Logo Zombie survival guide Chapter 6 Living in an undead world
The undead
Weapons and combat techniques
On the Defense
On the run

On the AttackLiving in an undead worldBuy the book on amazon

In "On the Defense," you learned how to prepare a space for what could be a long siege until rescue. In "On the Run," you learned how to travel for what could be great distances until reaching safety. Now it is time to imagine and prepare for a worst-case scenario. In this scenario, you and your closest friends and family must be able to escape all civilization, find a remote, uninhabited comer of our planet (there are more than you think), and rebuild your life from scratch. Imagine a group of shipwrecked survivors on an island, or a human colony on a new planet. This must be your mind-set to survive. No one is corning for you, no rescue planned.

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1. ASSEMBLE A GROUP: As detailed in previous chapters, collective response is always preferable to an individual attempt. A group will extend your financial resources, allowing for the purchase of a greater amount of land and equipment. As with a siege, a greater variety of skills will also be available. Unlike a siege, in which you will be lucky with whatever talents you find, preparing for a worst-case scenario allows the time to train members of your party in whatever skills are required. For example, how many blacksmiths do you know? How many doctors can find medicines in the wild? How many real urban dwellers know anything about farming? Specialization also allows for quicker preparation (a team scouts potential land while another acquires equipment, etc.). During the crisis, one or several members of your group could be sent ahead to the designated safe zone to prepare it if the situation gets worse. Of course, there are potential dangers. Unlike the relatively short sieges of protected areas, this long-term survival may lead to social problems unhown in modem society. People who believe help is eventually coming are much more likely to remain loyal than those who know the future is what they make it. Discontent, mutiny, even bloodshed are always a possibility. As is the mantra of this manual, be prepared! Take several classes on leadership and group dynamics. Books and lectures on basic human psychology are always a must. This knowledge will be instrumental in choosing your members and governing them later. To reiterate earlier statements, making a group of individuals cooperate over a long period of time is the hardest task on earth. However, when successful, this group will be capable of anything. Group survivors

2. STUDY, STUDY, STUDY!: To say you will be starting from square one is inaccurate. Our ancestors were in this position because knowledge took so long to discover, accumulate, and exchange. Your great advantage over the first sentient apes will be thousands of years of experience right at your fingertips. Even if you were to find yourself in some desolate, hostile environment with no tools whatsoever, the knowledge stored in your brain would still put you light-years ahead of the most well-equipped Neanderthal. In addition to general survival manuals, you should also add works on other worst-case scenarios. Many books have been published concerning wilderness survival in a nuclear war. Make sure these are as up-to-date as possible. Stories of true-life survival will also be a great help. Accounts of shipwrecks, plane crashes, even early European colonists will contain a treasure trove of dos and don'ts. Learn about our ancestors and how they adapted to their environment. Fictional accounts, as long as they are based in fact, may also be helpful, such as The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. Absorbing all these stories, both true and fictional, will help you realize you are not the fist to attempt such an endeavor. Knowing that "it's been done" should be a calming influence as you embark upon your new life.

3. WEAN YOURSELF OFF LUXURY ITEMS: Most of us dream of a simpler yet more nutritious diet. "I'm cutting down on coffee," "I need to have less sugar," "I'm trying to eat more leafy greens" are phrases we either speak or hear frequently in everyday life. Living through a Class 4 outbreak would leave you with little choice. Even in ideal conditions, it would be impossible to grow or produce every food and chemical you now enjoy. To go from so much to zero overnight would be a significant shock to your system. Instead, begin to cut down on the foods and luxury items you will not have in your new home. Obviously, you will need to know what this new environment is and what you will be able to produce there. Even without going down a long list now, common sense will dictate exactly what you can and cannot live without. For example, as much as you love them, tobacco and alcohol are not part of human physiology. Cravings for vitamins, minerals, and sugar can be satisfied with natural foods. Even certain medications such as light pain relievers can be supplemented with skills like acupressure, various massage techniques, or even simple meditation. All of these suggestions might sound a little too foreign or "crunchy granola" for our practical, Western society. Remember though that many of these diet and healing techniques originated not with Northern California burnouts but with Third World societies where resources were and are scarce. Always keep in mind how spoiled Americans are in comparison to the rest of the planet. Studying the so-called "less fortunate" might give you some insight into how to handle problems with simpler, if not as comfortable, means.

4. REMAIN VIGILANT: Implementing plans for a Class 4 outbreak should begin during the early stages of a Class 1. At the first sign of an outbreak (bizarre homicides, missing persons, unusual diseases, contradictory press, government involvement), contact all members of your group. Begin discussing your plans for evacuation. Make sure none of the laws have changed concerning travel, permits, equipment licenses, etc. If the outbreak expands to Class 2, prepare to move. Catalog and pack all your gear. Send a scouting party ahead to prepare the safe zone. Begin the first stage of your alibi. (If it's a funeral of a loved one, let it drop now that the loved one is ill.) Be ready to leave at a moment's notice. Once the outbreak expands to Class 3, get out!

5. TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH!: You may be tempted to remain in your home or your newly constructed defensive zombie fortress permanently instead of heading for the wilderness. This is not recommended. Even if you lived in some sort of compound that is well-stocked and well-protected, with the means of producing food and water for decades to come, the chances of survival would be marginal. Urban zones will, in the immediate future, become the center of vicious combat between the living and the dead. Even if your fortress survived these street battles, it would eventually fall victim to extreme military measures, such as saturation bombing. As discussed previously in "On the Defense," urban centers are the most likely areas for industrial accidents, large fires, and so on. Simply put: Stay in the city, and you stand little or no chance for survival. Suburban and even settled country areas will fare no better. As the numbers of living dead increase, they will almost certainly find your dwelling. A siege that begins with dozens of zombies will turn into hundreds, thousands, then hundreds of thousands in a short time. Once they find you, they will never leave. If anything, their moans, the collective shriek of several thousand zombies, will alert others hundreds of miles away. Theoretically, you could find yourself besieged by more than a million zombies. Of course, it may not come to that. If your fortress is in the Midwest, Great Plains, or even Rocky Mountains, the chances of a million-zombie siege are small (though not impossible!). In these places, however, there is a greater possibility of bandits. We will not know exactly what these brigands of the future will look like whether they will travel on motorcycles or horses, carrying swords or military firepower. What is certain is that they will always be on the lookout for loot. As time goes by, this might mean women. Later it could mean children for slavery or new warriors. And, as if the threat of zombies were not bad enough, these ruffians could eventually look to their fellow humans as a last-ditch source of food. If they discover your compound, they will attack. Even if you repel an assault, one survivor is enough to put your fortress on the map forever. Until these gangs eventually self-destruct, you will always be their target. So when you run, it must be far away from all civilization. Not just far enough where the only thing you see is a road. There must be no road, no power or telephone lines nothing! It must be on the fringes of the globe, a place uninhabited by humans. It must be far enough away to make zombie migration difficult, make a bandit raid impractical, and make the risk of industrial fallout or military strikes insignificant. Short of flying to another planet or colonizing the bottom of the ocean, it must be as far as you can get from the centers of humanity.

6. KNOW YOUR LOCATION: When it comes time to flee, don't just pack up the Jeep, head north, and hope you find some nice safe nook in the Yukon. When planning to escape the living dead, especially in an uninhabited part of the world, you must know exactly where you are going. Spend time studying the most up-to-date maps. Older maps may not have roads, pipelines, outposts, or other structures listed. When choosing your location, make sure the following questions are answered:

A. Is it remote-at least several hundred miles from any civilization?

B. Does it have a source of fresh water for not only you but any animals you decide to bring? Remember that you will require water for a multitude of purposes, including drinking, washing, cooking, and farming.

C. Does it have the capacity to produce food? Is the soil good enough for growing? What about animal grazing or fishing? Will foraging produce enough consistent sustenance without being depleted?

D. Does it have any natural defenses? Is it atop a high peak or surrounded by cliffs or rivers? During an attack by the living dead or human bandits, will the terrain aid you or your enemy?

E. What are its natural resources? Are there building materials such as wood, stone, or metal? What about fuel such as coal, oil, peat, or again, wood? How much building material would you need to bring with yon in order to construct a compound? How much of the local flora has medicinal properties?

All these questions must be answered before you even begin to consider a permanent refuge. Building materials and natural defenses are negotiable. Food, water, and extreme distance are not! Without any of those three essential elements, you seriously compromise your long-term survival. When choosing your new home, make a list of at least five possible places. Visit them all, preferably in their harshest season. Camp at least a full week with primitive gear and zero outside contact. Only then should you make your decision about which is best suited to your needs.

7. BECOME AN EXPERT: Research your potential new home thoroughly. Read every book, every article, every sentence written about it. Examine every map and photograph. The type of terrain you choose will have its own specific survival manuals. Purchase and study them all. In addition, study the accounts of earlier, indigenous peoples who lived in similar environments. Again, visit the site many times, and during every season. Spend at least several weeks there, exploring and camping in every sector. Get to know each tree and rock; every sand dune or ice floe. Calculate the most efficient source of food production (farming, fishing, hunting, gathering) and how many humans the land can support with this method. The answer will he vital in choosing the size of your group. If legally possible, purchase the land. This will allow you (resources permitting) to begin construction of an actual dwelling. It may not be your permanent domicile, hut it should at least be something that can shelter you during construction of your future compound. If small and functional, it should serve as a storage shed for pre-stocked supplies. If large and comfortable, it could serve as a second home or vacation getaway. Many people during the Cold War built vacation homes that also served as potential escapes from nuclear holocaust. Familiarize yourself with the nearest local population. If they speak a different language, learn it, as well as local customs and personal history. Their knowledge and expertise should complement your book-learned education on the environment. Never tell the locals why you are there. (More on that later.)

Map8. PLAN YOUR ROUTE: Follow the rules relating to this section in "On the Run:' Then multiply them by a hundred. Not only will you face the dangers of closed roads and natural barriers, but you will he crossing a landscape crawling with zombies, bandits, and all the chaotic elements of an imploding society. And all this is before a state of emergency is declared! Once that happens, all your previous problems will pale next to the threat of your own military. Unlike simply fleeing a zombie-infested zone, you will not have the luxury of choosing from a variety of possible destinations. There can only he one, and you will have to reach it to survive. As has been stated many times before: Advance planning can never be taken for granted! It should even be a factor in choosing your location. For example, a remote oasis in the middle of the Sahara Desert sounds great, but how will you get there if the airlines stop flying? Even an island several miles off the coast could seem as far as the Sahara if you don't have a boat. All the lessons of "On the Run" will apply to this scenario. What it does not cover is the international perspective. What if, say, you buy a piece of land in the wilds of Siberia, and the airlines are still flying-but Russia has closed its borders? This does not mean you shouldn't choose a place in Siberia, but make sure you've set up the means (legal or otherwise) to enter the country.

9. PLANS B-C-D-E!: What if your first means of transportation doesn't work? What if the road or watel-way is blocked? What if you discover that your safe haven has been oversun by romhies. bandits. the military. or other refugees'? What if a thousand more things go wrong'? Have backup plans. Map out potential hazards in your path and develop individual tailor-made ways to counter them. Alternate vehicles, routes, even a backup safe area that, while it may not he as ideal or prepared at the first, will at least keep you alive long enough to think up a new strategy.

10. LIST YOUR GEAR, BE READY TO SHOP: Any competent disaster-survival manual should catalog everything you will need to begin a new life. Always maintain three detailed and up-to-date lists: 1: What you absolutely need to survive. 2: Equipment to help build and expand your dwelling and surroundings, 3: If not all the comforts of home, at least a close approxitmation. If finances permit, purchase all your items immediately. If not, know where to purchase them. Check prices and locations frequently. Keep track of suppliers that have moved and locate substitutes for those that have gone out of business. Always have at least two backup options in case your primary supplier runs out of stock. Make sure the suppliers are within several hours of driving distance at most. Do not depend on catalogs or online purchases. So-Called "express" freight is unreliable enough in normal circumstances. What would it be like in an emergency? Keep all this information with your list. Adjust it accordingly. Always have a cash reserve for the bare essentials (the total amount will depend on the prices of your gear). Even before the situation spirals out of control, checks and credit cards will not compare to the comfort of paper money.

11. CONSTRUCT DEFENSES: Nothing is more important than those structures that aid in your protection. Once you have established your group in a quiet corner of the wilderness, begin fortifying it immediately. You never know when the odd zombie will stumble into your camp, attracting others with its moans. Formulate detailed plans for your defense. The layout should be scouted and building materials either purchased or designated from the terrain. Everything, including building materials, tools, and supplies, should already be in place by the time you arrive, so there is nothing left to do but build. Remember: Your defenses must protect you not only from zombies but from bandits as well. Also remember that those human attackers will, at least in the beginning, possess firearms and perhaps explosives. If they succeed in breaching your defenses, always have a fallback position prepared. This secondary defense could be a fortified house, a cave, or even another wall. Keep it maintained and ready for action. A strong fallback position could be the turning point in an otherwise hopeless battle.

12. PLAN AN ESCAPE ROUTE: What if during an attack, your defenses are breached? Make sure everyone knows the escape route's location and can get there on his or her own. Ensure that emergency supplies and weapons are packed and ready at all times. Designate a rally point for your fleeing group, a place to reassemble if scattered during an attack. Deserting your new "home" will not be psychologically or emotionally simple, especially after all the time and energy you have spent building it. People around the world who live in precarious situations will tell you how hard this can be. As attached as you may become to this place you now call home, it will always be better to cut and run than die defending it. An alternate location should also be chosen well before you land in your new home. It should be far enough away that zombies or raiders cannot track you from one place to another. It should also be close enough that an overland trek is possible under the harshest conditions (you never know when you might have to abandon your first base). Again, it must be chosen before the outbreak. Scouting for a new home or anything else after an outbreak won't he easy (see following section).

13. BE ON GUARD: Once you are settled in, defenses built, dwellings erected, crops planted, labor divided, by no means should you ever truly relax. Lookouts should be posted at all times. Keep them camouflaged and equipped with a reliable way to alert the others. Make sure the means of alarm will not alert the attackers as well. Designate a secure perimeter outside your fixed defenses. Keep that perimeter patrolled both day and night. People venturing outside the compound should never do so alone, and never unarmed. Those within camp should always be within several seconds of the weapons locker, ready for battle in case of attack.

14. REMAIN CONCEALED: Although the topography of your location should minimize the chances of discovery, you never know when a zombie or raider will venture close to your camp. Make sure no lights can be seen at night. Make sure the smoke from your fires is extinguished before daybreak. If the area's natural elements do not already camouflage your compound, do so artificially. Practice "noise discipline'' at all hours of the day and night. Yell only when necessary. Insulate your communal buildings so that music, conversion, and other sounds will not escape. During new construction and day-to-day maintenance, post additional scouts at the outer limit of the potential noise range. Remember that the slightest sound may be carried on the wind and can betray your position. Always determine which way the wind is blowing, either in the direction of possible inhabitants (the direction you came from) or across a known safe area (a large body of water, deep desert, etc.). If your power source is noisy (e.g., a fossil-fuel generator), make sure it is insulated and used sparingly. Such a constant state of heightened vigilance will be difficult at first. As time goes by, it will become second nature. Life was lived in this fashion for centuries from medieval Europe to the steppes of central Asia. Most of humanity's history has been the story of small islands of order in an ocean of chaos, people scratching to survive with the constant threat of invasion always hanging above their heads. If they could survive in this manner for countless generations, then, with a little practice, so can you.

15. REMAIN ISOLATED: Do not give in to curiosity under any circumstances. Even an expert scout, highly trained in the art of stealth, can accidentally lead armies of undead back to the compound. If your scout is captured and tortured by brigands, the bandits may learn of your location. Beyond the more dramatic threat of zombies or bandits, there is always the risk of your scout contracting some conventional disease and infecting the rest of the population (with few medicines at your disposal, an epidemic of any kind could be devastating). Staying put does not mean staying ignorant of the outside world. Dynamo- or solar-powered radios are a perfectly safe means of gathering information. But listen only! Transmitting will reveal your position to anyone with even the crudest direction-finding equipment. As much as you trust those in your group, it would not be a had idea to keep all transmitters, flares, and other signaling devices under lock and key. A moment's weakness could doom your entire existence. Your leadership training will be the best instruction on how to handle such a delicate matter.

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How long will you have to endure this primitive existence? How long before the walking dead simply crumble to dust? How long before life can return to even a semblance of normality? Sadly, there is no exact figure.

Year 1: A state of emergency is declared. You flee. Your defenses are built; your compound is established. Labor is divided. A new life begins. All this time, you monitor radio and television broadcasts, keeping a close watch on the unfolding conflict.

Year 5-10: Somewhere within this time period, the war ends. The dead have won. The signals stop. You assume that the entire world is overrun. You continue your life, keeping a close eye on defense as bandits and refugees might begin to enter your zone.

Year 20: After two decades of isolation, you consider sending a scouting party. Doing so will risk discovery. If the party does not return by a fixed date, you assume they have been lost, perhaps even divulged your location. You stay hidden. Do not send out another search party, and prepare for battle. Another party will not be sent out for at least five years. If the scouts do return, their findings will determine your next course of action.


Undead worldPost-apocalyptic fiction usually shows the survivors of a new age reclaiming their world in dramatic steps, such as retaking an entire city. While this makes for exciting imagery, especially in moving pictures, it does not represent a safe or efficient means of re-colonization. Instead of marching across the George Washington Bridge to repopulate Manhattan, a safer, smarter, more conservative stance will be to either expand your existing living space or migrate to a better, if still relatively isolated area.Worst-case survival manuals, as well as many historical texts, will he your best guide to a complete rebuilding. What they may not instruct you to do, and what you must do, is make sure that your new, more civilized home is secure! Remember: Yours is the only government, the only police force, the only army around. Safety will he your responsibility, and although the immediate danger may have passed, it must never he taken for granted. No matter what you will find, and no matter what challenges you will face, take heart in the knowledge that you have survived a catastrophe not seen since the extinction of the dinosaurs, a world ruled by the living dead.

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