When and if a Zombie outbreak takes place, is it better to batten down the hatches and stay put or grab your B.O.B. and go? Like most Zombie questions, the answer to this one is situational, but for the purpose of this article we will assume you’ve chosen to survive in place.
Surviving in Place
Preparing a safe-house takes a lot of work, and a fair amount of supplies, but with time and a little ingenuity most locations can be properly prepared for long-term survival. But preparing a location isn’t as simple as boarding up the doors and waiting things out… in fact, there’s much more to it than that.
Batten down the hatches:
The first priority is to lock, board up, and block all ground-level windows and doors leading to the outside. Do this as quickly, yet carefully, as possible. It’s important to leave doors partially accessible from the inside for emergency escape options, but equally important that they are secured in a way to keep intruders from intruding. We recommend using the method seen in diagram A1. After securing ground level accesses, move your attention to the basement and then second story, if applicable.
Building materials like plywood, 2x4s, 2x8s and other milled lumber are perfect for securing your shelter, but most locations won’t have these materials just laying around. The items listed below can be found in most buildings and are great alternatives to use when securing your shelter.
- Tabletops, Benches, Slats from beds and futons
- Internal doors (Closet, bathroom, wardrobe, and cabinet doors)
- Shelving Systems (DO NOT USE PARTICLE BOARD)
- Object for Hammering (Hammer, cast iron pan, heavy wrench, crowbar, pipe, etc.)
- Nails (Use nails that are at least 2 1/2 inches long or longer. Screws can be added later for more durable and long-lasting security)
- Heavy furniture (Place large, heavy objects and furniture at windows and doorways for a temporary solution)
Once you have completed the initial round of securing your location, check that all doors and windows are still secure and reinforce/repair where necessary (this will need to be done at least two times daily, once in the morning and once at night).
Gather and Inventory Your Supplies:
After securing your location from any immediate outside threats, you will need to gather and inventory your supplies. If you have an E-kit, now is the time to open it up, if you don’t have one or don’t know what it is, click here. Find out what you have in what quantities, and organize them into the following categories:
Water – If the local water supply is still functioning, fill your bathtub and any available food-safe containers such as, water/soda bottles, buckets, and glass jars. Keep in mind that while in moderate climates you may only need about a gallon of water per person per day (this includes drinking, cleaning, and food preparation); in warmer climates you will need 2 or more gallons a day for survival. Not only will you need lots of water, you will need most of it to be potable (consumable). Investing in a gravity or hand-pump water filter BEFORE an emergency is one of the best things you can do. We like and own the Katadyn Hiker Pro, but do a little research and find what fits your needs best. For more information about making water potable click here.
Food – Inventory your non-perishable/shelf stable food supplies first and then move on to the perishables. Check expiration dates and eat the perishable items first. Keep in mind that help may or may not come, and if it does it may be days, weeks, months, or years away. You will need to plan your food intake accordingly, keep track of your stores, and replenish when possible. There are many shelf stable emergency and camping foods on the market that make a great addition to any pantry, but our current favorite is from wisefoodstorage.com. The Wisefood meals are quick and easy to prepare, have great texture, taste, and variety, a shelf-life up to 15 years, and are available for a good price.
For more information about what foods work best in emergency situations, check out our “Food at the End of the World” article, and don’t forget your can opener!
Fire – When used properly and treated with respect, fire can cook your food, clean your water, provide warmth, and add protection. If used incorrectly and not respected, fire can kill you as easily as a Zombie can. Ventilation is important regardless of the type of fuel you use for your fire, and containment is always required. Putting together a basic fire kit is easy to do. Collect together the following items, place them in a waterproof container and use them with care:
- Strike anywhere matches
- Butane lighter
- Fire Striker
- Tinder (cotton-balls, dryer lint, shredded paper, etc.)
Medical – There are commercial medical kits available from places like the Red Cross, but you can build one yourself using a zippered canvas bag and the following supplies: gauze roll bandage, gauze pads, medical tape, scissors, tweezers, aspirin, alcohol wipes, exam gloves, bandages, hand sanitizer, face-mask, bandana, small medical book, needle, and dental floss. Supplement your first-aid supplies with a small first-aid handbook and training in basic first-aid and CPR. Find local Red Cross classes here.
Lighting – Like fire, light can create a sense of security, and allow you to complete tasks in otherwise dark surroundings. Candles, LED flashlights, oil lamps, and lanterns are all great options for lighting. Choose at least two light source types and always have backup parts/batteries for them.
Keep in mind that light pollution can act as a locator beacon to outsiders. It’s best to only use lights once your windows have been blacked out. For more information about the importance of securing the light within your home and how to do so, click here.
Tools/Misc – There are many additional items you may need in any given emergency scenario, it is impossible to list or possess them all, but you can be prepared for most situations by having the items listed below on hand.
- Small tool kit (Hammer, nails, hand saw, screwdrivers (phillips and flat-head), tape measure, utility knife, work gloves, wood glue, pliers, and wire-cutter)
- Batteries (various sizes of rechargeable and regular)
- Light bulbs
- Household Bleach
- Plastic Bags (smaller resealable and large garbage)
- Para-cord, Heavy-duty twine, and Wire
- Duct tape
- Extension cord/s
- Blankets (one per person)
- Hand-crank radio
Likely a thing of the past for most survivors, electricity will become a rare and wonderful thing when available. If you have a generator, use it only in emergency situations where it means the difference between life and death. The sound and fumes from most generators act as a beacon to all those around you and the last thing you need is unwanted company. There are currently a number of pedal powered generators on the market that are easy to maintain, quiet when operated, easy to store, and capable of charging small battery banks for use at a later time.
After securing the windows and doors, and gathering your supplies, it’s time to arm yourself properly. Have a weapon with you at all times, even when you’re sleeping. We recommend a shorter melee weapon like a crowbar, short baseball bat, hammer, or similar object/weapon; these work best in confined spaces like hallways, small rooms, and around furniture. For more information about protection, read our “Anti-Zombie Weapons and Defense“ article.
Wait it out in your new home:
Rescue may or may not come. You could be left to your own devices for hours, days, weeks, months, years, and even forever. Keeping yourself clothed, fed, sheltered, and protected is only half of what you need to do to remain alive; you also need to keep your brain and body healthy by staying active, thinking, and keeping entertained.
Keep yourself active by exercising daily, set a regiment for yourself and stick to it. If you find yourself bored and unchallenged by your exercise routine, change it up and push yourself a little harder.
Keep your brain healthy by reading everything you can get your hands on and trying new things. Keeping a journal of daily events is a great way to reduce stress and lessen the unease of surviving in an undead world, especially if you are alone.
Keep your morale up by playing boardgames, cards, telling stories, and making and completing small, attainable goals.
Keep clean. We cannot express how important it is to your safety, health, and sanity to keep yourself clean. Wash your hands, face, and body on a regular basis. Brush your teeth, clean your clothes, and cut your hair. It is easier to maintain your humanity if you keep up the appearance of being Human.
And last, but not least, we wish you the best of luck.
*While the items and techniques described in this article could undoubtedly be helpful in the event of a Zombie outbreak or emergency situation, Zombease and the Zombease crew do not guarantee survival based upon the advice given in this article.