Survival and Popcorn Cans—Protecting Your Electronics from an EMP

A few weeks ago the son of one of our local ham radio club members took orders for popcorn on behalf of the Boy Scouts. He said this year the Scouts aren’t offering popcorn in tin cans. Supposedly their new packaging is more environmentally friendly.

While two or three of us were looking over what the Scouts were selling, we decided amongst ourselves that popcorn cans are quite environmentally friendly. Who doesn’t recycle theirs by repurposing them? At our house we use a couple of three gallon cans for pet food and bird seed. They come in mighty handy.

Are popcorn cans going the way of incandescent light bulbs? It would be a shame to see them disappear because geniuses somewhere think they know better than you and I do about recycling and reusing.

A word to the wise. If you get popcorn, cookies, candy, fruitcake or other Christmas treats in a can, save the can, no matter what the size or shape. They can always be reused for something.

Here’s a practical a use to consider as part of your survival strategy. Popcorn cans or other metal containers can be put to use as Faraday cages to protect electronic devices in the event of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP).

Decide what devices you want to protect. For example, you may have spare radios, including a portable CB, FRS, or an amateur radio two meter handheld you’d like to keep among your survival gear and supplies..

Wrap each device in a plastic bag, such as the kind of bag you get from Wal-Mart or other stores. (Who says this endeavor isn’t environmentally friendly?)Then put the items in the popcorn can. For larger devices, use a metal garbage can to store them.

Make sure the wrapped devices don’t touch each other or the inside of the container. The object is to keep metal from coming in contact with other metal so there can’t be any conductance from one thing to another.

After the EMP event has passed, you should be able to rescue your electronic devices from their homemade Faraday cage and use them as you intend. If you’re seeking to make radio contact with someone else, let’s hope they protected their radio equipment as well as you.

Do you have any other preparedness related suggestions for using popcorn cans or other metal containers? Leave a comment and share your wisdom.

By the way, if you get fruitcake in a tin, send it to me. I’ll have no trouble making good use of both the fruitcake and the tin


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.

2 thoughts on “Survival and Popcorn Cans—Protecting Your Electronics from an EMP”

  1. I’m using my old popcorn cans for cracker storage.
    You might want to check out an Arts & Craft for a wooden slat box like the old fruit boxes, and hardware stores for metal screening/fabric. Plus a rubber base (Fatigue Mats). Place on a rubber mat, wrap metal fabric and staple on to the box. I use the Eletco-static bags that PC parts come in for wrapping my electronics. The bags are usually free or cheap from a PC repair shop.

Comments are closed.