When it comes to the difference between a power outage and an EMP attack, it's important to understand the potential consequences of each. A power outage is usually a relatively quiet experience, but the same cannot be said for an EMP attack. If you live in a populated area, you will likely be able to tell the difference between the two. During a power outage, you will still be able to access your bank accounts and withdraw or transfer funds.
However, if the power supply were cut off during an EMP crisis, you would not be able to do so. You would need to have cash on hand to survive for a while, as most stores only accept cash payments. The Congressional EMP Commission released a report that concluded that one year after a large-scale EMP or CME, nine out of ten Americans would die from various causes related to the attack. This caused alarm among several government agencies, who feared that the attack was a rehearsal for a larger-scale attack. A close reading of the official minutes of the Congressional EMP Commission reports suggests that there is a very real possibility that rebel nations and terrorist organizations could effectively attack the United States with ship-based nuclear weapons from the coast, but still in international waters.
The destructive potential of an EMP attack is what makes it so worrisome.
The sophistication, expense, and will necessary to carry out a nuclear EMP attack are almost prohibitive. An EMP attack can cause electricity to be cut off in entire countries, which also disrupts technology and creates serious problems such as defense and climate change. Additionally, EMPs generally have little direct effect on the human body, although recent research shows that certain types of exposure to EMPs can cause nervous system and brain problems. An EMP attack can be due to a nuclear explosion, the use of electromagnetic bombs, or extreme solar events that occur due to inclement weather. The same sense of “mutually assured destruction” that has prevented nuclear war for generations would also prevent an all-out electromagnetic attack. It's important to understand the difference between an EMP attack and a power outage so that you can be prepared for either situation.
Knowing what to expect in each scenario can help you make informed decisions about how best to protect yourself and your family in case of an emergency.