Lessons From American Blackout

American Blackout is a movie that recently aired on National Geographic. If you have any interest in prepping there’s little chance you’ve missed it. It chronicles a national power failure brought on by a cyber attack, shown through the eyes of everyday people.

Filmed on camera’s and mobile phones they tell their story of surviving 10 days without power. It’s worth the watch. So if you haven’t seen it yet, get on it.

I’ve watched it several times now looking for things to learn from either the mistakes being made or from great ideas and solutions. I found it to be of good educational value for beginners, there were nuggets in there to shed some light on and learn from, I hope you’ll find them useful.

A Quick List of Lessons Learned


The most important lesson I found and also the most obvious one to preppers. Not preparing leaves you to the mercy of others and when times get tough, mercy is the first thing out the door.

Time and time again we see examples of unprepared people having a harder time to survive. It doesn’t matter what you plan to do, just make sure you have a plan.

Bug in, not out!

The American Blackout is a great example of a disaster that strikes everywhere. In Building An Urban Survival Kit Yourself I go into the numbers.

One very important number to remember is 103.2, the number of people per square mile on the contiguous United States. When people start swarming, which they will, you’ll see even the most remote places being overrun. So whenever you can, bug in and stay away from the masses.

Plan, Explain, Train

When you do bug out and have your preparations in place, make sure your family is on board and trained.

Character Hank, a pretty solid prepper, lacked the understanding of his family. They didn’t understand the urgency at play. This resulted in his family not helping out just minimally with loading up the bug out gear and they questioned if leaving was even necessary.

Understanding a task makes people better at it, and more motivated to do it. Also they’re more capable of thinking of contingencies when the need comes up.

Quick Getaway

Every time I see preppers leave to bug out they take a long time to get going. Hank from American Blackout needed more time then was really necessary. Doomsday Preppers is full of lengthy (and even one completely failed) bug out moves.

It depends on your situation, but built a system that allows you to leave in under 5 minutes. If you have to bug out, think of a fast way to deploy a system that fits your mode of transport.

My advice here would be to take another look at the three tier system and get yourself (and your family members) a bugout bag, that’s ready to go on a moments notice.

Final word

These are the main lessons I draw from American Blackout. The main lesson is that it is hard to prepare when you’re an urbanite stuck in an apartment building. Just remember that urban survival during incidents of disasters is possible.

One thing urban survival isn’t, is automatic. You’re going to have to organize yourself, plan, get gear, inform those that are part of your plan and take the time to learn new skills.

When you prepare you’ll find that incidents and disasters become much less frightening and that you yourself will gain peace of mind.

I love to hear from you. Tell what your ideas are on preparing for the disasters in the city. Please leave your comments below or let me know on twitter or drop me a line in the comments!

Till next time, Kain.

4 thoughts on “Lessons From American Blackout”

  1. Hi there. I found your site last night and have read it from beginning to end. I have used your list above on my own blog (www.shelldonwells.co.za), hope that’s okay. I did link to back to your site. If it’s not okay just let me know and I’ll take it down. Looking forward to more from you.

    • Hi, glad you liked it. I have no problem with you reposting my list. Thanks for the kudo’s you give me in the article. Like your blog, I’ll be on the lookout for your other stuff. Greetings!


Leave a Reply