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Zombie Warfare Preparation: Defending Your Home

Updated on November 16, 2012
Defending Your Home
Defending Your Home | Source

Defending Your Home

"They are coming to get you, Barbara" is the immortal line from George Romero's classic Night of the Living Dead. In the case of a zombie apocalypse, they're not just after Barbara. They're after everything with a pulse.

The ideal places to hole up during an extreme zombie infestation are on a farm, somewhere very remote, and somewhere very cold where the temperature will eventually drop below freezing OR a military base with a guarded fence and plenty of weapons. Should you have the luxury of getting to a castle or some place with natural geographic obstacles - go there.

Those are your options if you have an actual choice.

What if you have no choice? What if you're stuck in your home or are on the run and are just looking for some shelter? What if you're stuck in a city during an outbreak and your apartment building is surrounded by the undead?

What do you do?

You do what you must and you work with what you have at hand. These are some sample precautions to take if you find yourself in some of the more common shelters.

Common Precautions

  • Fortifications - If you saw the first Night of the Living Dead, you'll know that the first thing they party started to do was unhinge the doors or move bulky furniture across the windows. While most zombies may not have the actual strength to break a window, they may have the combined weight against each other (while trying to get to you) to break down a door. Nail doors, wood, or other bulky objects against the walls. This will serve to hide the occupants within the house and protect everyone in it as well.
  • Barricade the Exits - That means not only locking the doors but fortifying the windows with anything you can get your hands on. It's best to barricade yourself in wherever you are. If there are any empty stairwells or entrances to the basement, those should be blocked and nailed.
  • Stay on the Top Floors - While a zombie can fall down a flight of stairs and remain unharmed, they may not be able to climb a ladder or a rope. If you have a choice to stay on the second floor or the basement, chose the second floor. Never stay in a basement.
  • Keep Quiet - Don't attract attention to yourself. Do not play the radio on high volume. Do not turn on the television.
  • Lights Out - When the sun goes down, turn off the lights. Zombies may not be able to think, but they will be certain to recognize a dwelling is inhabited by noise or a shadow across a lit window.
  • Conserve Resources - Fill your tub full of tap water. Should the water stop running, you'll have enough water to use until you plan on leaving your home. Ration any food supplies for a specified period of time. If and when you run out, you will need to make plans on raiding other buildings or stores for supplies.
  • Take an Inventory - Know what you have. That includes food, water, weapons (or potential weapons), assets, batteries, gas (if applicable), and most of all tools and talent.
  • Talent - Should you be with a small group of friends or relatives, find out who has had first aid training, combat training, mechanical training, and who can cook. It's important to know who can do what jobs and who can be trained to do others.
  • Organization - You will need to arrange a schedule on who will be on watch duty. Someone will need to guard the exits at night while others get their sleep for the next day. A schedule and proper rotation should be organized.
  • Entertainment - You will be holed up there for a while. Boredom has a way of making people irritable. In this case you might have to resort to low tech entertainment like books, story telling, or doing something useful like exercise.

Apartment Buildings

Ultimately, your goal is to get out of there and get somewhere safer. However, for the moment, you are safe. Remember, zombies are persistent and relentless.

Your priorities should be to make sure that all the exits to the building are locked. Unfortunately most apartment building entrances are made of glass doors with a standard dead lock (if there's any lock at all). If you are lucky, you'll live in a building that requires you to "buzz in". You will need to make sure that no one in the building buzzes anyone in. A common mistake is that since people know you know enough to buzz in, the buzzer is not a zombie. A corpse against a buzz button works just as well as a finger.

Secondly, depending on the layout of your building, you will need to isolate each of the floors or, at the very least, barricade the first flight of stairs with either furniture or whatever bulky book cases or dressers that will fit in a stairwell.

There are some advantages to your situation.

  1. You are not alone - Even in a five floor walk up, chances are there are a few families in the same situation that you're in. There is strength in numbers. If you can organize yourselves properly, you can share supplies and guard duties. You will also have some help in building barricades for the exits as well as the first flight of stairs.
  2. More resources available - Considering that some people may have already left the building or perhaps were infected and are in a hospital somewhere, that leaves their furniture, food, and resources your group's for the taking.

    Raiding an empty apartment should be done with caution and some amount of respect. It is probable, though, whoever has left the building is not coming back.

    It is paramount though that you be sure that all vacant apartments are, indeed, vacant. Organize a team to verify that each apartment is empty. Should you hear moaning from the inside of an apartment or suspect that there is an infestation within it, LEAVE IT ALONE. Remember, zombies don't have the reasoning power to unlock a door or use a door knob.

    If you are reasonably sure that the apartment is vacant, gather a well armed group and knock on the door. You should already be aware how many people ordinarily live in the apartment and that should account for the potential number of zombies that may be in it. Should a single person normally reside in the apartment, your numbers should easily take care of the zombie within it.
  3. More water available - The human body can survive a month without food. However, it can only survive a day or two without water. A common precaution in any disaster, including a zombie infestation, is to fill a tub full of tap water in the event that water runs out. It will take some time for utilities within a city to stop by themselves. Until then, you will most likely have the advantage of hot and running water for a while.
  4. More effective weapons - A bowling ball isn't an effective weapon unless dropped from a third floor window onto a zombie's head. This can be done with any heavy blunt object from a great height.

Private Homes

Follow the common precautions on fortification. Board windows and doors. You will also need to do the following as well.

  1. Live on the second floor - This is applicable for homes that have two stories. If you live in a ranch home, you may need to plan your evacuation to a safer dwelling. Zombies are less likely to climb a flight of stairs. Eventually, though, they may crawl up some.
  2. Destroy your staircase - Yes, get an axe and destroy the steps on the way up. You should do this only when you are certain that there's a zombie outbreak and that the police, army, or government forces are not coming. Be sure that you have a ladder already upstairs.
  3. Guard from the roof - Most likely, the roof will provide a vantage point and will allow you or whoever is on guard duty to spot the lone zombie or if a horde is on the move. In that case, you will have time to prepare a plan or an attack.


Sometimes you don't have the luxury of choice. If you and your party are on the run, you'll eventually need to sleep. Getting to a building that will allow you to get some rest is vital for survival. Remembering the basics may keep you alive. Just also remember, more than anything else, if your team functions properly and divides the workload efficiently, there is no reason why you won't survive the first few weeks against the living dead. With that said, it's important to plan ahead and make preparations for a more permanent solution.


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