WASHINGTON – Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea are at their highest level in many years, and while dictator Kim Jong Un apparently has back off his threat to launch missiles toward the U.S. territory of Guam, fears of a nuclear attack on an American city remain.
But wiping out a single city in the blink of an eye isn’t the greatest fear of Jeff Yago, author of the book “Lights On: The Non-Technical Guide to Battery Power When the Grid Goes Down.”
Yago warned that one electromagnetic pulse device, or EMP, if “detonated above the United States around the central part of the country, one device of a very low-yield nuclear explosion can pretty much affect every city and town from the East Coast to the West Coast.”
In an interview with “The Hagmann Report,” Yago explained that a nuclear bomb “could certainly devastate a city, but it wouldn’t have the impact on everyone else that an EMP device could.”
Yago emphasized the threat of a widespread power outage caused by an attack on the U.S. power grid.
Hear the interview:
The U.S. government knows the power grid is outdated, he said, citing study after study recommending that the nation overhaul a system that in some areas hasn’t been updated since it was built in the 1970s.
“I think this thing has been studied to death,” he said. “I think that probably the two reasons that nothing has been done is, number one is the money, and number two is, there’s just a general apathy in this country that, well, this is never going to happen.
“But you have to remember, other countries don’t look at it that way. A lot of your other countries – Russia, China, Switzerland – these countries are heavily involved in helping to provide protection for their citizenry. They do think that these events can happen, and they do want to try to do something to protect their population.”
In the U.S., however, the safety of the population does not seem to be the primary concern, he said.
“It seems like most of the preparation this country has been doing is just for continuation of government,” Yago said. “They certainly are doing preparations and making facilities available for the government, but not only are they not doing anything for the people, but I think they made a decision years ago that it’s just physically not possible for the government to be able to provide food and shelter and water for millions of people if we have a grid-down event.”
If the government isn’t going to prepare its citizens in the event of a catastrophic attack on the U.S. power grid, they must prepare for it themselves.
That is the subject of Yago’s book, “Lights On: The Non-Technical Guide to Battery Power When the Grid Goes Down.” He gave a few tips in the interview on how to survive a “grid-down event” such as an EMP attack without counting on the government’s assistance.
“Everybody should have a flashlight on them,” Yago said. “If you’re in a power outage that lasts weeks or months, some of the things you’re going to need are lighting, at least in some rooms. You’re going to need a radio that can operate on batteries. You’re going to need a way to pump water.”
An EMP strike knocking out the electrical grid would be catastrophic, since the electrical system runs food supply chains, power supplies, retail supply, banking, communications and even water distribution systems.
A complete collapse would mean no food, water, power, energy or communications for millions, and it could last for months or longer.