Monday, August 22, 2011


Posting about the Faraday Bags reminded me of a book I read last summer: One Second After. (It was the summer of the post-apocalyptic stories as I also read On The Beach and Alas, Babylon. Nothing like some sunshine, sand, and stories about the end of the world to make for a pleasant vacation.)

One Second After describes the events after an EMP has completely disrupted modern life. With all electronics (including those in cars, computers, communications equipment, appliances, etc.) rendered useless, the supply chain quickly breaks down. When you have JIT inventories, your supply quickly goes to zero when the next truck or train doesn't arrive. Low inventories is great for cash flow, but not so hot for being prepared to survive without weekly trips to the fully stocked grocery store and pharmacy. Food becomes scarce as do medications including common place antibiotics and maintenance drugs like insulin.

In this disaster scenario, communications are down - most of the "when all else fails" ham radio gear included. Matt @ gets to the heart of the matter:
"Amateur Radio is depended upon “when all else fails.” Ham radio operators pride themselves on their “readiness, resilience, and response.” Well prepared hams have their 72-hour Go Kits, extra batteries for their fancy HTs, etc. But what if the emergency involves some sort of EMP attack? Are you ready to provide emergency communications for your community when your solid-state HF and VHF transceivers have been rendered useless boat anchors?"
I am in no way prepared for an EMP attack or even most natural disasters. My goal is to keep chipping away at being prepared by making baby steps over time - first aid supplies in the cars, extra flashlights and batteries, radios and batteries, water, food, blankets, binoculars, fire making kits, etc.

While being able to communicate with a community or across a nation, doesn't by itself solve the issues of disease and hunger, it could go a long way in providing hope. And hope might just keep society a little more civilized.

Back to the book... it isn't high art by any stretch, but it is a good read and extremely thought provoking if not downright scary.

One Second After

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