When the zombie apocalypse comes, where will you be? The state of Kansas is certainly going to be ready — Gov. Sam Brownback is set to sign a proclamation on Friday, Sept. 26, declaring October to be Zombie Preparedness Month. And you know what? It’s actually a pretty awesome idea.
The reasoning behind it is the same reason every government-mandated zombie program has cited since the CDC first published their “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse” blog post in 2011: If you’re ready for a zombie apocalypse, you’re ready for anything. Said Devan Tucking of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management in a press release, “If you’re equipped to handle the zombie apocalypse then you’re prepared for tornadoes, sever storms, fire, and any other natural disaster Kansas usually faces.” Added Kansas Division of Emergency Management Deputy Director Angee Morgan, “We came up with the idea of Zombie Preparedness Month because it is an engaging way to get people on board with emergency preparedness.” Is it an original idea? No — but it works. The CDC’s zombie preparedness plan, for example, went so viral when it first went live it broke the Internet. If that's not audience engagement, I don't know what is.
Even if you don’t live in one of the country's 10 most disaster-prone states, though, it’s still a good idea to get ready for the unthinkable (and no, re-watching old episodes of The Walking Dead doesn’t count). Here are a few things you should probably take care of sooner, rather than later — although as Mary Beth Quirk at Consumerist notes, “You just can’t stab a tornado in the eye with a tire iron and expect it to stop, so keep that in mind.” Food for thought.
1. Build an Emergency Supply Kit
This should be the absolute first thing you do. In fact, you really should have done it already, so if you haven’t, you’d best get on that. Tools, first aid supplies, hygiene supplies, food, water, warmth — all of these are bases you’ll want to have covered. Check out the CDC’s website for a comprehensive list of everything your emergency supply kit should include; I’d also recommend looking into The Open Company’s Go Bag. For a zombie-specific survival kit, it’s probably a good idea to keep something like a baseball bat around, too (for reasons I hope are obvious).
2. Plan an Escape Route
This is especially important if you live in a city. Trust me: You do not want to be stuck in a concrete jungle overwhelmed with the living dead for the rest of your days; if you do, the number of those days will be quite small, indeed. These zombie escape route maps might help, although I’d also suggest doing a little extra research on your own. Higher ground, temperature, access to natural resources, and the ability to find or build shelter are all things you’ll want to take into consideration when you figure out where to go.
3. Ready Your Vehicle
Your escape route is useless if you don’t have a fully functional vehicle to carry you along it. Keep it tuned up, keep some spare tires on hand, fill the tank, make sure you don’t need an oil change… you know the drill.
4. Assemble Your Dream Team
There's safety in numbers, right? Even if you're usually a lone wolf, pooling skills and resources with other like-minded people will undoubtedly make it easier to survive. We might not actually be able to have these fictional characters fighting on our side — but they provide a good guide for the sorts of people you'll want to keep close.
5. Brush Up on Your Survival Skills
Apocalypse Survival Guide has an excellent list of tutorials to help you hone your camping, fishing, hunting, and foraging skills; you’ll also probably want to pick up a few extra ones, including how to hotwire a car, how to pick locks, basic first aid, and how to knit (it’s going to get awfully cold when the apocalypse comes).
6. Get Your Shots
When the apocalypse comes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. It would suck to fight your way succesfully through hoards of the undead, only to end up kicking the bucket due to a now-untreatable case of the measles, right?
7. Get Ready to Defend Yourself
With luck, the only thing you’ll have to defend yourself, your loved ones, and your supplies against are the undead. If, however, you take as cynical a view of humanity as I do, you probably know you’ll likely have to face off against some not so nice living folks, too. Defense can take a number of forms: carpentry and other construction skills to fortify your home base; physical self-defense techniques; the ability to run faster and farther than anyone else; learning to read people and detect liars or other untrustworthy types; and so on. Think outside the box — and then think of ways to thwart whatever you find there.