Come on. Admit it.
You’ve thought about what you’d do if faced with a zombie invasion.
Don’t pretend you haven’t!
I don’t think I go a week without thinking about my weapon of choice, the place I’d hold fort, or the number of people I’d have in my group. There are so many theories out there, and so many stories emerging about people eating other people’s faces, that it’s becoming quite scary how plausible a zombie invasion seems.
I know, I know, it sounds stupid. There’s no such thing as zombies, right? They only really got introduced to us in George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, and have been developed by film-makers, authors and game-designers alike. There’s no way they’re real.
… But what if they are?
I don’t mean to scare you or anything, but you never know – it might happen.
So let’s prepare ourselves! Here’s a quick guide to surviving a living dead invasion.
What’s a zombie?
How does one become a zombie? I think Max Brooks, author of The Zombie Survival Guide, comes up with the best theory:
“Their origin stems from a virus known as Solanum… Solanum works by traveling through the bloodstream, from the initial point of entry to the brain. Through means not yet fully understood, the virus uses the cells of the frontal lobe for replication, destroying them in the process. During this period, all bodily functions cease. By stopping the heart, the infected subject is rendered “dead.” The brain, however, remains alive but dormant, while the virus mutates its cells into a completely new organ. The most critical trait of this new organ is its independence from oxygen. By removing the need for this all-important resource, the undead brain can utilize, but is in no way dependent upon, the complex support mechanism of the human body. Once mutation is complete, this new organ reanimates the body into a form that bears little resemblance (physiologically speaking) to the original corpse. Some bodily functions remain constant, others operate in a modified capacity, and the remainder shut down completely. This new organism is a zombie, a member of the living dead.” (Max Brooks, 2009)
If a zombie transfers any bodily fluids to you, through a bite or through bleeding into an open wound, you’re going to die. Have fun with that.
How can you tell they’re a zombie?
(If they’re eating your face, it’s probably too late to be asking this question.)
There appears to be two types of zombies:
1) The slow, groaning, “braaaaaaains” type zombie. I never really understood why they’re scary – all you have to do is walk slightly faster than them, surely?
2) The sprinting, red-eyed, oh-my-god-run-like-hell type zombie. If you’ve seen 28 Days Later, you’ll know what I mean.
I suppose until we spot our first legitimate zombie, we’ll never know for sure what they’re like (oh God, what if both types exist?).
Anyway, if Max Brooks’ theory is correct, we can assume that zombies are pretty slow and unbalanced, since they don’t have any co-ordination. Their brains only have basic functioning, so all they really want is food (I’m starting to think I might be a zombie). In essence, if you see somebody shuffling about, moaning, possibly covered in blood and seemingly lacking intelligence, they’re probably a zombie. Or you’re in Manchester.
Warning: Do not confuse people who have just woken up for zombies. Although they may possess some of the characteristics of the living dead, I don’t think they’d appreciate being bludgeoned in the head.
If you’re really serious about formulating a zombie apocalypse plan, start now. Stock up on supplies (more on that later), and make sure you listen to the radio and watch the news regularly for any disturbances in your area – a sudden rise in the number of deaths, a virus spreading, increased army activity etc. Chances are, the government will try and suppress any news of zombies, so you’ll have to look out for hints.
Where to go
Here are just a couple of options you could take to protect yourself from zombie invasion.
Stay at home: You could choose to stay in your comfy abode. There are advantages – you know where everything is, you don’t have to worry about transporting all of your stuff, etc. If this is the option for you (i.e. if you’re lazy), and you live in a place with more than one floor, I would suggest getting rid of the stairs, and remaining on the second floor (or higher). Zombies do not possess the ability to climb, so you’ll be pretty safe. It will take some work, but it will be worth it. You’ll also need to barricade and reinforce your home – fencing, walls, boards, anything that will prevent (or prolong) zombies from entering. How long you’ll last is dependent on how prepared you are.
Supermarkets: You won’t have to worry about food being an issue if you decide to take cover in a supermarket. Just remember to eat everything in order of expiration date. The metal shutters that most supermarkets have would make for good security, but they won’t last forever – extra reinforcements will be necessary. Big, glass windows are also a hazard, so a lot of barricading will be required.
Military bases: This is probably one of your best options, for obvious reasons. Most military bases come prepared with supplies, shelter, trained professionals and reinforcement. They are also usually remote, so there’s less chance that you’ll have thousands of the undead knocking at your door. Unfortunately, because of how popular this idea is, there is the issue of overcrowding. Be prepared to share your food (I am not prepared for this).
Oil rigs: This is my personal favourite. Why? Because zombies can’t swim. You’ll be on your own island! Plus, it mines oil. Hello, unlimited power! You’ve also got the bounty of the sea at your fingertips, so food won’t be an issue (unless you’re a vegetarian, in which case, don’t be a vegetarian). The only real issues I can see are natural disasters like strong waves and sea storms, and the water eventually corroding the rig. Nothing’s perfect, I suppose.
Here’s a list of the basic supplies you’ll need:
- A large receptacle to collect rainwater
- A water purifier, or purifying tablets
- Food, preferably canned
- As many medical supplies as you can gather
- A radio
- An advanced toolkit
- Supplies for reinforcement – wood, bricks etc.
- A generator, preferably bicycle-powered
- Gasoline and petrol
- Fire extinguishers
- Entertainment – books, puzzles and games: If the zombies don’t kill you, boredom definitely will.
I bet this is the part you’ve all been waiting for. Throughout this entire post, you’ve just been thinking “screw basic survival strategies, give me a damn gun!” Well, it’s not as simple as that. The UK doesn’t have an especially extensive range of weaponry at its disposal – you can get some rifles, shotguns and pistols from hunting shops, but automatics, burst-fires and rockets are prohibited. Also, gun shops will be the first port of call for the panicked masses, so supplies could deteriorate pretty quickly. Therefore, it’s important to think outside the box a bit (or, you know, go on eBay right now and stock up). Here’s a list of alternative weaponry:
- A crossbow. Use your spare time to train with it, too. Archery can be tricky – ask the GB Olympic team! (Too soon?)
- A hatchet or axe
- A ninja sword, like a katana.
- A flanged mace (I love the word ‘flanged’)
- A sledgehammer
- A crowbar
- A machete
- A chainsaw
You’ll also want plenty of ammunition, a silencer and preferably one of those night-vision scope thingies.
Obviously, it would be impossible for you to carry these around when you’re travelling. If you’ve established a fortress to remain indefinitely, by all means, stock up on everything (use ALL the weapons!) If you’re on the move, though, travel lightly – a crossbow, gun and melee weapon (plus ammo) will do.
I know a lot of you will be tempted to turn this apocalypse into some kind of video game. Go ahead and enjoy yourself – your corpse will provide a great distraction for the zombies!
In your spare time, make sure you train. Learn to aim a weapon, work on your cardio, read up on building, engineering and agriculture for growing crops. When you’re not fighting for your life, you should be learning how to do it better.
People are annoying, but they can be a valuable asset. As the saying goes, there’s safety in numbers. Make sure you trust the people you’re with, and the more fat people there are, the better (they can provide warmth, and are easy to outrun).
Surviving a zombie apocalypse looks to be a long, tiring, life-threatening process. I’ve only provided a basic outline of what to do, and I’m no zombie expert. If you’ve got any other suggestions, please share them in the comments. I’d love to hear what you think! Good luck, everyone, I’m off to B&Q to pick up one of these bad boys!