In 2020, the U.S. experienced a record-breaking year for power outages.
On average, folks in the U.S. went over eight hours without electricity in 2020. That’s more than twice as long as the average American went without power in 2013.
To make matters worse, last year, Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said that enemies of the United States can shut down the U.S. power grid.
The reality is that U.S. power systems are more likely to fail than ever before. This is because of extreme weather and cyber threats from foreign countries.
When war broke out in Ukraine, Russian hackers targeted the Ukrainian power grid and tried to turn off power to more than 2 million people.
The hackers tried to destroy computers at a Ukrainian energy company by using malware. The goal was to destroy computer systems by erasing data.
Ukrainian officials said they were able to stop the attack.
However, Russian hackers turned to another target and were able to hack into a Ukrainian power company and shut down nine electric substations.
But Ukraine was able to keep the power on because the country integrated its power grid with the European Union.
Which meant the power kept flowing even if major Ukrainian plants were shut down.
Now, Russia attacking power systems is nothing new.
In fact, since 2015 Russia has focused on cyber-attacks against Ukrainian systems.
A Ukrainian official said, “We are dealing with an opponent who has been drilling us for eight years in cyberspace.”
The reason that Russia hasn’t taken out U.S. power grids yet is that they don’t want to poke the bear. The U.S. could treat the cyber-attack as an act of war.
Plus, if Russia can hack our power grids, I assure you that the U.S. can do much worse to Russia.
But whether it’s cyber-attacks or extreme weather, power outages are going to occur more often.
So, it’s never been more important to prepare for long-term power outages.
Even if you are prepared for power failures, there is likely something you are overlooking.
And a power outage drill is one of the best ways to assess your reaction to losing power.
Since power outages are lasting longer than ever before, try going without power for at least 72-hours.
It will go a long way in strengthening your preparations for a real power failure.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you learn from a power outage drill.
Don’t prepare extra:
You and your family will have to agree on when to turn the power off. But you shouldn’t plan and buy extra supplies in the days leading to the drill.
What I mean is, you want your power drill to mimic a real-life power failure.
In other words, it will happen anytime, and you won’t know it’s coming.
So, don’t go buy extra batteries or other supplies before the drill. You want to already have these things stockpiled.
You want to go through the drill the way you have already planned to do so.
To learn something from a power outage drill you need to be without power, you shouldn’t just unplug things or tell your family they can’t use power outlets.
There isn’t much to learn unless you turn the power off.
So, if you are going to do the drill, I would turn the power off at the main breaker to your house.
Of course, this will be eye-opening for many folks, so another option is to start slow and build upon the length of the outage.
For instance, you could start with a 24-hour power outage drill. Then, next month go 48 hours. Then, try 72-hours.
You want the drill to be educational and help you become better prepared. But you don’t want to make your family suffer if they aren’t prepared.
One of the hardest things that folks will encounter without power is finding ways to occupy their time. This will be especially true if you have children or grandchildren.
During the power outage drill, you want to find constructive things to do.
Maybe there are home repairs that need to be done outside. Or maybe you will cook over a campfire in the backyard. You can try your favorite Dutch oven recipes.
Also, when nighttime sets in you want to have things around to keep you busy. This could be reading a book or playing games with your family
The more things you can accomplish, and keep your mind busy, the easier it will be to deal with the power failure.
If you want to learn from a power outage drill, you should add extra elements that could create problems.
For instance, you could tell your family that the refrigerator is off-limits. All your cooking and eating will need to be done with your food storage.
Another element you could add is to leave your home.
For example, after going 24 hours without power you could tell your family they have one hour to prepare to bug out.
Not only would this prepare them for bugging out, but it will help you understand what it would be like to bug out when the power is off.
Can you get everything you need to bug out?
This would create another dimension for a power failure. There is no question it would help prepare your family for both a power failure and bug out situation.
After you’ve done a power outage drill you should examine everything you did.
Ask yourself if the generator worked as it should. Calculate how much fuel the generator used, etc.
Doing these drills will give you a lot of information and help you be more prepared for a real-life power outage.
As you know, it’s not a matter of if our power will go out, it’s a matter of when and for how long.
Use these tips to help you start drilling, and be more prepared, for the eventual power outage.