The Faraday Cage Fallacy: Separating Preparedness Fact from Fiction

J5 Tactical Flashlight

The Faraday Cage Fallacy:  Separating Preparedness Fact from Fiction


Preppers like to have answers for everything.  It gives us comfort to know that we are able to work through all kinds of difficulties by relying on our skill, ingenuity and will to survive.  We also are perpetual optimists because we try to find the best in every situation so that we can emerge victorious from whatever may come our way.  We are also creative as we think of ways to get through some of the most implausible situations that we can imagine. 

However, many of us can also struggle with being realistic by thinking that we can fix almost any problem and conquer any obstacle.  Unfortunately, this is not the case, and it’s important to really have a firm grasp on reality in order to not waste time, resources and energy with respect to our preparedness efforts. 

Case in point:  Homemade Faraday cages.


Chances are that most of you have read at least one article or watched a video about how to construct a Faraday cage in order to protect sensitive electronic devices against a EMP or solar flare.  However, in all reality, the chances of them really working are minimal at best.  In fact, even if you were somehow able to keep some of your devices from being fried, chances are that it will be next to impossible to use them following such a calamity in the first place.  Maybe some of them will work a few weeks or months down the line as the grid slowly recovers, but chances are that by that time it won’t matter whether or not you’re connected to the patched up grid.


An EMP or solar flare in this day and age would be a catastrophic game-changer that will throw modern life into complete disarray.  How well we rebuild will depend largely on the extent of the damage and whatever recovery plans are put in place.  Consequently, chances are that having a working phone or transceiver is not going to help much with respect to dealing with the immediate aftermath of such an event.  Constructing a protective cage that may or may not work in the first place is little more than a distraction that really provides us with a false sense of security. 

Faraday cages are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of good ideas that have little practical use in the field following a SHTF situation.  Having a fully-stocked shelter right beneath ground zero of a nuclear attack is another example of a good idea that has a minimal probability of actually serving its purpose.  If the initial blast doesn’t kill you, chances are that the fallout will. 

The same applies to using said shelter to keep you safe from the zombie apocalypse or other monumental disaster that occurs above ground.  While you may be able to buy yourself a few days if you’re lucky, using the shelter as a long-term survival option is pretty unrealistic if you really think about it. 

All of us have limited resources at our disposal, and it’s important that we focus on finding ways to use them as effectively as possible.  I can guarantee that that bunker or shelter will be compromised sooner or later.  Chances that a tricked-out bug out vehicle will become disabled, stolen or raided for parts when you’re not looking.  There’s a good possibility that the homemade respirator you put together is not going to protect you against a chemical or biological attack.

The point here is that while we should retain our optimism and will to survive no matter what, it’s just as important to have a realistic outlook on what life will be like during the aftermath.  This will allow us to develop a robust and diverse approach to preparedness that will produce real benefits once the dust settles.  It’s really easy to look at extreme disasters and catastrophes and think of ways to ride out the aftermath of their occurrence.  However, it’s also important to focus on less-sensational scenarios and take a more-realistic approach to our preparedness efforts.  This way, you’ll have a greater chance of being able to use resources and avail yourself of real options if and when that time comes.