Okay, folks. Last tip was basically “get the hell out of urban areas ASAP.” Let’s talk about the nuances of that, shall we?
Yes, you want to get out ASAP because the more time you stay in the city, the more zombies that develop. So get out ASAP. Let’s talk about what that entails. Start thinking about it now, friends, so you can 1) have fun stuff to talk about at cocktail parties and 2) you really are prepared.
Flee! Flee to the “more” button right now!
If you are so vastly unfortunate as to be caught in an urban area should an outbreak occur, you and a gajillion other survivors are going to be wanting to bail ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Can you say “meat market highway”? As much fun as you might think it is to get in your car and mow zombies down left and right (and ethically, this could present dilemmas as you might actually be mowing the living down, as well), at some point, you’re going to get stuck in a line of traffic of freaked out survivors who had the exact same idea. And then that immovable line of survivors becomes a potential smorgasbord for the undead.
Let us assume that unlike those of us who are odd and think about zombie apocalypse prep more than 7 times a day, most of us are simply going about the daily business of…well, living. Which means you haven’t prepared accordingly. Therefore, I don’t expect you’ll have guns lying around ready to go. If, however, you do and you know how to use them and take care of them, bravo! This will make your life a bit easier. If you’re one of those types, keep an extra box of ammo handy. Just sayin’.
For those of you who are not exercising your Second Amendment rights, you’ll have to 1) make do and 2) get over your issues with guns eventually then 3) acquire some. At the first sign of a zombie outbreak, a gajillion other people will be making a run on the gun stores. Hint: freaked out living survivors can be just as dangerous as zombies because you don’t really know what they’re going to do. A zombie is predictable, to a certain extent. It wants to eat you. Period. A living survivor, however, does nutso things to keep surviving. Never assume a living survivor will help you unless it’s someone in your posse and even then, understand that if you face a zombie horde, your posse, too, could go “every man/woman for him/herself” on you. So your best bet is to acquire your guns while on the run, if you don’t have any. Keep your eyes open for sporting goods stores and, if you have friends/family in the same city with guns, go there on your way out. Plus, you need to check on them and hopefully, they’ve survived, and you can band together. But be prepared for the worst. They may already be zombies.
My point? It’s important that you become as self-sufficient as possible in the shortest amount of time. And that means, friends, you owe it to yourselves to get in shape and stay healthy. If you can’t outrun a zombie, any of the following information is useless. Staying in shape is a good idea not just for life in general, but in an apocalypse, you need to be a lean, mean, runnin’ machine. Here:
So. You’re in a populated area and you’ve noticed an outbreak is under way. Assess your living situation. If you’re in the suburbs, that’s good. You’re closer to freedom and big box stores, which, as we’ve discussed, are good supply depots. In less populated areas, mom and pop stores are okay, but scope ’em out carefully. Remember: windows make you visible. If you’re in the city proper, damn. You’re going to have to start making your way out of there, and it’s probably best you do so without a car.
In the initial realization that holy crap, something crazy is happening, start preparing, if you’re like 80 percent of the world and you haven’t been thinking about this possibility.
First: Stop screaming. Stop crying. Zombies can hear you. So, too, can crazed survivors. Get used to being quiet. You no longer have cell phone or landline service, so you won’t have any reason to really talk, anyway. Then, assess. You must now use a lot of common sense. I know. But that’s how it is. Think like an ultralight backpacker and/or pretend you’re in the military. Get into that mindset ASAP. You do not have time to grieve/freak out. You need to be mobile and protected. So get yourself appropriately attired first, then get some make-do weaponry, and put some bottles of water/snacks in your backpack or courier bag (backpack is best, as you wear it and it’s out of your way). Other very helpful items: flashlight, pocket knife, roll of duct tape, antibiotic cream like Neosporin, band-aids, travel sewing kit, utility tool, utility knife, hand sanitizer/bottle of rubbing alcohol. And put this on your “to get ASAP list”: iodine tablets or camper’s water purifier (or both).
Second: Ideally, some light body armor is really cool (if you’re a paint gun player or a motocross person, you are SET). But if not, jeans are good (I don’t care how hot it is. Shorts make you a walking drumstick). Leather jackets are good. Workboots (steel toes are awesome). Leather gloves. (if you’re a goth chick, you are already halfway set) Use this rule: If you can’t bite through it, chances are a zombie will have a difficult time biting through it, too. And if you need a quick extra layer of protection over particularly vulnerable areas, DUCT TAPE. You won’t look sexy with duct tape wrapped around the arms of your leather jacket, but who the hell cares? This is the apocalypse. We can’t all look as good as Linda Hamilton toward the end of Terminator (80s hair notwithstanding) or Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil. Sorry. This ain’t Hollywood. It’s Hell.
About the only thing useful in her repertoire (as hot as it looks) are the guns, friends. Otherwise, her outfit screams “future zombie here!”
Two words: Cover up! Oh, and three more: CUT YOUR HAIR. Do not give zombies a handle. Remember, this ain’t Hollywood. Nobody cares what you look like (except that you look alive). Cut your hair.
Third: Are you a skier or snowboarder? Get your goggles on. If you have to go medieval on some zombie’s head, you don’t want the splatter on you. So think goggles/face shield if you have to be out among the dead. COVER UP. That is your new mantra. The other is “lock and load,” because it can apply to basic prep. You will always, from here on out, carry a weapon and you will always be carrying your utility tools, a small first aid kit, energy bars, and water, whether in a bottle, canteen, or Camelbak-kind of thing.
Plastic Ziploc bags are handy for virtually everything. Take some. Oh, and a notepad and pen (pencil’s better–ol’ skool wooden so you can sharpen it)/paper. Yeah. To leave messages, you have to go ol’ skool. Wristwatch, too, because if you’re with a posse, you can coordinate rendezvous with set time blocks, so as not to endanger each other. Understand that if you don’t make that time for a rendezvous, they’ll leave you and vice-versa. So get a wristwatch. Ol’ skool, friends. And remember, cell phone service will most likely go down and eventually, the grid will, too. You are now going to live like the Amish, except with zombies.
Fourth: Moving along. No guns in the house? Make do. You have to get your ass outta there. Baseball bats, cricket bats (if you’re UK-based), crowbars, sledgehammers, rebar, chef’s knives. Hammers. Broomsticks might be handy to brace against a zombie and keep it out of reach. Also, right now, go buy yourself a Leatherman utility tool or knife.
You should have one of these apocalypse or not. I use mine a lot for random every day situations. Don’t have one? Didn’t get one? Most people have pocket knives or utility knives lying around. If not, get a paring knife and rig a sheath for it out of cardboard and duct tape. All right, you’ve got your quickly-put-together kit.
Fifth: Now map your route. What’s the fastest way out of the city? Don’t be thinking “oh, gee, the northern routes are pretty this time of year.” Go the ugly industrial crappy routes. Industrial areas of cities are good ways to get out because they’re not residential, generally, and warehouses might have supplies for you to acquire (so if you have a crowbar or prybar, you can put it to use there). Remember, residential areas = people –> zombies. So map your way out through the industrial areas.
Ideally, you’ll start your escape within a day of the outbreak, if not hours. The sooner, the better, because you want to get away from crazed survivors, too. I understand, though, that you want to check on your loved ones and bring them. In the initial outbreak, text them and agree to meet in a set amount of time at a location on your escape route. If they’re not there, I’m sorry. Leave a note in a plastic bag in an obvious area with info about the route you took. Once you’re out of the city, you can wait a day or two for your friends/family. But keep in mind, they may not show up. I’m really sorry if that’s the case, but you can’t afford to stay there waiting and waiting. Leave another note and keep moving.
Sixth: I recommend you start your exodus (rather portentous, no?) as soon as you can. Do not run screaming outside and try to follow the massive crowds of people doing the same thing. If you are in the company of others, that can be helpful, but remember, you have to make a plan together before you go outside, and you cannot be talking or yelling once outside. Zombies don’t do that anymore, so any sound you make that isn’t zombie-like makes you a target. Get your plan and your route, and coordinate times (hence, the wristwatch).
In the initial outbreak/freak out, you might have a good shot at getting out faster, because remember, as people get bitten, there’s a time lag between living and undead. There are, thus, fewer zombies in that initial outbreak, so it’s a good time to get on out, using the utter chaos to your advantage. The more chaotic, the less chance you’ll get noticed. You can get more supplies on the outskirts, and keep heading for the hills.
And that leads me to this final thought: In an outbreak, you need to keep moving. Don’t barricade yourself somewhere because you will run out of supplies and zombies will eventually find you. They will wait. They’re dead, after all. They will wait until they rot to dust. And by that time, you’ll be rotted to dust, too. So you need to become mobile. No more Mr. or Ms. Sendentary Lifestyle. Remember: lean, mean, runnin’ machine.
Handy links to help you start thinking like a zombie apocalypse survivor:
And pick up a copy of this FAB book by Max Brooks:
Source: Max Brook’s awesomely helpful website
Good luck, friends! And remember, cover up and lock n’ load.