Zombie Action Plans: Long-Term Survival

So far we’ve discussed hiding out when the zombies come, and making sure you have the weapons and supplies you need on hand to ensure your survival. But this is only going to be effective in the short-term. It’s quite possible that the zombies are here to stay (or at the very least it will take the military-industrial-scientific-complex a while to sort things out). What are you going to do in the meantime? Your supplies won’t last forever, cabin-fever is a very real danger, and you will need to start looking at things from a longer-term perspective. Many of us have lost the skills needed to survive independently. Here are some things you will need to consider in order to wait out the zombies.

Growing your own food.

Tinned supplies are finite. It is probably still not safe to venture out to  raid the local shops. A better option is to try to set up your own little self-sufficient garden. This might mean considering moving locations to that house down the road with the lovely backyard (and disposing of the rotting corpses of Mr and Mrs Smith who used to live there). It’s also a good idea to have a stockpile of seeds and fertiliser as part of your supply kit, and to start on this project before things with the tinned food get really desperate (carrots don’t grow overnight). If your previous experience with gardening can be reduced to the occasional ill-fated potted parsley and laughing yourself silly watching Costa’s Garden Odyssey, you might like to consider learning a few things now, while it’s still safe to do so.

Making your own clothes.

If you managed to stay in your own home, this might not be a real problem for some time, but if you shifted locations or were forced to go on the run it can become a critical issue very quickly: fighting zombies is a messy business! Fabric can be scrounged from bed sheets, curtains, upholstered furniture, or by combining other clothes (or if you’re really organised you might store a few meters as part of your supplies for just this purpose), but you will need to know what to do with it. Some tips:

* Measure, measure, and measure again. Then cut.

* The stronger the better. You’re probably hand-sewing so use double thread and go over things like armpits and crotches a few times.

* You can roll up sleeves and legs to make a winter garment a summer one – but this doesn’t work in reverse. Make things that are as versatile as possible.

* Learn and practice now – before zombies have ripped up everything you own. Most community colleges, adult education centres and fabric stores run basic sewing classes. They will probably work on the assumption you will use a sewing machine but the skills in tailoring, fitting and procedure are just as relevant to hand sewing.

Extend your education.

Cabin fever is one of the most dangerous issues in a protracted zombie scenario. Bored, grumpy, purposeless humans rapidly become depressed, unpleasant, dangerous humans. Try and see this for the opportunity that it is: you don’t have to go to work, you have no bills to pay, weren’t there always things you wanted to learn? If you have books, great. You can try to get some if it is safe to do so, but if not, talk to your companions – what can they teach you to do? What can you learn from others to make you a zombie-all-rounder: weapons, first aid, carpentry, cooking, gardening, sewing? If you have access to paper and pens, try to record your knowledge for others (or for future generations – you might be here for a very, very long time…).

What do you most need to learn? Vote in the gobbets poll!

Survival is one thing. Living is another. You can build a community, learn to be self-sufficient, and work together – or you can sit in a corner rocking back and forth until you get eaten. The choice is yours.

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10 Responses to “Zombie Action Plans: Long-Term Survival”

  1. It’s a good idea to have livestock that are both useful, and omnivores. Which limits itself to pigs, basically.

    • I have pet rats and have thought about what could happen with them – could I breed them for food? Two problems though – I only have boys so I’d have to capture a female rat, and secondly I’m not sure I could bring myself to eat them – I think I’d take the vegetarian option – wuss that I am!

  2. I’m thinking that Mr and Mrs Smith may make good compost for the vege garden. But would there be any remains if their lives were taken by Zombies? And if yes, would it be a health risk to put Zombie-contaminated chunks in the compost? Enquiring minds want to know!

    • You don’t want’ much meat at all in your compost.

    • Zombies are easily distracted – if something tastier runs on by they will leave their current meal – so their could be differing levels of ‘corpse’ around. The Smiths in this scenario would generally only reawaken as zombies if their brains are intact – if they have been partially consumed they’d just be dead.

      I wouldn’t suggest using anything that may have been infected as compost – the idea of growing zombie carrots is unpleasant.

      • However, decaying meat also produces methane, which may be of use.

        The ideal use for a zombie is to stick them in a treadmill.

  3. Pigs are useful livestock but considering the potential for diseases spreading between humans and swine, and the fact that pigs will eat anything if it stays still for long enough, using the remains of Mr and Mrs Smith as compost (or even putting them in too shallow a grave) is a very bad idea!

    Chickens would be a good idea as well, due to provision of eggs, meat and feathers, dung for compost and general bug eating and lawn scratching duties, as would other poultry, but the noise they make would be a problem.

    Rabbits or guinea pigs would be good for meat, fur, dung etc but would at least be quiet. Not to mention being available in handy single-serve packages. (Soup in a hat).

    Reliable water source also very important. And don’t put the drop toilet near where you should put the well!

    Have I put too much thought into this?

    • I think the fast zombies are much, much scarier. And also so much harder to fight. There seems to be a trend where ‘viruses’ cause fast zombies, and ‘other’ explanations (radiation, meteors, the supernatural) cause slow zombies. I wonder if this is the reason fast zombies are becoming more common in popular culture: the virus explanation is becoming almost standard as a more believable zombie rationale…

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