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An EMP (electronmagnetic pulse) is a phenomenon that can be caused when a device or a nuclear explosion is detonated, causing irreparable damage to electronic equipment for a radius of potentially over 900 miles. This makes electronic devices unusable, even if they’re not plugged in or battery operated. However, there are some ways you can protect your electronic equipment from potential disaster.

Faraday Cages or Shields

Faraday cages (also known as Faraday shields) are enclosures formed by conductive material, often in a mesh, that block electric fields such as an EMP. Named after English scientist Michael Faraday, who invented them in 1836, Faraday cages are not difficult to build and can help shield smaller electronics like a HAM radio — any kind of communication device that doesn’t operate off of the cellular networks (which would be down) — as well as batteries and even computers or Knowledge Vaults that have your vital information stored.

Faraday cages need to be grounded to work. If they’re not grounded, then the Faraday cage merely becomes a reflector or an amplifier. It’s also recommended that they be buried two or three feet underground to maximize their effectiveness.

Method 1: Faraday Cages with Foil

Foil is the easiest (though not the best nor most effective) way to build a Faraday cage.

First, you’ll want to measure the item or items you want to protect from an EMP attack.

Next, you’ll need to find a plastic or cardboard container or box that will be sufficient to store these items.

Use wadded scrap paper or newspaper to fill any holes in the box to keep the contents from moving around.

Use duct tape to seal the lid shut. Make sure all holes in the box are covered by the duct tape.

Now wrap the box completely using at least five layers of aluminum foil. You’ll want to make sure the box is completely covered with the layers; one layer of foil is not going to be thick enough to withstand the pulse.

The foil Faraday cage is now complete; your device is now protected from EMP.

Method 2: Mesh Faraday cages

You can build a brass mesh Faraday cage by making a box frame with some wood and attaching the mesh to the outside. Again, make the box big enough for your electronics. Make sure you clamp down or secure the access point you’ll need to use to get to your items.

You can then use layers of iron, steel, or thick layers of copper to apply to the outside around the mesh box. Make sure you have grounded the box as well

Method 3: Instant Faraday cages

There are some items around the house that will make great Faraday cages. A Microwave would work, as would a large stock pot or galvanized trash can with a lid firmly clamped.

Keep in mind that you should only save cell phones, batteries, laptops, and radios using a Faraday cage. Stuff that can work somewhat independently of deliverable electricity. Cell phone networks will be down, but the cell phone could still potentially be used for light, information (if you have a smartphone with files saved on it), or entertainment during an emergency (so you don’t go too crazy).