General Survival Guidelines
- Always have some sort of weapon.
- Prioritize your needs: Basic needs are food, water and shelter. Companionship is fairly important too. Things of value in the previous world (such as money and smaller comforts) must be secondary.
- Strength in numbers: With more populace, your refuge will not only be more defended, but can provide itself food and other necessities. However, larger populations are more likely to put a strain on supplies and attract much more attention.
- Avoid population centers wherever possible: Zombies are generally located in the area where it reanimated. Overrun cities will contain thousands, if not millions of infected.
- In combat, remaining calm is the most important thing: Panic rarely leads to anything but death. Breathing deeply brings more oxygen to the brain and calm ones nerves. At the same time, one has to know when to act without hesitation.
- Use range and distance: While zombies don’t defend themselves in a conventional capacity, melee combat can be risky. Severing a spine, or destroying a (somewhat moving) skull is not always an easy task. As author Cormac McCarthy once wrote “Even in the battle between man and steer (referencing a slaughterhouse incident), the outcome is not certain”. Keeping your distance from zombies decreases the natural and formidible stress that accompanies their prescence, and it gives one more time to manage their actions.
- Always expect trouble/always be alert: Famed boxing champion Mike Tyson once said “Everyone has a plan…. until they get punched in the mouth”. No plan is foolproof. Expect things to go wrong. Prepare contingency plans. Never lower your guard. Develop the habit of visualizing where important things are (exits, weapons, people, supplies, etc). When travelling through unsecured grounds, constantly look around and listen. Be aware if any actions being taken may attract more zombies.
- A one-time solution is rarely a solution: Everything one does or needs must be sustainable and repeatable, or the eventual lack of resources will be as fatal as a zombie bite. Long term thinking is critical for survival.
- If holed up in a makeshift base, frequently reinforce and test your defenses: Structures and devices of all kinds require some form of maintenance over time. The boards and beams that withstand a constant hammering day and night from the undead should be checked often and meticulously, and tested as safely as possible.
- Melee weapons rarely one-shot: The human body has evolved to absorb damage, the brain being one of the most protected parts. Unless one is either very skilled, or very strong, most zombie kills by way of melee weapon will require multiple swings. This should always be expected and planned for. Sometimes attacking the neck to sever the spinal cord can be preferable to only attacking the skull. This merely disables the zombie (leaving infection through a bite still possible), but then the finishing blow can be delivered unimpeded.
- Resource per kill: The more zombies in an area, the more valuble each bullet becomes. Use them sparingly. Semi-automatic or burst fire with the proper amount of time, and proper form can conserve a resource that will be literally worth more than its weight in gold.
- Conserve valuble energy: While melee combat does not consume ammunition, it does consume energy. Few people are athletic enough to wield a skull smashing weapon for hours on end, and adrenaline will not last forever. Ration swings, manage one’s own blood sugar levels with nutritious food, and always try to save the last bit of energy for retreat to safer ground.
- Practice worst case combat scenarios: During down time, practice clearing gun jams. How this is done differs from survivor to survivor, and from weapon to weapon. Cycling, reloading, and fieldstipping are all options. Know your weapon well. Try to simulate combat situations within reason.
- Observe firearm safety protocol at all times: Never assume a gun is unloaded. Even after unloading is verified, never wield a firearm inappropriately. Never allow it to point in a direction that is unsafe to one’s self, or one’s group. Be aware of when the last time it was cleaned and oiled. Be aware what types of ammunition the gun will work with.
- When travelling, always be on the lookout for possible locations of supplies and shelters.
- Survival of the Fittest/Nature be not kind: In human civilization, generosity, compassion, and sacrifice usually serve to improve circumstances for all. When there is no civilization, many otherwise admirible qualities of humanity become luxuries that can be easily exploited, and lead to needless deaths. It is up to every individual to decide for themselves how much “humanity” they can afford. Only the strong, smart and the selfish survive.
- Consider having a “Final way out” plan: Even the strong can run into dead ends. Accept there may come a point where the fight is lost. A fast, painless death is much preferrable to being eaten alive or dying of starvation, thirst, disease, or exposure. Many people choose death as opposed to becoming a zombie – even if they are by themselves. With firearms in abundance, this plan often takes care of itself. Regardless, it is better to have this plan, and not need it, than to find yourself needing it, and not having it.
- Remember the enemy may be gone but the threat lives on: Even if you have killed all the zombies in a given area, some may have heard their moans off in the distance.
Do you have any survival skills, knowledge or guidelines? We would love to get a discussion going on here in the comments section or at the forums! So feel free to respond, comment and discuss 😉