Spend much time researching the impact of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) and you’ll no doubt run across references to Faraday Cages. Without getting into all the physics of how they work, basically they shield electronics from the effects of an EMP.
You may not realize it but you likely already have a working Faraday Cage in your home right now — your microwave. These are said to work very well with insulating against EMP. Check with your local Freecycle groups as well as perhaps Craigslist to see if you can acquire an older microwave oven, working or not. Cut off the power cord as close to the body of the oven as you can. Place your electronics equipment inside, close the door, and place it on a wood shelf or on top of some other non-conductive material.
Another way is to obtain a galvanized trash can. The trouble though is to ensure a complete seal to prevent any of the EMP getting inside. What you can do is crumple aluminum foil around the lip of the can before putting the lid on tight. Inside the can, use wood or cardboard on the bottom for something to rest your items on and make sure none of those electronics are touching the sides of the can.
What should you put in your homemade Faraday Cage? Well, I’d not bother with things like cell phones. If an EMP were to hit, whether as the result of a solar flare or from some type of attack, odds are pretty good cell phone towers won’t be operating. Instead, I’d add a crank powered radio to keep apprised of news. Consider burning a few CDs or DVDs with copies of important papers and other information. While EMP shouldn’t really affect those disks, putting them in your Faraday Cage will help you know where they are. If you have an old laptop, maybe add it to your cage as well. While the power will be out, probably for some time, if you can rig up a solar battery charger, or find someone who has one, you’ll be in business. Two way radios would be another welcome addition. If you have diabetics in your group, having access to a working test kit would be very helpful.
What other electronics would you want to try and protect in a Faraday Cage?