Step by step guide to surviving a zombie attack

20 Jul

Matt Webb

Unless you’re made of stone, you’ve probably devoted some amount of time in your life devising a zombie survival strategy of some kind. It’s hard to sit and watch any kind of horror film without saying to yourself, “I would be so much better in this situation that these idiots.” That counts double for zombie films. Recent statistics show that for every blogger out there on the World Wide Web, there are an average 25 posts outlining some kind of zombie survival strategy. That means 2500% of bloggers write about surviving a zombie apocalypse. So what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t chip in with one of my own? In order to make my guide stand out from the crowd, I am going to offer you one thing that the others don’t; my cast iron guarantee that if you follow my advice you will not be eaten alive by the undead. Not even once.

One assumption that all of these zombie bloggers make is that they’re going to be around long enough to actually see the zombie apocalypse take hold. So, what, you think you’re going to magically wake up one day and the whole world will have been transformed into a smoking zombie plagued ruin while you slept? You don’t get that lucky, Mungo. The apocalypse has to start somewhere and it might just start with you. Here’s where the most important character trait in surviving a zombie attack comes into play:


If you’ve been sensitively raised by kind and loving parents then you’ve probably also been taught to be tolerant and accepting of those that are different to you and kind to those less fortunate. Even if your parents didn’t raise you this way, Sesame Street probably did. This behaviour has to stop if you’re serious about surviving a zombie attack.

You can take it from me (and for any children reading, this message applies to the playground too):

People that are different to you could be zombies who want to eat you.

Among the first victims in any zombie attack are bound to be those whose first thoughts in a crisis are along the lines of, “Oh, what a nasty looking bite wound on that dishevelled looking madman. It looks infected. He probably needs my help.” You may as well start feeding on the flesh of the living right now, to save time later.

If you see someone like this in the street…

…and your initial instinct leads you to do anything other than decapitate and/or flee from this person, then you will not survive even the opening phases of a zombie attack.

You must suspect everyone, and I mean everyone. Until you are 100% certain that a person is NOT a mindless flesh devouring minion of hell, you must treat them with extreme prejudice. In this situation our philosophy should very much be “guilty until proven innocent.” I know that survival alone in a post-apocalyptic world is a grim prospect, but it is grimmer than being eaten alive?

Quite possibly.

Although you must suspect everyone, you must also accept that you probably won’t survive for long on your own. You need some friends around, at least for added protection, but you need to choose these friends wisely. Which leads me to my next key point:

Be ruthless

We all have our favourite people. One of my favourites is Rolf Harris. What a lovely man he is. But if I suddenly found myself in a zombie survival situation with a group of followers that included Rolf Harris I’d really have to think hard about how he would fit into the team. What abilities is Rolf bringing to the table? Ray Mears is good for building shelters and foraging for food. Jet Li is really good at kicking people in the face.* I have the aforementioned paranoia by the bucket load. And Rolf? How is his ability to wield a wobble board going to help you out in a tight spot? Sure, he’s good at making those doggy panting noises and that weird thing where he flicks his cheek and makes a high pitched ‘boing’ sort of sound, but wouldn’t that just start to get a little bit annoying after a while? Aren’t you, when all’s said and done, better off leaving him for the zombies?

Of course you are. You can’t afford to be sentimental. You don’t want to end up cradling the fat dead head of your favourite overweight uncle who you attempted to rescue despite the fact that you were endangering yourself and others while doing so. You don’t want to end up sobbing over his morbidly obese corpse while the circle of bloodthirsty zombies closes around you both.

You need to surround yourself with fit, healthy and practical people who will be of use in a world in which civilisation has collapsed. This is easier said than done. However, in the same way that you may have a network of friends you know you can rely upon to look after the cat or water the pot plants while you’re on holiday, you should also have a network of friends you can rely on to cover your back in the event of a zombie apocalypse. People that are of no practical use to your continued survival must be cast adrift from your group. In sacrificing themselves to the insatiable hunger of the zombies, they may just slow their pursuit and aid your escape to safety.

*It is of vital importance that your survival team includes Ray Mears and Jet Li. If you can’t get hold of these two then the next best thing will have to do.**

**Do not make the mistake of assuming that Bear Grylls and Jackie Chan are the next best things. They are not.

Make yourself indispensible

Now that you’ve surrounded yourself with practical and ruthless people you can rely on, you’d better make damn sure that they see you the same way. You can’t afford to be the weak link. The minimum requirement for your inclusion in the zombie survival collective is that you’re fit, healthy and capable of smashing in a reanimated corpse’s face without getting queasy. Any additional skills or knowledge you can bring will help to establish you as a key member of the group. If you’re the only person in the team who can hotwire a JCB and use it to help construct solid walls for a temporary fortress then you’re going to be a valuable person; someone everybody wants to help to keep alive. If all you can do is smash skulls then you’re going to be easily replaceable and therefore vulnerable.

So go out and take some evening classes, before it’s too late. Take a bricklaying class. Learn how to forage for wild mushrooms. Become skilled in a martial art. Anything to make your allies think twice about turning on you and feeding you to the zombies to save their own skins.

Of course, you can’t afford to underestimate the importance of smashing skulls. This is your bread and butter and you’d better be good at it. To help you excel in this field you’ll need to make sure you have plenty of:


We British are at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to collecting weapons to fight off zombies. We’re not allowed an arsenal of automatic weapons, like the Americans. Due to my middle class upbringing and my abject fear of being sent to prison (I’d get passed around like currency) I have absolutely no idea where you would get a gun from in this country. I guess in the event of a zombie attack you might be able to break into a police station and search for guns, or perhaps find a shotgun in a farmhouse. The problem with looking for guns is that you may very well find the gun in the possession of it’s owner. If that happens, there’s no telling how they’d react to you trying to take their gun away from them. Probably poorly. Trying to steal a firearm is a good way to get yourself shot in the face. You’ve got enough problems trying to dodge zombies without piling a gunshot wound on top of everything.

A gun is a fine thing if you happen to come across one going spare, but you’re best off concentrating on something a little less technical. Most people already have at least one heavy object in their home that they know they could brain an intruder with if necessary. A cricket bat or something similar. This is fine for starters, but variety is the spice of life and you’ll be far better off having plenty of options to hand. Here are some fantastic things that you can pick up from any branch of B&Q, Homebase or John Lewis:

1.       Chainsaw




2.       Billhook





3.       Axe



4.       Frying Pan




5.        Cleaver




6.       Meat tenderiser





7.       Sledgehammer


Basically what you’re looking for is anything that’s going to crush a skull or cut through a neck. Get creative. If you don’t have a meat tenderiser then a rolling pin with some nails hammered through it will do just as well, if not better. Think back to all the times when you’ve said, “watch it, you could have someone’s eye out with that thing!” and then go and get that thing!

Remember to be aware of your limitations. The sledgehammer, though effective, is unwieldy. Swinging it could easily throw you off balance and by the time you regain it, it could be too late. Whatever you feel most comfortable with is the right weapon for you.

By now you should have reliable allies, with skills necessary for survival and weapons suitable for defending yourselves from the zombie hordes. There’s only one thing left to do:

Get the hell out of Dodge

You may be tempted to stay in an urban area. You may be tempted to find yourself a solidly constructed building and stay there for the duration. This would be a mistake. You have no idea how long you’re going to have to stay there and if you become surrounded by zombies then that nice sturdy building will become your tomb.

An urban area is, by its very definition, densely populated. This may be attractive to you; more people mean more allies to aid you in your fight of the zombies. Wrong! More people mean more potential zombies. A densely populated city will see the zombie infection spread like wildfire. You will soon become surrounded and left with a choice between starving to death and being eaten alive. Your only chance is to get out into the countryside as soon as possible.

Eats, shoots and leaves

This is where the additional skills you acquired in order to make yourself indispensible to your survival group come into their own. You need to make your way north to the Highlands of Scotland. On your way there you must avoid towns and cities as much as possible. If you stick to rural areas you should keep zombie encounters to a minimum, and the ones that you do meet should be easily dispatched by your well prepared team.

Because you’re avoiding highly populated areas you will need to take what food you can from nature’s bounty. If you managed to get Ray Mears on board he will come in very handy right now. If not, then I hope you remembered to take an outdoor survival evening class of some kind. Something where you learned which are the bad berries and which ones you can bake into a pie. If you want tea, you’ll either have to go without milk or sneak into a dairy farm under cover of darkness and milk a cow.

Although you will be venturing into woodland quite often during daylight hours to forage for food, collect firewood and make rope swings, it is important that you avoid wooded areas after sunset. Every night you should be setting up a camp in an open space with unobstructed views of the surrounding area for as far as you possibly can. This will allow you to spot any incoming zombies long before they are upon you and allow you time to prepare your defence.

You should prepare defensive walls based on the Roman marching camp. This involves digging an enclosing ditch around your camp and then using the excavated soil to build a wall on the inside of the ditch. You can add a rampart using wooden stakes if you like. This whole thing will be rebuilt every night as you move from place to place towards your intended destination. It will take you a few hours every day to build, but you’re escaping zombie hordes, I’d be very interested to hear about anything more important that you’ve got going on.

So, building your camp every night to ensure a safe nights sleep, you will slowly make your way north to the Highlands of Scotland. The good thing about Scotland for survival is that it’s similar in size to England with about a tenth of the population. This, of course, means there will be relatively few zombies around. Once you reach the Highlands you will be able to set up a permanent fortification in a suitable location and prepare for the next stage of survival:

More paranoia

A post apocalyptic world will be full of roaming gangs of bandits, much like the one you now belong to. Each group of survivors will have been through similar experiences in order to reach this point and so will be numb to any horrific scenes of human suffering. They will have no qualms about capturing and torturing your allies in an effort to force you to surrender Ray Mears into their hands. They leave you no choice but to slaughter them in a series of pre-emptive attacks. They’re not the only ones who can demonstrate a complete lack of pity, you know. Once you have subdued all opposition to your group’s supremacy and recruited any willing survivors, you are ready for the final stage of survival:

Declare yourself King/Queen of The Highlands

Your fellow survivors may be under the impression that you’re going to live together in some kind of peaceful commune. Disabuse them of this impression as soon as you can. You were happy to co-operate for as long as was necessary to survive the zombie and bandit infestation, but the crisis has now passed. It’s surely clear to everybody who was the true leader throughout all this. It was your idea to gather together in an elite team of survival experts. It was your idea to construct temporary fortifications on your way up to Scotland. It was YOU that convinced everyone of the necessity of murdering all other groups of survivors so that you can keep control of Ray Mears. You DESERVE to be King, God dammit! Don’t take no for an answer. Put down any opposition to your rule as quickly and brutally as possible. Once everyone’s necks are well and truly under your boot heel, you can make yourself comfortable on your throne and start constructing your harem. Well done.



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