We live in an unpredictable world. There is no saying what might happen the very next moment. Out of all the dangerous catastrophic possibilities that we are surrounded by, the one that we need to be most prepared for is a solar flare storm. The sun is made up of high energy nuclear particles that are continuously undergoing the process of nuclear fusion under extreme temperature and pressure to keep it burning. There is no speck of doubt when one says that the sun is the most powerful entity in the entire solar system. It powers the solar system and more importantly our mother planet, Earth. The day it shines too bright is the day we cannot stop sweating profusely and wishing we had an air conditioner on us rather than just in our homes and offices. The times it is gone for too long, we crave for its warmth. We get oxygen from the trees that produce it through the process of photosynthesis which is again driven by sunlight. So we end up where we started, the sun is, in fact, the driving force of life on earth.
What is a solar flare?
Sun is continuously emitting light produced due to the process of nuclear fusion. In layman terms, a solar flare is a solar eruption. It occurs when there is a sudden blaze of brightness. This bright flash can be observed on the surface of the sun and is accompanied by strong emissions of a broad spectrum. They produce an abundant amount of energy. At times, coronal mass ejection, described as the ejection of an abnormally large size of the magnetic field and plasma from the sun also accompanies the bright flares. This eruption or ejection from the surface of the sun is further constituted of electrons, atoms, and ions all of which are released into the atmosphere. The Earth becomes the recipient of this flare after approximately two days of the occurrence of the solar flare on the sun.
How can a solar flare affect the earth?
The sun affects the earth. If the sun experiences an abnormal eruption of the particles, it is composed of then it is bound to have an impact on the earth. A solar flare is known to has a severely negative impact on the weather conditions of the earth. Since the eruptions are composed of magnetic particles, a solar flare is capable of exciting a solar wind which is further made up of highly energized particles. These particles have a significantly dangerous effect on the magnetosphere layer of the earth’s atmosphere. It increases the intensity of radiations which affects the astronauts and the spacecraft.
If a coronal mass ejection also accompanies a solar flare storm, then the former can impair satellites and incapacitate the terrestrial electric power grids. As a result of this, the entire earth may be out of electricity for months. It may also have an impact on the radio communication making it impossible for reliable communication to take place from any source. This very phenomenon is capable of marking the end of the modern civilization.
What do you need to do?
The sun is a gigantic ball of gases, superheated to extreme temperatures. You cannot prevent anything that may happen in it. You cannot even fight off a solar flare when it does come. What you can do is protect yourself from the intense effects that it can have if you meet it unprepared. Preparation is the key to everything. The biggest challenge that a solar flare brings with it is a power outage. The power will be gone for sure, but how long that is something that no one knows. Since a solar flare affects the satellites as well, one cannot even predict the duration of the outage. The only intelligent way to deal with this is to prepare for it. Here is what you can do:
– Arrange for an off-grid power source:This will include investment in a generator along with a lot of extra fuel to keep it running when the power is out. Be dexterous in using the generator. Since you have limited quantity of fuel, do not keep the generator running at all times, or you are sure to run out much before expected. Only start the generator when you need electricity for something. As an alternative, you can also install solar panels or a wind turbine as a backup energy supply. Solar panels are a great option because during a solar flare, the sun will power it even more.
– A UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) for your computer: You don’t want to lose valuable data on your computer just because the sun is not being your friend anymore. You can protect and access it during a power outage if you have a UPS that will not only let the computer run smoothly but will also protect it from damage due to sudden power cut and fluctuations in the voltage.
– Emergency supply arrangement: A solar flare is not a catastrophe to be taken lightly. It will disrupt life in every possible way. You need to have something to back you up and this time, not just regarding power. You need to prepare an emergency bag that will have everything that you need for survival. This will include:
- Clean water
- Cooking fuel
- A hardcopy backup of your personal and financial records because you cannot rely on virtual backups with a continuous power outage
- First aid kit
- Address book
- Bank details and documents
- Credit cards
- Keys to your vehicle
One aspect of preparation that you cannot overlook or take lightly is food. The reason being that if you are starving or eating food that has gone stale, you won’t be fit and healthy enough to see the other side of this storm, especially because it can last for months and you cannot survive on stale or rotting food for that long. You can store canned foods and MRE or meals ready to eat. Though anything edible will be of a lot of help because there will be no power for long and you will not have enough arrangements to keep the food edible for that long a duration, MREs are different. They remain edible for a long time, independent of their storage environment. All you need is space to keep them. That space can be in your bedroom, living room, store room or basement. The outside temperature does not have an effect on the quality of food inside an MRE pack which is great in case of a power outage where you cannot store food in your fridge. They are survival foods and are made with a long shelf life which can be as long as five years and be assured that no solar flare induced power outage will last that long.
MREs are made in a hermetically sealed environment which also makes them impact resistant. The food and the nutrients in it once packed inside only see the light of the day when you open the packet for consumption. Thus, MREs retain their nutrition level and are a very healthy option of food for long term. MREs don’t require any preparation, most of them come with a self-activated heating feature that makes sure that whatever you eat is hot and healthy. You don’t miss the hot food you eat when you cook for yourself in your kitchen.
An MRE food pack has an approximate of 1300 calories that are sufficient for an adult for one day. This calorie count makes sure that you are fed and healthy even when you don’t have access to proper home-cooked food. MRE food packets also come with utensils for eating. They include plates, spoon or fork. Regarding variety, they have full three meals of the day including snacks, beverages, and desserts. MREs also supply clean drinking water that is treated to last longer than the water supply you will get for yourself from the grocery. You can obtain the MRE supplies from a military store and consolidate your food and water arrangements for good.
How to prepare for a power surge?
A solar flare induced power surge can toast anything that comes in its way. You have to be ready for it. Here’s how:
– Surge Protector for your house: Your house needs full protection in case of a power surge. You can do that by fixing a surge protector to the breaker panel in your house. This connection will safeguard your home from power surges and lightning.
– Individual surge protectors: If you cannot get surge protectors for the whole house you can get them for different electronic commodities inside the house that can go toast if unprotected from the power surge. These items will include your fridge, television, computer, stereo, etc. An alternative would be unplugging them to ensure they don’t get affected by the power surge.
How to shield from the solar radiation?
A solar flare is accompanied by a high increase of radiation exposure. What’s worse is that most of the times, we don’t know what the exact impact of these emissions will be on us. It’s only wise to be prepared to protect yourself from these emissions in the light of a solar flare. One of the easiest and most achievable ways to do that is to get yourself a Faraday Cage. This cage is nothing but a sealed metal box that is insulated. It is mostly made up of wire mesh or solid wire. This wire has to be insulated end-to-end to ensure that nothing can come in its contact.
You can keep small electronics like laptops, radio inside the box post which you can cover the box with aluminum foil. If you have time on your hand, you can build a box around the larger electronics such as your fridge and television.
A catastrophe is a catastrophe. All you can do to reduce its impact is to prepare for it so you can deal with it better. A solar flare storm can get quite intense and without thorough preparation, you cannot expect to survive the odds. You have to know that once a solar storm is declared, all you will have is 12 to 15 hours to make sure everything is in place. In that short duration, you cannot arrange everything. It is better to keep a watch on the weather conditions, especially if it gets too hot and keep making arrangements at a steady pace, so you are not surprised by the announcement. Always remember, good preparation can get you through everything.