The Zombie Apocalypse, Part 4: Preparing For The Inevitable

frontier wars 728x90 KS

It’s what you do before the crisis that matters…

Jonathan Glazer, 11 September 2015

If we were part of the storied 1%, preparing for the outbreak would be relatively easy.  Money, storage space, transportation, manpower and even the legal climate would not pose issues for the rich and powerful to plan their survival.  Most have security personnel who are in charge of this planning, so all they do is write a check.  For the rest of us, planning is critical.  Every choice we make is a tradeoff and each of our decisions carries opportunity cost.  Every dollar spent on survival planning is one less dollar available to pay the cell phone bill or buy shoes for the children.  We must prioritize every single element and decide what to buy or prepare and how much to spend.


Maybe a little bigger than this?

A huge underground bunker would be fantastic.  We could stockpile food, water, medicine, ammo, generators, fuel as well as all the creature comforts which would keep us happy until natural causes claimed us or the last zombie on earth keeled over and ceased being a threat.  Most of us do not have such a bunker.  We have to plan either to stay in our homes and defend it or be mobile and carry our essentials with us.  Even if we plan to stay in our homes, the possibility of needing to leave must be in our contingency plan.  This decision might be made for us due to powers beyond our control, such as civil authorities or natural disasters.  In that situation, you may have to grab what you can carry and run.

Let’s talk about ammo.  How much is enough?  This is a very personal decision.  Ammunition is a consumable item and you should be expending some in your regular training.  You should also have enough in reserve to handle the hordes once they reach your neighborhood.  The correct amount is very personal.  Ammo is expensive and it is heavy, therefore tough to carry a lot with you.  Some feel 1000 rounds of your primary battle caliber and perhaps 250 rounds of pistol ammunition for your sidearm is enough.  1000 rounds of 7.62 Nato is a lot heavier than 1000 rounds of 5.56 x 45mm.  Can you carry that much with you?  Can you run it into the trunk of your car along with everything else you are bringing?  Again, this is a personal decision.  A friend and I were talking about this very topic.  He said he only had 2000 rounds of .223 on hand and asked if I thought he should buy more.  I pointed out the difficulty of lugging around even that much.  I also asked if he planned to stand his ground and fight and what the effect of firing 2000 rounds rapid fire would be on his body and his firearm.  He agreed that the likelihood of being to hold your ground against a huge mass of attackers, living or undead, would be small and you would likely be overrun.  We felt that there was such a thing as too much ammunition, especially when you are paying for it and carrying it.


Z-mealsThe conventional wisdom regarding emergency food stores is that you should be stocking 3 weeks worth of food and water for any living being (including pets) in your household.  This is the minimum.  Does it make sense to stock more?  Food eventually goes bad, even if vacuum sealed and properly stored.  When I was putting together my emergency food stores, I inquired about purchasing MREs (Military Meals, Ready to Eat) in volume and one friend asked if I planned to eat the MREs as the expiration date approached.  His point was that I should stock up on food I would normally eat and put it aside.  As expiration dates approached, I could eat it and replace it without wasting money.  That was great advice which came in handy during the blackouts following Hurricane Sandy in my area.  I spent a little over a week eating canned beans, chili and soup and was happy as a mollusk.  I think it is a good idea to go a little heavy on the food and water stores since they won’t go to waste.  Should you have to bug out in a hurry, you can grab what you need and hopefully your surplus will be discovered by another good citizen foraging to feed their starving family.  Ammunition and firearms that are left behind can be discovered by malevolent forces and used against good people.


Prior to Hurricane Sandy, I had decided not to buy a generator because I didn’t want to store fuel. I still stand behind that decision.  I know many people that did have generators and were able to power some appliances but they also had to deal with gas shortages that lasted a couple of weeks.  If you are going to get a generator for home, you should consider keeping gas cans filled for at least a few days worth of running the gennie.  The gas should have a stabilizer put in it and should be rotated out by filling your vehicle and refilling the can every couple of months.  As you can see, storing gasoline has its own pitfalls, plus this act ties you to your residence.  If you need to or want to bug out, the generator will need to be abandoned.


Transportation is another hotly debated topic in the world of zombie preparations.  Max Brooks has written about the utility of a motorcycle making it the vehicle of choice during an outbreak.  He cites the speed and fuel economy of a bike as well as the ability to go off road.  While I can’t dispute those points, I take great issue with the inability of a bike to shelter you from rain storms, carry cargo or provide a physical barrier against gnashing teeth while you sleep.  The bike will eventually run out of fuel, just like the Sport Utility Vehicle, so you need to be able to forage for gas, regardless of what you drive/ride.  I feel the SUV is the best choice for escaping the outbreak area.  You can carry several people, lots of food, guns, ammo and spare fuel plus you can sleep in it.  They are quieter than motorcycles, thereby attracting less unwanted attention from those still alive as well as the other types of two legged threats.  A pickup truck has many of the same benefits of an SUV, but you have less internal room for storage.  If you have extra ammunition as part of the gear stored in the bed of the truck and you wake up to find snarling teeth and bloodied faces clamoring to get inside for a feast, you are out of luck.  But then again, you could drive away to retrieve it in a more peaceful locale.  Should one of the undead climb into the bed of the truck, you are now taking him or her for a ride amongst the countryside.  That could be a problem.


z-roadmapSince we are talking about transportation, where are you heading?  If you live in a city, you know there are just too many people fighting for too few resources, not to mention lots and lots of candidates for membership in the undead hordes.  Once the outbreak is identified, you need to load and move.  Do you have a bug out location in a rural area within one tankful of gas drive?  Is that location secure?  Are you headed into an area with a worse infestation than the one you are leaving?  The answers to these questions are important.  If your plan is to link up with relatives or friends at a remote location, how will you communicate with them?  Cell phones break down with almost no provocation.  Landlines are a little better but are still fragile.  Forget the internet.   Satphones may work, but they are expensive and you may not have yours with you or the other party may not have theirs when it hits the fan.   There are just too many moving parts to guarantee that you will be able to connect with your loved ones during a time of upheaval.  Simple plans are the best ones.  Make a prioritized list of secure remote locations and make sure everyone in your group has a copy.  If there is an outbreak, everyone will know pretty much around the same time.  Just head to location number one.  If it is not secure, leave a message for other members of your group that you are headed to location number two (of course you should not list the address.  No need for additional unwanted company).  If that location is not secure, wash, rinse, repeat.


The most important part of preparations for a zombie outbreak, or any other emergency is the plan.  Decide what your goals are.  Will you stay put or bug out?  What are your food, water, transportation, firepower, heating and shelter needs?  How much do you want to spend?   Make a prioritized list of what is more important.  Can you load your vehicle in one or two trips before getting out of Dodge?  Answer these questions and make your plans accordingly so you can be ready for the zombie outbreak, or any other calamity which stretches civilization to the breaking point.  If you do nothing else, just remember to bring snacks.


Discuss your preparations below, or in our forums >>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *