How to Survive a Zombie Outbreak

Zombie survival hints

(Originally published at

How did the zombies rise? Is it viral? Is it radiation from a crashed satellite? Toxic chemicals? Or magic? 

You know what? It really doesn't matter. When you're surrounded on all sides by undead creatures who want nothing more than to rip chunks of your sweet tender flesh off and chow down like it's an all you can eat buffet, the last thing you need to worry about is why it's happening.

The aim of this article is to try and prevent you getting munched on, if you follow my advice and you still get eaten then just drop me a line and I'll refund you the cover price.

When it comes to surviving a zombie outbreak we must consider several factors, the first and most important being, how do zombies track the living?
Is it a supernatural sense? Unlikely but possible, we shouldn't discount it out of hand until we have proof either way. In this scenario we are totally boned and might as well take a 9mm mental enema.
The more likely method of target acquisition is a tiered system of sight, sound and scent.
A loud noise such as gunfire or screaming will get their attention and cause them to turn and head towards it. They will then be attracted to any movement in the area, which is borne out by the fact that zombies follow each other, especially when it's a large group.
They obviously know that other zombies aren't live food by their scent as we never see them biting each other. Once they're in scent range this sense becomes their final method of prey detection and you are screwed.
How to avoid detection?
Three simple steps.
1. Be frikkin quiet, they don't hear you they won't come looking for you.
2. Stay out of sight, or if you must be seen, be seen at long range and moving slowly. They are less likely to consider you a target if you don't stand out too much.
3. Smell like a corpse or at least try to minimise your human scent, cover it up with a strong scent, like disinfectant or skunk.

Ok so now we know how they're going to hunt you and you should have a good idea of how to keep them off your trail.

But you can't run forever, you're going to need somewhere to hole up. this means you've got to find a base of operations.

A hideout. A batcave. A bolt hole. Call it what you will.

Sounds easy huh? Just lock your doors and windows, close the curtains and you're safe as houses.

Think again chum, an Englishman's home is not his castle and neither is yours. The average residential dwelling just isn't designed with zombie proofing in mind. the doors aren't strong enough and the windows are way too weak.

Ideally you need somewhere with a strong compound. High walls and a solid gate will provide a good first line of defence but if the compound is too big you'll have trouble guarding your perimeter. Another drawback to the compound idea is the possibility of getting surrounded. It's no good being nice and safe if you get trapped and starve to death. You need an escape route, preferably something a bit smarter than ramming through the zombie horde in a truck.

Another alternative, that would be of more use to city dwellers than a compound, is to take over a tower block. If you board up the ground floor doors and windows and lock all the downstairs interior doors it's as good as a wall. Then you block the stairwells and you're safe and high. But how will I get out? I hear you say. Well that depends on the layout of the building.

If the building is close to another one you can cross from roof to roof or even window to window. This way next door becomes your "gate". 

Now if the building stands alone things can get a little trickier but it's not impossible. All you need to do is make sure that any zombies are on the opposite side to the one you want to leave by. If you're smart enough to be reading this you're smart enough to figure that one out.

You'll have noticed by now that I'm not going into specific details about escape routes and exit plans. Well that's for one very simple reason. I don't know where you live or what building you're going to find.

I will say this though, don't pick a mall, it's too tempting for zombies and looters. You don't want to be sat in the honey pot when there's a swarm of African Killer Bees on the loose do you?

Be near a mall by all means but don't use it as a hideout, you don't need the extra trouble that comes with it.

Which brings us to the location of your base. Again there are pros and cons for various locations but they can be broken down into 2 main groups. Open areas or built up areas. An open area will give you a good field of view to watch out for any invading zombies or rogue survivors. A built up area will give you more cover and access to supplies. You makes your choice and you takes your chance. Again it depends on where you are as to which location you choose but it makes more sense for small groups or lone survivors to hide in the city and for large groups to get the hell out of Dodge and go for the wide open spaces.

At some point in your adventures you are going to end up face to face with the undead and this is where we get to the most contentious issue of zombie survival, weapons. If you've been following this guide and you haven't been really unlucky or dumb you shouldn't have to face more than one or two undead at a time. If you end up facing more than that don't try and fight them just run away, it's safer,quieter and smarter.

I may be slightly biased due to the lack of firearms access in my country but I wouldn't recommend guns for surviving a zombie outbreak. They're too noisy, too high maintenance, and you need a hell of a lot of ammunition for them to be any real use.

We all know that to take out a zombie you either need to destroy the brain or remove the head, that's easier said than done. Just because a zombie is already dead it doesn't mean that they've gone soft and squishy. It takes years before bones start to soften and it's the skull that's going to cause us problems. The human skull is hard, it's meant to protect the brain which some people find quite useful. A house brick can crack a skull but it's not going to destroy the brain easily, so we need something tougher than that. Something that can break a brick easily is likely to break a skull just as easily with a higher chance of crushing the brain on the first blow. 

You're going to want something that is hard and reasonably heavy without being too heavy. If you think along the lines of mallets, crowbars and tire irons you won't go far wrong but don't use a claw hammer unless you have to as those claws can get caught in things at the most inopportune moments. Spades and shovels are also an option but baseball bats would probably be too light to be effective and sledge hammers would be too heavy for long term usage.

You might be thinking about some sort of sword or a machete. I'm sorry to tell you this but it's not that easy to decapitate someone. The blade has to be really sharp and can frequently get trapped between the vertebrae even if you're a professional headsman.

I'm not going to discuss crossbows or longbows because, unless you're William Tell or Robin Hood, your chances of a headshot are extremely low in a combat situation.

Well that's my thoughts on zombie survival and I look forward to hearing you all tell me how wrong I am over at the Howdyverse Backchat Blog.

But remember it's not a case of who is right, it's a case of who is left.