Don't Die In The Zombie Apocalypse. Follow These 9 Steps.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Evan R. White

If you're reading this, chances are you're a service member, so you probably already have a pretty solid zombie escape and survival plan. Personally, I've never met a single service member who did not have one. That could just be because I was stationed out of Twentynine Palms, California, and everyone who's ever been there for more than an hour agrees that it is the place where the undead will probably first begin to rise up to feast on the living. (Probably just start clambering right out of Amboy Crater and blend right in with all the meth heads.) For those who don't know what I'm talking about, don't worry. We already have pre-planned artillery targets established there, so that will slow the zombies down a bit.

Terrible duty stations notwithstanding, I'm going to assume that you already have a plan in place. And it undoubtedly has all the basics covered: escape routes, vehicles, weaponry, food supplies, cool quips for when you dispatch a zombie in a particularly impressive way.

Related: 6 military procedures you should stop doing immediately during a zombie apocalypse.

But what may have applied when you were living on or near a base may no longer apply in civilian life. For example, living in New York City, I have absolutely no access to firearms, or any weapon deadlier than my old ceremonial sword. And that thing is basically a giant butter knife with a ridiculous black tassel thing on it, so it's not going to do much good when it comes to chopping heads off.

So, I've jotted down a few pointers to help update your zombie survival plan for civilian life:

  1. Learn to cook. No matter how many boxes of MREs you "acquired" from various field ops over the years, they will only last so long.
  2. Learn what's actually edible in your local ecosystem. You don't want to be that guy/gal who survives hordes of the undead only to die from eating the wrong kind of mushroom.
  3. Have aspirin and ice packs ready. Sure, we all mock corpsmen/medics for being good for nothing else, but you never know when you might actually need these items once said regular providers are either gone or trying to eat you.
  4. Grow your hair out. You may be used to a cool, breezy high-and-tight, but more hair on your head means more covering between chomping teeth and your precious, precious brains. You're a veteran, so you probably have a motorcycle and a helmet to go with it. Wear it over your new long hair.
  5. Make sure the people you plan to band together with are in good shape, yourself included. We all remember how to PT, even if we'd rather not. You don't want a loved one to be left behind and torn apart by zombies. But if you have that one friend in your social circle you're getting annoyed with, maybe look into throwing a few extra fries their way every now and then. Never hurts to have a decoy ready.
  6. Make sure you have suitable body armor on hand. You'd be amazed at the protective gear you can fashion out of plumbing supplies and leftover pieces from IKEA furniture. If you're not the handy type, learn where the nearest museum with a medieval exhibit is.
  7. Never dummy-cord anything to yourself. That's just something a zombie can grab hold of. Ignore the voice of every senior non-commissioned officer screaming in the back of your mind to tie everything you're carrying to everything else.
  8. If you're looking to assemble a survivor group of fellow veterans, go for service diversity. Yes, it's good to have a Marine or soldier who can yell, punch, and explode his or her way out situations. But it's probably good to include an airman or sailor to advise caution and do math. And Coasties usually make good swimmers and pilots, so they can't hurt to have around.
  9. If you live in the country, make sure you stay cordial with a friend who lives in the city, and vice-versa. Maybe it will be the rural areas, with low population density, that will be safest. Or maybe a centralized, well-organized city will become the haven for survivors. You never know, so it's best to keep your options open.

I'm sure the plan you already had was a stellar one, but these bullet points are pretty universally applicable additions you should consider. After all, it's better to take these extra preparations and not need them than to wish you'd listened to me as zombies are chewing on the freshly shaved sides of your head. And those survivors within earshot who heeded my insight will shake their scruffy heads at your screams while undead teeth try to chew through the pieces of an Ektorp couch duct taped to their arms. Then I, with my razor-sharp Mameluke sword, will lead the motorcycle-helmeted masses to my buddy Will's place down in Georgia. Because he's in the middle of nowhere, has a ton of guns, and probably has a way more-thought-out plan than I do.

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