Cooking without electricity or other public utilities doesn’t have to be difficult. If you are using a wood stove for heating (as described in Part 2), the hot surface of the wood stove provides an excellent platform for cooking most meals. Standard pots and pans can be placed on top of the stove and heat up as efficiently as a standard stove top.
In addition to the wood stove, many cooking duties can be performed by a solar oven. A simple solar oven can be constructed in under an hour from readily available materials. A cardboard box, some black paint, aluminum foil, and a old pane of glass are all that’s required to make an efficient, sustainable cooking solution.
Solar ovens are an excellent survival option because they do not require maintenance, have no moving parts, and it is nearly impossible to burn food cooking in this manner. On a sunny day, the internal temperature of a solar oven can easily reach temperatures of 200 degrees; plenty of heat to cook any meal without burning. A solar oven does require significantly more cooking time than a conventional oven so it is advisable to put a meal in the oven in the morning and expect to have it ready in time for dinner.
Protecting Your Electronic Devices
Although it isn’t practical to protect most of the electronics in your home there is certainly value in protecting some things from permanent damage. TVs, personal computers, and MP3 players won’t do you much good in a post-apocalyptic world. Shortwave radios, weather radios, flashlights, and power generation equipment could become very helpful following an EMP and should be protected whenever possible.
There is a method designed to protect electronics from strong electromagnetic pulses known as a Faraday cage. Named after a scientist who discovered the designs ability to shield equipment from electromagnetic waves, a Faraday cage is a versatile tool that can be constructed very easily in any size depending on your needs.
Contrary to the name, a Faraday cage doesn’t have to be a cage at all. Commercially available units are commonly made in a cage configuration using copper mesh and solid aluminum but a simple Faraday cage can be made using aluminum foil and a steel trash can.
When constructing your own Faraday cage, you have to consider how many devices you are trying to protect. This dictates the size of the unit you are creating. A steel trash works well for a few household items but it is hardly big enough to fit a portable generator or other electrical device that you may need following an EMP attack. Maybe you decide that you want to ensure the functionality of your vehicle. This requires a large Faraday cage. Many survivalists have successfully been able to successfully convert their garage into a large, walk-in Faraday shielding device capable of protecting a vehicle and many other household items that could be useful in a survival situation. This can be done by constructing a cage of fine mesh caging inside the entire garage. The mesh has to protect the entire area including any doorways in order to be effective but just imagine how many electronic devices you could protect in a standard size garage with built-in Faraday shielding.
For those with more modest shielding goals, the steel trashcan makes for an excellent solution. The key to protecting electronics from an EMP is multiple layers of shielding. The more insulation from the electromagnetic pulse, the more likely it is that your electronics will remain functional after an event occurs.
The first step in constructing the trashcan cage is to assemble your electronic devices and put them into non-conductive packaging. This could be small cardboard boxes, shipping envelopes, or similar. You can fit multiple small items into a single container or separate them into individual packages. Once they are securely packaged, wrap each box in at least two to three layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. This is the first layer of protection against an EMP attack. Unfortunately, this layer of conductive material is not enough.
This is where the trashcan comes into the equation. The steel trash can acts as a second layer of protection. For this to work, the aluminum foil wrapped containers cannot touch the metal of the trashcan at all. If it does the cage will often work more like an antenna and amplify the EMP waves. An easy way to ensure they do not contact the trashcan is to line the inside of the trash can with thick cardboard. The bottom, sides, and even the lid of the trashcan should be completely covered in cardboard so there is no risk of metal-to-metal contact.
Items can now be stored in the trashcan and should be impervious to most EMP attacks. Since an EMP can occur with little or no notice, it is best to have a supply of extra electronic devices that can be permanently stored in the Faraday cage until after an EMP has occurred. Place the items in the trashcan, make sure the lid is securely fastened, and place it in a safe location until the day when they are required arrives.
As previously mentioned, larger cages can easily be made depending on your needs. Maybe you have a portable generator that you plan on using for survival. Solar panels, wind turbines, and other large survival-related electronics require a much larger enclosure. Instead of using a trash can, consider converting your garage or a small storage shed into a Faraday cage by using fine mesh fencing and surrounding the inside of the enclosure. This includes the floors, roof, and all four sides. If there is an opening in the mesh, the pulse will find its way through and damage your electronic devices.
Although a Faraday cage is not a guarantee, it is the single best method to shield your electrical and electronic devices from an EMP. Waiting until an EMP is imminent is not the time to start experimenting with various designs. Constructing adequate protection is merely a weekend project and greatly increases your chances of survival. Combined with other techniques for living after an EMP, you are well-equipped to forge a new life in a world most similar to that of your 19thcentury ancestors