Solar flares are an umbrella term used in the prepper community to cover CME’s (coronal mass ejections), and solar storms. Solar flares in themselves aren’t actually that bad, even the strongest one’s ever recorded haven’t caused much damage. A CME is the thing to be worried about though, it’s basically (without getting technical) a cloud of super charged plasma that got shot out of a solar flare and was thrown out into space. A solar flare can be observed right away but a coronal mass ejection can take up to 2 days to reach earth (so we’ll have warning of it before it hits).
CME’s are usually not earth directed but every 10 years or so we get hit by one and they’ll affect communication systems, satellites and power grids. Are you ready to get scared? We’ve observed solar flares with such powerful CME’s that if they were to have hit earth… satellites would be pushed off their orbits, electrical grids would go down, and communication systems would be put to a halt. Small electronics such as your cell phone/computer would likely be spared but what good are they if the cell phone service providers and power grids are down? The repairs could take weeks to months and in that time chaos will ensue. Consider supply chains being halted, malfunctions in nuclear power plants, hospitals unable to provide proper care, and emergency services unable to respond. It should also be pointed out that solar flares and CME’s have very little effect on the human physiology. Earth does an excellent job at blocking out most of the gamma ray radiation so the primary concern should just be that electronics will be affected.
We know that killer CME’s are shot out by the sun on a regular basis, there was a big one in the 1980s that took out the power grid in Quebec, and there was a massive one in 1859 (“the Carrington event”) that set telegraph systems on fire. In 1859, the world was a simpler place where we weren’t so dependent on electronics, but if a CME of the same magnitude happened again, parts of the globe would be put back to the Stone Age. A second “Carrington event” is definitely possible within our lifetimes and with a few simple actions/plans, we can dramatically improve our chances of surviving a solar flare.
Information will be pivotal to your survival in a post solar flare disaster so learning how to operate a HAM radio will be key. Yes, it’s true that while during the geomagnetic storm you won’t be able to communicate; it will however be useful after the storm subsides. Because the damage of a CME can vary, it will be important to know just how devastating the CME was; did it just affect your region? All of North America? The globe? Knowing how bad it was will allow you make a better decision in regards to your next step. If it just effected the West coast for instance you can make plans to head East to where civilization is still standing. And if it was global, you can make plans to hunker down and survive the ensuing chaos. Because the power grid will be down, you’ll need solar panels and batteries that have been wired in such a way that they’ll be safe against a solar flare (Information on how to do this can easily be found online).
Have a Bug out Plan
If you’re living in a city and you expect the power to be out for longer than a few weeks, it’s advisable that you either leave the city or get into an urban survival group with well-armed people because society will be sure to fall apart and violence will become rampant as people become more desperate. You’ll need your essential supplies/gear pre packed and conveniently stowed away so that you can pick up and go in under an hour. You don’t just need a BOB (bug out bag) though; you’ll also need a plan with your friends and family about evacuation routes, meet up locations, and what to do in the event that someone doesn’t show up at the designated survival retreat.
Store a Minimum 3 Months’ Supply of Food and Water
The system holding society up will come to a grinding halt when SHTF. The store shelves will be picked clean within a week and they won’t be restocked for a while. Governments/Red Cross will try to provide as much food as possible to the cities but unless you want to be begging/fighting for bags of rice… we suggest you stock up for such a disaster so you can focus your energies on problems other than getting food. Just imagine how much better off you’ll be when you and your family have a nice supply of food and water at hand while everyone else is resorting to violence just for the bare essentials! Instead of buying 3 months of food and water all at once, it will be easier if you just buy a little bit extra every time you go shopping. Having food and water security will take a load off your chest when SHTF, we can’t stress it enough!
Have a Security Plan
Without emergency services being able to effectively serve and protect, there will be people/gangs taking advantage of that by looting and causing mayhem. As desperation increases among the masses so will the level of violence and so it’ll be extremely important that you have a plan in place along with the right firearms, gear to protect yourself, your friends, and your family. You’ll need at least 1 person on guard at all times (3 x 8 hours shifts), early warning systems, and enough people trained with firearms to fend off a gang of 10-20 also armed looters. You’ll also need fortifications/traps/barriers to properly protect yourself.
Have a Long Term urban Survival Plan
If a large enough solar flare/CME hits North America, we could be without power for possibly years (hope for the best, plan for the worst). Because of this, a long term urban survival plan will be needed. In this plan you’ll need to address violence, gangs, security, food, water, and anything else you deem necessary.