Movies & Television

How the Experts Say You Can Survive the Zombie Apocalypse

The end is nigh! The dead walk the streets once again and humanity descends into chaos; what do you do? Most zombie fans out there have probably got a plan set out that they would follow should this event ever unfold. But what should you really do?

Do you stock up on as many weapons, ammo and survival gear as possible and barricade yourself in a shopping centre? Do you travel light, constantly move and only stop in small towns for a few days? Or do you sail into the sunset and attempt to live off Mother Nature until your final days?

And what happens if you come across one of the undead and you’re only armed with an air rifle? Most zombie lore tells us to aim for the head, but that’s not much use in this scenario; what do you do instead?

We have looked at what the experts say you should do in case of a zombie apocalypse to ensure you survive:

Get yourself a good “grab bag”

A grab bag is essentially a small kit of essentials that at hand, in case disaster strikes. According to new research, more than a third (36%) of the UK population have a grab bag ready. But most of these grab bags wouldn’t keep people alive in a zombie apocalypse says one expert, as people are forgetting the essentials.

Food, medical supplies and mobiles phones were top of the list for a survival pack, but many people did not include matches or a simple bottle among their essentials. Professor Lewis Dartnell, a UK Space Agency research fellow based at the University of Kent and author of the book ‘The Knowledge: How To Rebuild Our World From Scratch’ advises that a survival bag should contain the following:

  • Food
  • Water bottle
  • Fire-starting kit
  • Small knife
  • Rope

Professor Dartnell also noted that glass is crucial to rebuilding so heading to a beach is a good destination as it offers sand and other raw materials such as seaweed and chalk.

Survival skills

A poll of 2,001 people conducted by the organisers of The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair looked to identify the key survival skills of its participants. The participants were asked to rate their knowledge as either low, average or high for several skills, including basic first aid, the ability to grow crops and rear animals, getting machines and engines to work and how to make chemical substances:

Further to Professor Dartnell’s research, two experts from Manchester Metropolitan University – Joanna Verran, a Professor of Microbiology and Matthew Crossley, a Web Technologies lecturer – combined their knowledge on how to survive a zombie apocalypse. According to them, the first thing you should do is…

Locate the source

Often overlooked in films and television, often in favour of zombie killin’ action or long-winded love stories (we’re looking at you, The Walking Dead!), finding the source of the infection is extremely important.
If you can work out whether the outbreak was caused by some infected food which is now being shipped around the world or from a small lab accident in the middle of Europe, you will be able to determine how quickly the disease might spread.

As zombies do not die of natural causes, you will have to factor in population density and the ability of survivors to fight the zombies when working out how quickly the disease will spread.

Being bitten isn’t the worst thing that can happen

Often, the zombie bite is a dreaded death sentence, but the experts say it isn’t the end of the world as a bite isn’t the most efficient method for spreading a disease; airborne infections transfer far more easily.
You will need to keep your wits about you though, as the disease can make those infected behave erratically in an agitated, almost paranoid way, which is why they get a bit bitey.

That being said, avoiding being bitten is probably best practice anyway, as if you have become infected via an airborne disease and the bite makes you lose a lot of blood… You know what comes next.

How do we ensure “the end” isn’t truly the end?

Our Manchester experts have noted four ways that, should an outbreak occur, we can ensure it isn’t truly the end:


As you could probably imagine, keeping the infected separate from the rest of the population is a good start, although as we’ve all seen in the TV shows and films, it is much easier said than done.

Even one infected person escaping from quarantine and is not immediately re-captured can run the risk of destroying the host species; mankind.

Kill the infected off

If there isn’t a cure or the cure is taking too long to create, undergoing a ‘selective cull’ is the next step. Although, as with the quarantine, you could miss an infected or their symptoms might not be as prevalent as others, which spells danger.


If you don’t fancy fighting or possibly wiping out a large section of humanity, you could just go to the Winchester, have a nice pint and wait for it all to blow over… But if your safe zone is breached, you have created a perfect breeding ground for the disease to spread quickly in a very small space, so choose your hidey hole wisely.

Eliminate everyone

Described as the scariest of the options by the experts (I wonder why?!), wiping off a massive section of the infected area would be very effective. This subject is often touched upon in TV shows and films but is dismissed just as quickly. Obviously, nuking a massive area will wipe out the infected, but what of the innocents… Talk about a moral dilemma!

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