In its first drill, Vassar “blacked-out” in 11 minutes, except for the headlights of a locked car parked in front of Main Building. The practice black-out was part of an elaborate civil defense plan devised by the Vassar College Defense Council in consultation with Keene Richards, the college's general manager and the Dutchess County chief air raid warden. Having suffered imaginary damage to its water system, residents of Strong House were evacuated to Lathrop, where they received orders to spend the night either in Josselyn or North [Jewett]. "Bells in the halls sounded the alarms," reported The Miscellany News. "In case of an actual blackout, the fire whistles will blow. Their use requires army authorization."

In addition to the evacuation committee, the exercise involved the  communications committee, the health and sanitation committee and the food and shelter committee. "I consider it a really exceptional performance," Richards said. "The fundamental purpose is to find out the errors—we don't know whether it will be good or bad."