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Zombie Apocalypse Survival Basics

Updated on August 27, 2014


The great thing about the recent Zombie phenomenon is that mainstream science is finally seriously looking into the real world possibilities of “zombies”. In the past decade there have been more articles written and more thought given on the subject than ever before. One recent article suggested that a mutated form of the rabies virus coupled with a flu virus to cause moderate symptoms of encephalitis could result in an infected person suffering severe bouts of rage and becoming prone to extreme violence. Whether or not this is actually possible is not known, and it would not completely fit the criteria for “zombie”, but it would certainly be well on its way.

Here are some of the survival basics for a situation like Zombie apocalypse:


1. Geographic Concerns

There are a few things that most people don’t even think about until they are told differently or find out the hard way. Here are a few things to remember about various geographic regions when making your plans:

Cities are dangerous – It is widely thought that large cities, in the worst case scenario, will turn into big war zones with the battle lines drawn between Zombies and militarily controlled zones. Get what you need and get out fast.

Apartments don’t provide safety or security – Apartment dwellers will need to get out and find a new dwelling before things get too bad, unless they can form a strong community bond with the people in their building, and trust them implicitly. Apartments generally sport very weak barriers (doors) and walls that can be knocked through quite easily. Apartments also lack very many hiding spots or escape routes.

Highways will be packed – If you live near a large city, don’t just drive as fast as you can to the nearest highway on-ramp. Everyone knows where the highways are and they will break for them immediately. Find alternate routes that will place you on the highway a minimum of 50 miles from the nearest large city.

2. Food & Water

When planning for a Zombie event many people seem to follow the line of thinking...”I’ll pack enough food for a few days, then plant a garden and grow my own food!”. This is a fantastic idea! Now let’s look at what we like to call, REALITY.

Most people think they’ll plant some tomatoes, some corn and some beans, maybe throw some potatoes in the ground and a few weeks later they’ll have a nice garden for feeding themselves and their families. If it were this easy, no one would buy these items at grocery stores.

Growing food is not the feasible thing to do. Instead, you may try to get some meat into your diet. For sake of argument we won’t talk about raising animals for slaughter because it’s a bit out of the spectrum of survival, so this means you will be hunting and trapping.

We will assume for this portion of the article that whatever event has occurred has not created a danger in eating the local wildlife. You may want to take that into consideration in the case of a real emergency though.

3. Health and Welfare

When it comes to health and welfare, paying attention to the following points is necessary:

Hygiene – Brush your teeth, bathe, clean your hair, and wash your hands often. These things will help keep your body strong enough to fight off Zombie infections more easily.

Antibiotics – If you have an opportunity to stockpile these creams, ointments or liquids, make sure you get as much as you can. Grabbing oral antibiotics won’t do you much good as they have to be kept refrigerated and there is a chance of allergic reaction.

Hydrogen Peroxide – Get a bunch of it over a long period of time. I know it’s harder to buy now and you can only get a limited amount per trip to the store or whatever, so stock up over time.

First Aid Kit(s) – There are a lot of good First Aid kits out there. Having one is great; having more than one is fantastic.

Diet – No matter the situation, try to get into a somewhat healthy diet. There is no use going through the pain of surviving, making yourself prone to dying of diet related issues later.

Nothing beats a good old-fashioned Crossbow!

4. Weapons / Protection

This is a touchy subject for a lot of people when they first start trying to prepare for emergencies and disasters. Many people agree that a weapon (we’ll assume “GUN” here) in the hands of a trained individual with decent morals and ethics is a valuable and important tool. Ensure that all members of your family or group are well versed in any and all weapons that you have available (cleaning, maintaining, safety and use).

Don’t waste time or bullets aiming for the head of your zombie attacker. Chances are that infected/zombie attackers will be just as impervious to bullets as normal people. If you can hit them in the head without wasting time and ammo, knock yourself out, otherwise it’s just going to give them more time to get you while you waste valuable resources.

If you choose to arm yourself with firearms, remember that they are extremely dangerous. Learn to use them properly and never forget how much respect they demand. Forgetting these lessons for even a split of a second can ruin lives.

5. Stockpiling

Stockpiling is the gathering of large amounts of items at your permanent residence or your PSS (Primary shelter site) in the hopes that you will never need to use them. Stockpiling is hard to do, because it costs money to buy things that aren’t at your normal location for you to use. These items sit in storage, where hopefully they are safe and secure. If you never use them, the money can either be considered “wasted” or “well spent” according to your opinions.

Here are some of the guidelines to follow when stockpiling:

  • Dry – Keep your stockpile area dry and non-humid if possible
  • Cool – If you can keep the area below 60 degrees Fahrenheit most of your stocks should keep longer
  • Darkened, but not black – There are many who contend that light speeds the processes involved in spoiling. I don’t know if this is true, but why take the risk.
  • Secure – Make sure your stockpile location is secured properly. It should be the most difficult place to access in your PSS.

Here are some of the things that you should stockpile due to their high trade value:

  • Guns and Ammo – Guns will retain a high trade value, as will ammunition.
  • Alcohol – Whiskey, Vodka, Bourbon etc. All will retain some value.
  • Medicine – High value.
  • Water – High/Strong value.
  • Food – High/Strong value.
  • Fuel/Gas – High/Strong value.

In addition to that, make sure you have the following emergency equipment:

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Water bottles
  • Emergency blanket
  • Jumper cables
  • Emergency flashlight with green and red capabilities
  • Roadside toolkit
  • Emergency Road Flares
  • Emergency Tire Inflation Canister

6. Bug Out Bag (BoB)

Bug Out Bag is one of the most vital preparation tools you must have. This is a prepacked bag carrying all the items necessary for you to survive for at least 3 days.

It is necessary to understand that BoB is not meant for long term survival. It is just meant to help you get through a rough patch. A lot survival experts talk about having a few BoBs prepared that are made specifically for different kinds of survival scenarios, like e.g. Urban BoB, Tropical BoB, Winter BoB, etc. I personally believe that having one proper and well thought through BoB is totally enough. So you can save your time, money and energy


7. Choosing your PSS Site

The Primary Shelter Site is the evacuation destination that you would most likely travel to in case of an emergency. Most of your evacuation planning should be done to reach this location as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Once you have narrowed down the region you would like to have your PSS located in, you will need to find the proper site. Site selection can be the determining factor in whether you survive, thrive or die. Let’s look at some of the contributing factors for selecting your PSS Site.

Access to fresh water – This should be a no brainer

Access to woods/forest – A small wood or forest can provide materials, food, game and many other essentials.

Defensibility – Try to imagine securing the location and defending it. If you can think of easy ways to get in, so can Zombies.

Topsoil – You might need to grow some food, make sure you aren’t on clay, rock or some other ground type not conducive to growing plants.

No City Water – Do not purchase property for your PSS that is on City Water without a natural well as backup. In a worst case scenario your city water will most likely fail as the local municipality running it fails. Zombies might also target city water and pollute it.

Privacy and seclusion

Privacy and seclusion will be important to your safety and security initially. In the case of a Zombie attack you will want to eliminate or control any contact with outsiders. This will need to be tempered with the idea that once the epidemic is passed you may need to remain in your PSS for a while longer. If this is the case, having connections and access to a local community would be a good idea.

There are many more things that you certainly should hope for in a PSS, but these are the initial characteristics we want. The requirements of your PSS change with any change to your situation or status, as well as changes in the surrounding world.

Moving to your PSS

Moving from your primary residence to your PSS will most likely be the most dangerous time after the initial event. This is obviously determined by the event itself, but in most cases if you are alive and capable of movement, this is when things will get hairy.

Some Zombie events will have a brief period of buildup in which movement will be relatively easy. Deciding to leave for your PSS at this time may seem like over reacting and if the threat never materializes it may well be, but moving at this time also may save your life and the lives of your family members.

8. During the preparation

During your preparations keep in mind that anything your neighbors know you have, they will remember when the time comes that they need it. To curb this from becoming a major problem, ensure to follow the guidelines below:

1. Try to bring in supplies in small, unnoticeable amounts on a regular basis.

2. When bringing in large amounts of items, attempt to do so from the seclusion of a garage, or at night when neighbors are less likely to know see what you have. Do not speak openly to your neighbors about your plans unless you are planning to involve them and have a high level of trust in their discretion.

3. If you purchase land and a PSS home, make sure that when stocking the home or preparing the area around it that any neighbors in that area are unaware of your activities.

Keep all items, both at your home and your PSS out of the direct line of sight from anyone in your yard, or even in your home. Try to find a spot where no one should be going or looking for storage of these items.


9. Mob Rules

Unprepared people will react in many ways. In the beginning most people will be in shock, unable to make the necessary moves to ensure their safety. A relative few people will adjust to the situation and prepare on the run. Some of them will survive, some won’t. If they are lucky to get in with a group of like-minded individuals, they will have much better chances.

A small group of people will turn to crime. This will vary from theft of items to assault, rape and even murder. These individuals may also band together to form large groups intent on taking what they want or need from anyone that crosses their path. Initially these groups will function in larger metropolitan areas but once things calm down they will venture out along highways and most likely even into suburbs of large cities.


These are all just basics. Many things will have value depending on your geographic location and the needs of the people and communities in the area. The most difficult thing about planning for an event like a zombie apocalypse is that you don’t know what you are going to need to know to survive and thrive. Amazingly in movies and books most of the things you need to know are either figured out on the run or an expert in the field is located and brought into the fold almost magically. In the real world you would have multiple people standing around scratching their heads and saying things like “I wish I knew…” and “Never thought I’d have to do this…”. So, in response to that reality you should arm yourself by being fully prepared for any kind of situation prior to the Zombie Apocalypse.

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