts as a shield against electromagnetic energy by allowing those waves to naturally flow around the surface of the conductive container.
In order for it to protect any electronics you place in it, the inside of the metal container must be lined with a protective cover so that your electronics cannot touch any metal.
You can create a complex or a very simple Faraday Cage. First you need to select an appropriate container. Three options that would work include:
metal trash can with lid
metal cashier’s box
metal popcorn tin
Just remember that the larger the metal container, the more protective lining you will have to invest in for your Faraday Cage to work.
Let’s say you decide on making one out of a metal trash can since they are easy to find and relatively cheap while still being able to hold a fair amount of contents. Follow these 5 easy steps to turn your trash can into an EMP-proof safe for your survival electronics.
Materials You’ll Need:
metal container (shape doesn’t matter, but must fully close)
cardboard (enough to line the inside of your chosen container)
heavy gauge aluminum foil
metal foil tape
Step 1 – Choose your container
We’ve established that you are opting for a metal trash can (for the purpose of this article). It’s big enough to hold plenty of electronics while still being small enough of a container to easily keep in your garage, etc., and is cost-effective. If you have the money, shipping containers are a great prepper’s tool and cost only between $2,500-$5,000. Luckily, the thickness of your container’s surface doesn’t really matter due to something called the skin effect. This means that the energy current will naturally flow primarily on the “skin” (surface) of a conductor. The type of metal doesn’t really too much either. Silver would be the best option (very expensive), but the conductivity of nearly all metals will suffice.
Step 2 – Line the inside with cardboard (or other liner)
Now that you have your container, you must line the inside of it with enough cardboard so that no contents will be able to touch any metal. Just cut the cardboard to appropriately shape the inside of the container. If you just have an ammo box or metal cashier box you won’t need very much. A metal garbage can won’t require too much either (just make sure the cardboard bend sufficiently to conform to the trash can’s shape), but a large metal container like a shipping container would require much more (cardboard or other non-conductive lining). If you wish, you can use styrofoam sheets/blocks to line the inside (or both for added security). Do not overlook the container’s lid! The inner-facing side also needs to be lined.
Step 3 – Collect your electronics
Any electronics you consider vital in case of an emergency should go inside your soon-to-be Faraday Cage. Gather all of these devices. Some useful recommendations include cell phones, satellite phones, walkie-talkies, weather-alert systems, GPS units, AM/FM radios, or even holographic (or similar) weapon sights.
Step 4 – Wrap your electronics in tin foil (optional)
If you want to take extra precautions, you can opt to wrap your gathered electronic in heavy gauge aluminum foil. This isn’t a necessary step, but it may give you a little more peace of mind – if it does, then go for it.
Step 5 – Seal it up
The last step is just as easy as the others. Once you’ve got your container properly lined on the inside and your contents wrapped in foil, if desired, then you can place all of your electronic items inside of the container. Place your least-used or least-important of the devices on the bottom of the container and work your way to the top so that the most important device(s) will be at the very top when you open the container. Place more foam and/or cardboard on top of it all. Next, close the lid securely so that metal touches metal, and as an extra step you can tape it shut with metal foil tape, insuring a complete seal.
Once finished, your new Faraday Cage will look as inconspicuous as this:
Your standard 31-gallon metal trash can will be able to keep a lot of electronics safe and is a favorite container among many preppers. If you have the cash you can always invest in larger containers if you wish, otherwise you can pick up one of these Galvanized steel trash cans at Home Depot for around $25.00.
EMPs are a threat to modern society and many preppers base their entire bug out plans on the event of an EMP striking their city or even the majority of the United States.
This simple project can be finished in under 30 minutes and will help insure that your valuable electronics will be safe from being fried by an EMP blast, which would happen without warning.