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The Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack was established by Congress in 2001 to advise Congress, the President, and the Department of Defense concerning the threat of an EMP attack to our military systems and the United States itself. The EMP Commission was re-established in 2015 with its charter broadened to include natural EMP from solar storms, all manmade EMP threats, and terrorist attacks. The EMP Commission charter gives it access to all relevant classified and unclassified data collected by United States agencies.

North Korea is one of the countries with a long history threatening an EMP attack. An EMP attack does not require an accurate guidance system because the area of effect is so large. No reentry vehicle is needed because the warhead is detonated above the atmosphere.

North Korea could attack the United States by launching a short-range missile from a freighter or submarine or even attached to a high altitude balloon. This attack could potentially take down 75 percent of the nation’s fragile electrical grid.

Within the past few weeks Japan, several Asian nations and the United States have all increased their anti missile defenses. Why would they all be doing this if they were not expecting some trouble?

As of June 23, 2017 there have been 596 terrorist attacks worldwide with 4,044 fatalities. There are at least 6 radical Islamic groups responsible for these attacks and none of the statistics take gang related terrorism into account.

You may not consider gangs as terrorist organizations but consider the definition of terrorism: The unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims. Considering this definition we must also include individuals and groups who would like to bring down governments.

Why this depressing discussion? We can and should prepare should terrorism hit close to our home.

I looked up the recommendations from Homeland Security and discovered the following plan of action that you can be working on right now:

1. Create an emergency communications plan.

Choose an out-of-town contact your family or household will call or e-mail to check on each other should a disaster occur. Your selected contact should live far enough away that they would be unlikely to be directly affected by the same event . Contacts should know they are the chosen contact. Make sure every household member has that contact’s, and each other’s, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers (home, work, pager and cell). Leave these contact numbers at your children’s schools, if you have children, and at your workplace. Your family should know that if telephones are not working, they need to be patient and try again later or try e-mail. Many people flood the telephone lines when emergencies happen but e-mail can sometimes get through when calls don’t.

Sound familiar? It should if you have been preparing with us for very long. Do you have a contact person and do all your family members have their contact information?

2. Establish a meeting place.

Having a predetermined meeting place away from your home will save time and minimize confusion should your home be affected or the area evacuated. You may even want to make arrangements to stay with a family member or friend in case of an emergency. Be sure to include any pets in these plans, since pets are not permitted in shelters and some hotels will not accept them.

Again, sound familiar? Have you done this?

3. Assemble a disaster supplies kit.

If you need to evacuate your home or are asked to “shelter in place,” having some essential supplies on hand will make you and your family more comfortable. Prepare a disaster supplies kit in an easy-to-carry container such as a duffel bag or small plastic trash can. Include “special needs” items for any member of your household (infant formula or items for people with disabilities or older people), first aid supplies (including prescription medications), a change of clothing for each household member, a sleeping bag or bedroll for each, a battery powered radio or television and extra batteries, food, bottled water and tools. It is also a good idea to include some cash and copies of important family documents (birth certificates, passports and licenses) in your kit.

Copies of essential documents-like powers of attorney, birth and marriage certificates, insurance policies, life insurance beneficiary designations and a copy of your will-should also be kept in a safe location outside your home. A safe deposit box or the home of a friend or family member who lives out of town is a good choice. 

Heard that before? Check out this Meridian article for tips when compiling a 72 hour kit. 72 Hour Kits: A New Look

4. Check on the school emergency plan of any school-age children you may have.

You need to know if they will they keep children at school until a parent or designated adult can pick them up or send them home on their own. Be sure that the school has updated information about how to reach parents and responsible caregivers to arrange for pickup. And, ask what type of authorization the school may require to release a child to someone you designate, if you are not able to pick up your child. During times of emergency the school telephones may be overwhelmed with calls.”

Yes, we have discussed all of these in depth over the past eight years. Are you ready? Have you acted on our recommendations?

Leo Tolstoy said: “Remember then: there is only one time that is important — now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.”

We have a power today to begin or renew our efforts. Talk to your family now, not to freighten but to inform. During an emergency we can only rise to our level of preparation.

In our next article we will discuss what to do when an incident ocurrs.

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” Marie Curie

The following articles will help:

Back to the Future-A World Without Electricity
Is Your School Prepared for Emergencies


Requests for future articles or need help? Visit the Totally Ready facebook page for weekly tasks to compile food storage, non-food storage and kits. Contact Carolyn at