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I'd be more concerned about the lock on my safe. I now store at least 1 or two firearms out side of the safe at all times. I'm so much worried about an EMP strike, but more about CME's, the things that are proven to happen and WILL happen again. The strength is suspected to be pretty strong.
A lot of people assume that absolutely EVERYTHING electrical will die in an EMP strike if it's not protected... I have no idea if that's true or not. I guess it's safer to assume it will and protect against that or be pleasantly surprised if it ever happens but who knows.. maybe it will only effect those things closer to the blast? No clue.. don't know much about EMPs but did come across this website...
Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack
I know my Bullseye lantern will work as long as I can find a candle to burn in it.
I am doing pretty much what Lima has suggested, that is being able to live without power for an extended period of time. If we have a Carrington event or EMP and most electronics still work then I am fine, if not I still am prepared for loss of power during hurricanes and tornadoes.
As an electrical engineer, I agree with Tangle in that I don't believe that an EMP would have much effect on most modern equipment for two reasons. One, as Tangle said, small devices don't have enough antenna to produce much of a spike. Two, modern electronics work with signals with rise times on the 1-2 nanosecond time frame, which in order to work necessitates a lot of physical geometry and other design tactics that provides a resiliency to this type of electrical interference.
Long single conductors like telegraph, power, and older telephone systems would be most susceptible and unlike the old days, even these are now protected against surges and transients. When you look at the system as a whole there is a lot of total protection built in, giving it quite a bit of mass, so to speak.
At worst, I would expect momentary disruptions caused by power issues, much like a storm. Things with computers may need to be reset (power cycled), but I don't see a lot of things getting damaged.
I might add here, remember the ominous predictions about Y2K? Much of the same thing was claimed - power would shut down, computers would malfunction, the third world countries wouldn't be able to fix the problems and because they are connected all over the world via the internet, it would cripple banking, the Russians would attack before Y2K because their computers would go down if they waited and would be defenseless after Y2K, no gas, no financial access, no groceries because the internet would be bogged down, etc., etc., etc.
What actually happened?
Another thing to consider is how much testing equipment really does get, even if it is not formal and documented. When I worked in design and production of electronic equipment we used to do a lot of informal testing to prove that the equipment was not going to have EMI issues. The testing involved using EM generators of various sorts, such as Jacob's Ladders, Clackers (AC relays set to door-bell by wiring the contacts in series with the closed contacts), drills with bad brushes, walkies-talkies, transient generators, etc. In close proximity, these devices would put out a hell of a lot of strong interference that would temporarily disrupt nearby computers and other equipment. Of course, unless it is required for some sort of official certification, nobody is going to the expense of formally testing their equipment. For example, I believe that FM (Factory Mutual) now requires EMI testing on a lot of fire protection equipment. Even if they do formal testing, to test for susceptibility is very difficult, so instead the focus is on emissivity. Fortunately, these two EM issues are flip sides of the same coin and addressing one automatically addresses the other. Equipment that used in an EU country has pretty substantial electrical emission standards that it must meet due to CE compliance (the EU standards are much more stringent than the commercial and industrial standards set by the FCC). While CE is self certified, the only product that I ever worked on where we did go through the hassle of doing expensive testing was on a CE marked product. What this means for the average person is that regulatory standards already guard against electrical interference in products, which also means that most devices are not likely to have a problem either.
The idea that an EMP would simply fry everything electrical is, in my professional opinion, a myth that makes for good fiction but isn't something to seriously worry about.
This summary fits what you're talking about?
"Automobiles were subjected to EMP environments under both engine turned off and engine turned on conditions. No effects were subsequently observed in those automobiles that were not turned on during EMP exposure. The most serious effect observed on running automobiles was that the motors in three cars stopped at field strengths of approximately 30 kV/m or above. In an actual EMP exposure, these vehicles would glide to a stop and require the driver to restart them. Electronics in the dashboard of one automobile were damaged and required repair. Other effects were relatively minor. Twenty-five automobiles exhibited malfunctions that could be considered only a nuisance (e.g., blinking dashboard lights) and did not require driver intervention to correct. Eight of the 37 cars tested did not exhibit any anomalous response."
EE's can often detect claims contrary to known theory, e.g. charging an electric vehicle from a generator driven by the vehicle itself as it drives down the road. But it depends on how specialized the theory is. The EMP theory is a specialized field and while we (EE's) understand the principles involved, we cannot always discern the magnitude of effects. E.g. we can understand the electromagnetic fields, but we don't know the magnitude, pulse rise times, intensity versus distance, specifics of electronic devices and shielding, and in the case of a nuclear EMP, the intensity of the explosion, it's location, nor it's height when exploded.
However, generally, the length of the antenna(s) effect, i.e. conductive path(s), and even the nature of the conductive path(s) directly affect the magnitude of the effect.
It all depends.....I think that's what makes this so difficult.
The problem is, we can't generate an EMP as generated by a nuclear device to see what it would do.