Disasters strike anywhere, anytime. We have an earthquake preparedness kit, our house is bolted to its foundation, and we have out of town numbers to call to find one another. I thought my family was prepared.
But true preparedness means being ready for everything. I realized after a conversation with my daughter about an RPG (role-playing game) she’d participated in recently that we were not prepared for the Worst Case Scenario: the Zombpocalypse. Here are the fruits of my extensive investigations.
All zombies are brain-dead, which makes most of us smarter than they are, but all zombies possess preternatural strength and an enduring hunger for your brains. Before you can protect yourself from zombies, you have to know which sort you’re dealing with. The several different varieties of zombies must be killed according to their kind.
1. Old-school raised-from-the-dead-by-a-voodoo-necromancer: they aren’t supposed to be much of a threat. They don’t appear in great numbers and are not contagious. Keep an eye on the necromancer though.
2. Shambling dead A-type: these are risen from recently deceased corpses, and are thought to be caused by disease which can be contracted from zombie bites. The only way to win against this type is so destroy their brains. Decapitation and/or destruction of the base of the brain are the preferred methods, although fire and explosion will suffice. Just be sure to light them up from a distance so that they’re’ dead before they reach you, or you’ll wind up being chased by flaming zombies.
3. Shambling dead B-type are also risen from the recently deceased corpses, but are caused by demonic possession. They are said to be very rare, not widespread, and not contagious. Their cause is not well known. (Some say that reading stuff out loud from the Necronomicon can raise them. I’ve never had that problem.) Red glowing eyes are the giveaway of this type, and the only defense against them is fire or annihilation (explosion, etc.) No one bothers with preparing for the demonic zombies, as those are deemed the least likely to occur. I’d advise you to consult persons of the cloth for more information. My minister didn’t return my calls.
4. Rabid type, where a living person is infected by a disease that turns them directly into a zombie who doesn’t die first. They are stronger and faster than other types of zombies, and like the shambling dead A-type, the disease is spread by bites. On the plus side, these last seem the easiest to kill. Some maintain that they do not require the head-shot and that anything that would kill a living person will dispatch this type of zombie. I prefer to err on the side of caution and advise that rabid type zombies be destroyed by decapitation and/or brain base destruction.
Here are three things you must to do to survive the Zombpocalypse:
1. Find a defensible space separated from zombies. Retreat to a barricaded apartment building or a fastness in the wilderness. If you are trapped in an urban environment, barricade the entrances and use rope ladders to access your shelter. Practice rooftop gardening, use blackout shades to disguise your presence at night. If you can get out of town, locate (or own) a nearby farm with a working well or a cabin in the foothills near a fresh stream. (Obviously you’d only take over if the original owners were dead or zombies or missing altogether.) To get out of town to your country retreat, mark maps with alternate escape routes, as abandoned cars will block the main roads.
2. Locate resources. Know where you can get gas, from siphoning abandoned vehicles to local stations that still have operating pumps. Mark your maps with grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, hardware stores and gun shops. Know how to hotwire a car. Know where to get seed and gardening supplies for the long haul. Acquire piles of batteries, kerosene lanterns and walkie-talkies. Some experts have advised using bicycles to get around, as they are light, quiet and easy to hide. Note that rabbits are easy to keep, breed quickly and are a good source of protein. Zombies are most active between dusk and dawn, so plan your sorties appropriately.
[My daughter tells me that on store raids, the best method is to take two cars, two groups. Group one goes to the front of the store and taunts the zombies, drawing them from the store. The aggroed zombies are then “kited” away, following the car, while the second group gains entrance at the rear of the store. Any remaining zombies in the store are dispatched by group two, who get in and out quickly before the zombies lose interest in chasing group one.]
3. Acquire weapons. Since the best way to destroy the most common types of zombies is by decapitation, destruction of the base of the brain (by gunfire or clubbing,) fire, and explosives, you’ll want to be armed to the teeth. Problem is, how many of us are skilled in the use of firearms? I have some shooting experience, and I’d prefer a raged attack to keep me away from zombie drool, but I’m not certain I’m all that good a shot. In addition, the sound of gunfire is an attractant (as is all sound, light and movement: signs of life, dontcha know) and silencers are illegal in California. For close in work the most recommended weapons for novices are the baseball bat and the crowbar. Of course, if you have military training and access to firearms, or have trained martial arts with swords, then you have a leg up. But in a pinch, even a hammer or a length of lead pipe is better than nothing.
For more information, check out the University of Florida’s Zombie-Preparedness exercise, and this report from the mathematics department at the University of Ottawa detailing the mathematical progression of zombification. Terrifyingly fast, according to their epidemiological model. In addition, no home library should be without Max Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide.
If you have any tips to add, please tell us here. We all need to learn together should the worst come to pass.
Some say that the average life of a zombie is 3-5 years. Allowing for continued infection rates, one should be prepared to withstand about ten years of siege.
Now you know what to do. Godspeed. You’re welcome. See you at the shooting range.