Zombie Apocalypse -- Survival Scenario
OK, so we know the Zombies aren't really coming, but it's fun to imagine. Although I have come across a couple of people who are actually preparing for this possibility, I find it to be much more useful as a mental exercise.
Think about it. If you prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse, you are prepared for almost every other scenario.
Water. You're still going to have to have water and the municipal supplies will surely be out of order, which means you'll be either collecting rainwater or be forced to find a natural water supply. With a virus on the loose and the normal microbiological threats still a concern, you're going to need a way to filter and clean water.
If you are relying on store bought filters (or store bought anything), they will eventually quit working and you will not be able to replace them by going to the store or internet. As I tell numerous customers who come in the store, the most important survival tool you have is your brain -- knowing HOW to do something or build something is MUCH more important than being able to afford equipment. With that in mind, learn how to make a sand and charcoal gravity filter from a 5 gallon bucket. Also look into letting the sun's rays make your water safe to drink. With a simple clear plastic jug and 7-9 hours of good, cloud-free sunlight, you can make water safe to drink without the use of filters, iodine, or boiling. It's worth a "google".
Boiling water is always an option, but I find this to be very low on my list of ways to clean water. First, you've got to have fire or a fueled heat source. Second, you've got to have time to set up, sit, and monitor the operation. Lastly, unless you're using a rocket stove, and even then, you've got to worry about a smoke signature while you are utilizing the fire. It's just troublesome all around.
Food. The corner store is closed. Maybe you clear it of Zs and go on in to scavenge. Assuming you survive that, odds are the store has already been looted and picked clean. If you do find anything, it'll be canned goods that are the only thing that hasn't expired. If you don't have a can opener, look into the method of rubbing a can on a flat concrete surface for a few minutes. Again, worth a google.
Hopefully before the Zs came you had a chance to stock pile some food. Having food set aside, preferably 25 year shelf life freeze dried, does a couple of things. Of course it feeds you immediately and keeps you from having to journey out into the unknown that is happening in the outside world at great peril, but it also gives you a cushion. . .time. . .so you can gather your thoughts and figure out the next best move.
Canned goods are generally good for well after their marked expiration dates, so I often recommend (specifically for beginners) this as a method of building a decent (couple of months) supply of food. It's ready to eat, or just needs heated a bit. However, for the more long term scenarios freeze dried and/or dehydrated is the only way to go -- the shelf life and ease of preparation are hard to beat.
Please don't let me hear anyone say, "I'll just go hunting for food." You're fooling yourself. Game isn't all that plentiful TODAY, so we can imagine if normal food became scarce. Everyone and their dad would have the exact same idea. That makes for over crowded hunting grounds and flaring tempers. What happens when the deer you just shot runs off. . .you track it. . .but when you find it, there are two other guys already skinning it? That's their deer now, they say. What will you do?
Heirloom seeds, gardening know-how, and canning supplies with the knowledge to use them are the ONLY way to plan for having a food supply in an extended disaster scenario. Use your preparedness supplies to get you through the initial tough times, but plan on having to grow your own and store as much as you can every single year from now to eternity.
Wild game will eventually come back as time goes on, but the Zombie Apocalypse (worst case MadMax event) quickly makes us realize just how much our lives have changed over the centuries and how hard our ancestors had to work just to live!
Defense/Shelter. Zs might not be so smart, but any other leftover humans are. They will be clamoring for supplies; mainly food and water, but also for safety. If you have it, they will want it. What is the best thing to do?
I've examined the solutions for over a decade. The best case scenario is to already be living far away from population centers. People mean problems. If you're in the city and can't get out either due to security, or lack of funds, your best bet is to disappear. Hide. If people don't know you're there, you don't have a problem. There are simply too many people to defend consistently.
If you're in the suburbs, you've got the feeling of a less dense population, but the "golden hordes" are only days away. As things deteriorate in the city, people who are able to get out will start "drifting" through the country side in all directions. First on the highways, but then on the side roads as the highways become impassible with out-of-fuel-cars and trucks. They'll be scavenging for anything they can find. Again, my best recommendation: disappear. You might be able to set up lookouts, teaming up with like-minded neighbors and using radios to stay in touch and be a little more organized and free to move about than those stuck in cities -- you will still be vastly out numbered by Zs and under-prepared vagrants.
In the deep hinterland? The unpopulated forests and countryside are the best places to be. Here you will still face the danger of other survivors competing for limited resources AND -- as I've told a buddy of mine intent on buying land far away -- the people who already live in the hinterland are much more skilled at hunting and weapons use than cityfolk. . .so it's not a cure all just moving to a less populated area. It certainly will have fewer people, but it may not be any less dangerous -- just a slower paced danger.
So back to my best advice again: disappear. The less chance you give people to see you, the less danger.
Keep in mind if things get really bad, well, the Zs will cause mass panic and chaos at first, but once the initial slaughter is over people will be dying of starvation and probably murder and/or cannibals. So the population (and hence danger) will steadily decline over time. If you can stay hidden long enough, travelling outside will be less dangerous. It's survival of the fittest, though, so the people and Zs you DO encounter when you venture out (3-6 months post-disaster) will be the fittest and therefore the most dangerous.
If you can construct a safe-room in your house, with a disguised entrance and sound proof walls, we highly recommend doing so as soon as possible. It does not have to cost a fortune. I've personally seen it done for less than $1000 in materials. We pay that much for our yearly home and car insurance. Think about buying some Z insurance and investing in a safe room.
If you simply cannot hide, or have a large group, or don't want to hide, but to fight, then you're getting into the realm of serious, military style defense construction. You'll need to develop tactical organization from a daily operations standpoint, as well as physical defenses and a plan of action complete with firing lanes, kill zones, and domicile fortifications.
Sanitation. The water has stopped flowing, but the yellow and brown will not. Gross. To deal with personal hygiene, specialized equipment can come in handy (such as camp toilets, etc.), but the tried and true method of outhousing is the only way to go. I've seen a neat device, for us guys anyway, made from a 6" PVC pipe which is placed in a 3' deep hole in the ground, with the open end sticking out of the ground at urinal level. This gives the guys a place to pee, without leaving standing urine on the ground. The earth just absorbs the urine. If it gets too stinky, remove the pipe, fill the hole, dig another. Outhousing is about the same process, but we like privacy and warmth so a small shelter is built over the hole. A handful of sawdust or two after each use keeps the smell down. You can google outhouse construction and how that was perfected. . .plan on having one.
How will you wash your body? How will you wash your clothes? A few 5 gallon buckets can be used with a clean toilet plunger to wash and rinse clothes in, with a good old clothes line for drying. Do you have any wooden clothes pins? Stock up on washcloths and towels and set them aside for your preparedness plan.
Weapons. Common caliber firearms are best for ease of use and stopping power, plus intimidation. They are not the best due to the amount of noise they make, as well as requiring ammunition. If you're a re-loader, great, but still a cartridge can only be re-loaded so many times before it's no good any more. 12 gauge shotguns, 9mm, .380 auto, 40 S&W, .308, .223, 7.26, .22 -- all common calibers that should be much easier to find and barter for (and with) than odd balls.
Experienced and truly prepped groups usually try to go with 2 or 3 firearms with interchangeable magazines and calibers, including a sidearm, main battle rifle, and perhaps a couple of specialty weapons. In this way, any member can use the magazines or weapons of any other member in an effective manner. If everyone in your party has a different firearm, it puts you at a disadvantage.
Outside of firearms, which are noisy, once the initial surge of action is over, things may well revert to more antiquated weaponry such as blunt force, cutting edges, and bow and arrow. Many people concentrate on firearms and that's well and good, but edged weapons have good day to day uses and may actually become as precious or more precious as firearms as ammo starts to run dry.
If you can get a deer (or a bad guy) quietly with a crossbow, it's much better than a big boom which is a red flag.
Communications and Other Equipment. Radios no doubt can give you a distinct advantage in both having information from far away places, or from a local tactical standpoint just being able to communicate with your group or team as you conduct day to day life. When the Zs come, radio and tv will provide one thing for sure: propaganda. Keep calm. Things are being handled.
The "every man for himself" announcement will not be made, but rather implied by the SILENCE of the radio and tv and/or complete loss of electrical power. Having a shortwave radio or general HAM experience level and equipment is probably a good idea, as HAMs and shortwave broadcasters may be in operation long after the mainstream media has gone by the wayside. Amateur radio operators regularly practice having to run their equipment off of DC portable power -- power they can often generate on their own without the use of the grid. It's your best bet for staying informed and just hearing another human voice.
Fire will be important. It will also be important learning how best to manage fire. Fire makes smoke, usually, unless you're gasifying it, and that clearly marks your location. Not a good thing. What will you burn? That means lumberjacking your own wood; felling trees, stripping them, processing them -- this all takes equipment. I am a tool nut. An old tool nut at that. Look for hand drills, two man cross cut saws, axes, splitting mauls, hatchets, etc., at garage sales and auctions.
Think about the things we use daily to keep ourselves comfortable, fat and happy. We need a place to sleep. Have plenty of blankets and bedding materials on hand. Get used to doing without things. Books, games, and prayer will probably come back into "fashion" pretty quickly when the Zs attack and normal society changes. TVs, computers, video games -- leave them. Paperweights.
Backpacks, rechargeable batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, flashlights, medical supplies -- these are all useful things which can enhance your life in a useful way. But again, do you know how to utilize these things effectively?
It all comes back to one thing: PREPARE YOUR BRAIN WITH KNOWLEDGE.
Side Note: The government. Local "officials" will attempt to maintain control of the situation and for a period of time they might be successful, but as time goes on and things do not improve they will lose control and become victims themselves to the Zs or they will have retreated to a well-defended (and pre-prepared) facility.
To be sure, the government has been planning all along for the possibility of severe national and world disaster -- anyone who isn't aware of underground bases, well, you're an ostrich and a fool outright. The gov is ready for anything, Zs included.
While we are top side, dealing with hell on earth, "they", the well-connected and elite will be safe inside their bunker. Down in their well-stocked holes, they will be monitoring as best they can conditions above ground and planning their next move.
That next move will be to return and re-establish control over that which they previously controlled. Do you think they will be much concerned with your civil liberties or feelings or rights at that point? Whether it's Zombies, or an asteroid, or nuclear war, when the authorities climb out of their holes, just how will they go about re-establishing control?
So it's a little side note maybe some of us forget to think about. We are so focused on surviving, that we fail to think about what happens after we actually survive. A monumental task worthy of an award.