What is your zombie survival plan?  Do you have one?  For most of you the answer is no.  I was watching the 6 hour Walking Dead marathon that led up to the season premier on AMC last night and it got me thinking about my own zombie survival plan.  I do have one by the way; I have for years.  “But Jason,” you say, “you are a rational and reasonably intelligent person.  Why would you believe in something as crazy as zombies?”  Short answer: I don’t.  The long answer, however, requires a little more explanation and analysis, and will be the subject of the remainder of this blog post.  At the end of which you will be better informed and prepared for the impending zombie apocalypse.  You’re welcome.

I believe in zombies about as much as I believe in Bigfoot.  I don’t believe they actually exist, but I do not immediately discount the potential for them to exist.  The mere potential for zombies to exist in the future is enough for me to take a few preparatory steps.  The potential for zombies is a bit different than for Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster.  The potential for zombies invokes a change in my behavior.  I can prepare for zombies.  If they exist they will have an immediate impact on my life.  There is no way to prepare for the existence of Bigfoot, and no need to.  If he exists my life doesn’t really change.  He’ll still just be wandering around the Pacific Northwest chased by photographers taking blurry pictures of him.  Maybe Harry and the Hendersons will get a revival.  Anyway, there would be no need for me to do anything.  But if zombies suddenly start craving my brain there are a number of things I can do to prepare that won’t have much of an impact on my daily life right now.

First, know what you need and have those items readily accessible or easily obtainable.  There are a few things that you should prioritize and a few things you should avoid, however tempting they may seem.  You need food, clothing, fuel, and weapons.  You need to avoid taking electronics, personal items (such as photo albums or family heirlooms), and entertainment.  You won’t need your lap top or video games for this adventure.

  • When it comes to food you need dry goods; things that will last a long time, don’t require much preparation, and provide a lot of sustenance.  I suggest canned goods or MREs.  Forget the loaf of bread and the bunch of bananas.
  • For clothing you need the heavy stuff; jackets, boots, blankets, sweat shirts, etc.  You don’t know where you might have to sleep at night or how long you will be without a fresh supply of clothing.  Plus, where you are going it’s going to be cold (I’ll get to that).
  • Fuel.  You will most likely want to start your little adventure in a car, assuming you have one.  If not, try to steal one once the shit hits the fan (once the zombie apocalypse starts you no longer have to, or should, play by the rules).  You can travel faster and carry more items with you.  So make sure you have not only a full tank of gas, but a spare gas can or two.  You also need other types of fuel; matches, propane, batteries, lighters, wood.  Whatever you can get your hands on and whatever the other things you have with you require.
  • Weapons.  You may want to consider some of the following: guns, crossbows, bows and arrows, knives, bats, crow bars, nail guns, etc.  Silent and durable weapons are preferable.  Large metal blunt objects won’t break and will do a lot of damage.  Guns are tricky because they are loud, which will attract attention, and they require ammunition.  However, they are also very effective without requiring you to get very close to the undead.

Personal items and electronics might seem important to you now, but when you are trying to survive in zombieland they are a hindrance.  The apocalypse is no time to get all sentimental.  Your favorite stuffed animal won’t do you any good and your iphone won’t work.

Second, communicate with loved ones.  You have to do this quickly.  The power grid, internet, and cell phone reception will go down quickly.  Once you know the apocalypse has begun it’s time to make some phone calls.  Keep the conversations short and direct.  The most important information you can give someone is where you are going and when you will be there.  Since you already have a location in mind and a route planned out you need to get everyone you care about to that same location.  Which leads us to…

Go time!  Gather your stuff and get going.  You need to be mobile and out the door within 30 minutes of figuring out that the world just ended.  The faster you can get going the fewer problems you will encounter.  Get away from population centers and stay off the main roads.  Having a number of maps or atlases handy is a good idea.  Your GPS system might not work.  Once you are far enough away from civilization you can stop at a gas station and stock up on whatever you need; more food, gas, weapons.  Forget about money.  Just take what you need.  Avoid large stores and gun shops.  With everyone else scrambling for supplies these places will be overrun and dangerous.  If you don’t already have a gun now is not the time to get one.  Gun shops will turn into a massacre once everyone realizes there aren’t enough guns or ammo to go around.  If you don’t have a car you’ll just have to make it on foot.

Go north.  The colder the better (I told you I’d get to it).  The farther north you go the fewer people there will be and the colder it will get.  You want it cold.  Zombies are dead flesh; they can’t generate body heat like you and me.  If it dips below freezing they turn into an ice cube and are no longer a threat.  Once you have reached your location it is time to start setting up defenses.  Set up barricades and fall back positions.  Always have an escape route and know your terrain.  Set up an alarm system.  Noisy traps will alert you to intruders.  You need to know where the nearest water and food supplies are located.  Avoid making a lot of noise or producing light at night.  You don’t want anyone, living or undead, knowing where you are.

Every plan is a little different.  Your location, the people you are with, and the supplies you have available will determine the details of your plan.  For instance, I have a kayak.  If I have the time to get it on my car it will go with me.  It offers me an extra form of transportation if something goes wrong with the car.  I can also fish from it.  There are many other specific elements to my plan, but I won’t go into them here.

The great thing about a zombie survival plan is that it works for most any disaster.  This way if there is a natural disaster, severe weather event, terrorist attack, or anything else you can think of, I can put my plan into action (altered, of course, to fit the needs of the circumstances).

If you have the opportunity I suggest picking up The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z,  both by Max Brooks.  They are entertaining and informative.  World War Z is being made into a movie with Brad Pitt.  Watching a few George Romero movies couldn’t hurt either.

If you have your own zombie survival plan I’d love to hear it.