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Power Outage Drill

Everyone should conduct a power outage drill at least once a year. This applies to those living with alternative power as well.

Whether you consider yourself a prepper, homesteader, farmer, democrat, republican, libertarian or even an anarchist, you are a human. Humans require certain things to survive. We require shelter, food, water, heat and security. As we have evolved, we have become accustomed to niceties like extraordinary modes of transportation, ease of communication, on demand food and electricity.

Have you tried to live without these niceties before? You have probably had them all of your life or at least have gone for quite a long time without not having them. We humans have given up a lot because we have these niceties around all of the time. For example, do you have a wood burning stove and multiple quarts of wood cut up and dried? Some do but most do not. They do not have these because, if it does get cold outside, you can just turn the heat up using propane, natural gas or electricity. Because we have these alternate sources of heat, we have given up on even having a wood burning stove. So what happens if you run out of propane and natural gas? What happens if the power goes out for a long period of time?

Most people would get a bunch of blankets together and add some additional layers of clothing. If you went without for long enough you might go get a hotel room somewhere that does have heat for a couple of days. The layers of clothing only go so far, and the cost of the hotel can add up quickly. You are lucky to be able to get to the hotel because you have those other niceties. You have a speedy mode of transportation to get to the hotel. You have the security of mostly decent people and locks to your home. You have insurance in case someone does break in and steals something while you are away.

But what if you didn’t have these niceties? Would you still be comfortable? Would you live through it at all? Have you become dependent on these things that could easily go away or fail some day?


The power outage drill helps you and your family in determining just how vulnerable and how weak you and your family would be if the power went out for a long period of time. It helps you realize where your weaknesses and strengths are. This is not something you do once and assume you are good to go. You do not do this one time, change some things and then stop. You do this in different levels.

Your first drill should be during a good time of year. The weather should not be too hot or too cold.

Power Outage Drill LogThe Drill

  1. Do this when you have a couple of days off of work or can use vacation time.
  2. Take the keys to your car and put them away somewhere. Pretend they do not exist and that mode of transportation does not exist.
  3. Go outside of your home and pull the main breaker switch that provides power to your house. Kill the power.
  4. Pretend the running water to your home does not work.
  5. For your first drill use the toilets. This is just a drill there is no need to go all out the first time around.
  6. Turn all cell phones off and put them away somewhere you will not access them.
  7. Put away all electronic entertainment devices. iPods, tablets, CD players, etc.
  8. Continue this for 2-3 days.

Log Everything

Keep a journal of everything that goes on. Here are some things you will want to log:

  1. Comfort items:  What comfort items would have been nice to have. Maybe some board games or some books to read?
  2. Necessary Items:  What items were you missing that either made the situation very difficult or ended the drill.
  3. Organization:  What items could be better organize or did you move around for better access.
  4. Morality:  What attitude were you and each family member in, when did their attitude change, why did it change.
  5. Food:  Did you have enough food? Did it taste good? Were you happy with the amount of food you ate? Was it easy to prepare the food?
  6. Outside Information:  How did you, or would you, gather information about the power outage or the cause of the power outage?
  7. Communication:  How did you, or would you communicate with the participants of the drill and people outside of the drill?
  8. Evacuation:  What would you do if you were forced to evacuate? What would you bring?
  9. Other:  What else did you observe.


Level 1: Power outage for 2 days.
– Use the toilets
– Cheat if you have to but log each cheat.
Level 2: Power outage for 2 days
– Use the toilets
– No cheating
Level 3: Power outage for 4 days
– No toilets with running water
– No cheating
Level 4: Power outage for 10 days
– No toilets with running water
– No cheating

After each level review your journal and evaluate your results.

If you had to cheat, make the necessary changes so that when you go to the next level you do not cheat on that again.
If you found something very useful make sure that you have it for the next level.
Get multiples of what was useful so that if they go away or break you have a backup.

I have prepared a document you can use to log your power outage drill here:

Power Outage Drill Log Document

About Josiah Wallingford

Profile photo of Josiah Wallingford
Josiah Wallingford is a full time prepper and Permaculture Design enthusiast. He began his journey into the preparedness world in 2008. His major influences in life have been his family, friends and mentors which include Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast. Josiah has taken many walks in life for only being in his late twenties. He has worked for Hewlett Packard as a Technical Support Trainer, spent eight years in the US Army and has toured to Afghanistan. Josiah was a video on demand and network installer for Quadriga before his most recent endeavor of interning with Jack Spirko and creating Brink of Freedom. He lives with his lovely wife Holly Wallingford in their beautiful north west of Montana homestead.

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  1. Thanks for the Great article. I might use your idea on the drill for prepping my family for longer term power outages. We have a couple of days already down, having gone through a few of those in the past. Where I live, we seem to lose power several times a year.

    I have written a couple of posts on my blog about this, one being:

    I would like to respectfully point out that you used the term “morality” in your log list.. I suspect you mean Morale.

  2. Profile photo of Steve Baze

    Good idea to establish ones basis in reality on such matters. Could also include no electricity and no running water at all and even no store bought food? One of the reasons I seriously like hiking for days at a time. Keeps up the skill levels and comfort level with use of all gear and just being out there. Also go by yourself on some of those events, that too is a test of sorts. Just you and the coyotes? Some will actually get to know you if you go enough and feed them. I have lived completely outdoors for long periods of time and the fact is that you do get used to being dirty and eventually don’t think a lot about it.Takes a while but that does happen. We really are spoiled in soooo many ways, but a shower or any water source to clean oneself is always well embraced when it arrives, no doubt. It is a very good thing to get your head wrapped around such things with first hand experience, and fun too ! Although I readily admit to times when it was far from fun. Interesting how when you are forced to do something it is usually drudgery, and when you want to willingly do the same thing it is FUN ! We humans are a strange sort aren’t we ? We seem to complicate everything far beyond where it needs to go, and gain nothing in the process usually.

  3. Profile photo of TNDeeDee

    Having lived in South Florida for many years (now in E TN) I can testify to the importance of this drill. I was not a prepper at the time- I did have 4 children and during hurricane season one knows the power is going out- and going out for days to a week if the storm hits anywhere near your area. My power was out for 5 to 7 days 3 times in one year. So everyone became a prepper in a sense- we had batteries- water-fans-food and a way to heat food. And it was HOT and muggy-but we all learned a lot about how to deal with no electricity. So all you out there who think you are prepared- well you probably are not unless you have done this drill. You learn things like– candles are hot and create a lot of heat- great in the winter but not so good in the summer– a 7 day catholic candle (the kind that is in a tall glass container) sitting in the bath tub for safety is a great night light. And info was critical- I wish I had had a small black and white battery operated TV then- but I guess that wont work now that the TV signals have changed. Anyone else noticed that during hurricane Sandy all weather and power outage info was directed through the internet-which sites no one updated until after the storm-I checked for my daughter how lives in the area — nothing on the net- nada. I am now a freshman prepper and have a long way to go but my past experiences are serving as a important guide.

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