Kim Jong-un’s hermit regime in North Korea has been grabbing a lot of international attention lately, with their ongoing string of missile tests. He’s been launching a missile a week, with each of the latest ones performing better than its predecessor.
Kim Jong-un is not someone you’d want in charge of a country that has around 20 nuclear warheads. We have all the reasons not to ignore the North Korean nuclear threat, but to stay aware and prepare!
Just a few short weeks ago I wrote to you that they had launched their first successful two-stage ICBM, which gave them enough range to reach Alaska and possibly Seattle. That launch has since been trumped by one with a potential range of 6,500 miles.
What that means is that Denver and even Chicago are now theoretically within reach of North Korea’s missiles. I say theoretically mostly because one launch doesn’t prove that they have a viable system.
Launching an ICBM and having it hit its intended target is one of the most complex undertakings mankind has ever done. So there may very well still be a host of technical details that North Korea has to correct before this can be called a viable weapon.
The biggest of those hurdles is mating a nuclear warhead to the missile. For this to happen, the nuke has to be “miniaturized.” While not on par with the type of miniaturization we find in modern electronics (like smartphones), compared to the original nuclear bombs, which were huge devices, they are tiny.
We know that North Korea has somewhere around 20 nuclear warheads; but we don’t know how big they are. So, while they are working hard on developing both their nuclear weapons program and missile program, we don’t really know if they are ready to mate the two together yet. But even if not, at the rate they are working, it probably won’t take them long.
There is also the issue of aiming the missile. While nukes make a big enough bang that being a mile or two off target really isn’t going to make much of a difference, a one percent error factor works out to 60 miles if they shoot at Denver from North Korea. That’s enough of a difference that chances are that the bomb would go off in some farmer’s field, rather than over Denver.
While these two issues are enough to cause North Korea considerable trouble, they have already overcome a number of monumental technical problems to get to where they are today. With their national policy of putting the military first, they are investing an incredible amount of time, effort and money into pushing towards becoming a nuclear power.
That alone would be something to be concerned about; but the real concern is the rhetoric coming out of Pyongyang, much of which is filled with threats to attack the United States with those nuclear weapons.
Video first seen on Fox Business.
Whether they are actually foolish enough to think that they could survive such an attack is, of course, at question. But it’s not one that we can afford to take for granted. When the discourse between countries centers around threats and counter-threats, it’s something that must be taken seriously. To do otherwise, is flirting with disaster.
You and I really don’t have much to do with whether there is an attack or not. Nor are we in the position to do much about intercepting those missiles, if they ever fly in our direction. The government has to take care of negotiations with North Korea and the military has to try to stop the missiles. We are incapable of doing anything about it.
But there are aspects of this in which we can and do have an impact; most specifically on our own ability to survive. Since we won’t be able to depend on FEMA’s assistance, we will have to depend on ourselves.
So, what are you and I to do?
If There’s a Conventional Nuclear Attack
While Kim Jong-un has not been specific about how he plans on using his nuclear arsenal to attack the USA, he has made it clear that he intends to. With no specifics given, it’s easy to assume that he is talking about taking out some major cities or military bases with a conventional nuclear attack.
That would be devastating for the lives of millions of people, but it would actually be better off for the country as a whole.
In a conventional nuclear attack, the missiles would most likely be aimed at major population centers. Which ones would depend a lot on the type of message he wants to send. If he wants to show off his military and technical prowess, he’d be more likely to pick targets that are farther from the launch point. But if he wants to do the most damage possible, he’d pick the largest population centers he can reach.
In either case, it’s not a good time to be living in a big city. If you do, you might want to consider moving if at all possible.
With a typical air burst over the center of a city, we could pretty much count on any major city being totally destroyed and everyone within a ten mile radius of the blast dying instantly. At a slightly larger distance there would be some who lived, but with major injuries that would shorten their lives and cause considerable pain.
A nuclear blast releases three major components of energy; heat, the shock wave (wind), and nuclear radiation. It is the combination of the heat and shock wave that will kill people who are closer in towards, the blast. The radiation will cause burns and sickness for those who are farther out, as well as those who are downwind of the blast, who must contend with the risk of fallout.
If you are actually far enough away from the blast that you see it happen, there is a fairly good chance that you will survive.
While the nuclear radiation will reach you instantly, it will take some seconds for the blast and heat to arrive where you are. This gives you a chance to seek cover. Ideally, what you want is something like a low concrete retaining wall, which you can lay down behind. You want to be cautious about buildings, as the blast wave can destroy them and the heat can cause them to ignite.
If you are in a building, you’re best off being in the basement, where you are protected from the direct force of the blast. But even in the basement there is a risk, as it could collapse upon you.
Once the blast has passed, you’ll need to move to a better shelter where you can wait out the fallout from the explosion. This means having a prepared shelter, preferably underground, stocked with enough supplies to meet your needs for 30 days. After the 30 days are over, it will be safe to come out.
If at any time during the 30 days you experience any symptoms of sickness, you should leave your fallout shelter and seek medical help. While it may not be anything serious, it could be the onset of radiation sickness.
There will probably be military hospitals established in the area, in addition to the normal medical services which are available. Any military or emergency service personnel could direct you to the nearest medical facility.
If There’s an EMP Attack
The bigger risk to us is if North Korea attacks us with an EMP. While a conventional nuclear attack will kill millions, an EMP would indirectly kill as many as 290 million people. The bulk of those people would die of starvation, but there would also be many who would die from the spread of disease or from the lack of medicine to treat their chronic conditions.
Ultimately, this is a much bigger catastrophe than the death of a few million people killed by a nuclear blast taking out a city. It’s also one that is easier to prepare for, giving us each a much better chance of survival.
Since generating an EMP by nuclear explosion requires exploding the bomb above the atmosphere, the energy leaves the bomb in its original electro-magnetic form. So there is no blast wave and no heat to contend with. While there will be nuclear radiation that reaches the earth, it will be dissipated across a large enough area that it won’t cause radiation sickness and there would be no fallout to worry about. The biggest thing we’ll all notice is a sudden loss of electrical power.
At first, hardly anyone will understand what has happened, as there will not be any obvious signs of the EMP, other than the loss of electrical power. Since communications will be down, we won’t have any idea that it is more than a localized event. Few will realize that communications are usually intact during a blackout, which should indicate that something more serious is happening.
By the second or third day after the event, pretty much everyone will know what had happened and will be trying to come to grips with the situation. Stores will be looted for whatever people can get and mass demonstrations will happen, with people demanding that the government take care of them. But the government won’t be able to help them. What’s left of the government won’t even be able to take care of itself.
This is the survival scenario that we are all supposedly working towards. Whether or not you believe that an EMP is a true risk to us, if you are working towards self-sufficiency you are preparing for it. More than any other scenario we can imagine, an EMP will require that self-sufficiency. The total loss of electrical power will mean that pretty much everything we depend on will be gone. We will be on our own.
That’s why it’s so important to develop a long-term survival plan. Just stockpiling food and water to get you through a few months won’t do it. For this scenario, you have to assume that the power won’t come back on and there won’t be any resupply. If there is, it will be far enough into the future that it won’t matter for the 90 percent of the population that dies.
More than anything, preparing for an EMP means developing the means to provide your own food, water and fuel, even after your stockpile runs out. Even if you have enough of a stockpile to last a year, it won’t be enough. Restoring some semblance of normality to life will take much longer than that year. But the year will be enough time to allow you to plant and harvest food to continue eating.
Your biggest concern during that year will be protecting yourself and your family from attack. All the starving people out there will be desperate and will be willing to do anything in order to eat. Killing you, so that they can steal what you have could easily be seen as a small price, when compared to their own lives.
While you might be able to fight off a small group of people on your own, you can’t continue to fight off attack after attack. You will need help. This is why it’s important to form a survival team; a group of like-minded preppers, who are all investing in surviving such an event. Together, your chances of defending yourselves and surviving will be greater than your chances will be alone.
The survival team also provides you with more hands to work together in the business of survival. While there will be more mouths to feed, there will also be more people raising food. Ultimately, this should work out to a more efficient operation, with greater harvests and more for everyone to eat.
But it will have to be carefully planned out. More than anything, you’ll need some sort of compound where everyone can live and work together. Unless you all happen to be neighbors, this probably means a place out in the country, where each of you build a shelter for your family, as well as communal buildings that you can use for meetings, storage and shared tasks.
This is the one error I have seen with most survival teams. While they might have a goodly collection of skills between them, they usually don’t have a good place to retreat to. But it’s one that needs to be resolved, if the team is going to be able to survive.
Take action on those, and you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way! Being ready to survive a blackout is one big step to take!
This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.