One of the questions that has come up from this post, is how long would someone have to prepare for a CME to hit the earth. According to Wikipedia:
Coronal mass ejections reach velocities between 20km/s to 3200km/s with an average speed of 489km/s, based on SOHO/LASCO measurements between 1996 and 2003. The frequency of ejections depends on the phase of the solar cycle: from about one every fifth day near the solar minimum to 3.5 per day near the solar maximum. These values are also lower limits because ejections propagating away from Earth (backside CMEs) can usually not be detected by coronagraphs.
Current knowledge of coronal mass ejection kinematics indicates that the ejection starts with an initial pre-acceleration phase characterized by a slow rising motion, followed by a period of rapid acceleration away from the Sun until a near-constant velocity is reached. Some balloon CMEs, usually the slowest ones, lack this three-stage evolution, instead accelerating slowly and continuously throughout their flight. Even for CMEs with a well-defined acceleration stage, the pre-acceleration stage is often absent, or perhaps unobservable.
Satellites are in orbit observing the sun. Solar scientist can observer the formation and ejection of a CME. In the average case (489km/s) we would have about three and half days to prepare. In the worst case (3200km/s) about 13 hours to prepare.
You can get warnings on your cellphone HERE.
What is all the fuss about? Here is what happens to electrical transmission lines during a powerful CME at the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center: http://origin-www.swpc.noaa.gov/impacts/electric-power-transmission
There are some things that you might want to consider in this PDF from the Solar Max Survival Guide: SolarMAX_Executive_summary
Some things that a prepared family might want to consider after protecting their electronics devices in a sealed metal container, insulated with cardboard :
• Keep your vehicle fuel tank at least 1/2 at all times. If time top off the tanks and store some extra fuel for emergency transportation.
• Have a back up power source, generator or solar panel to charge your personal electronic devices. Solar would not require any fuel, which will be hard to procure with the power infrastructure down.
• Have food suplies for at least six months, it will take that long for government to develop alternative food distribution networks.
• Be prepared to protect your assets from those who failed to prepare.
• Have an emergency radio, capable of receiving short wave bands and NOAA weather frequencies. Some parts of the world’s power network may not have been damaged, and government facilities will be repaired first.
• Have lots of batteries on hand for the radio, or buy a hand crank powered radio.
• Have an emergency water supply and a method for purifying creek, pond and rain water. A rain water collection systems will be essential.
The exact provisions for a family unit is highly dependent on the needs of individuals in the family. The above in only a starting place for your preparedness plan.