Sunday, August 21, 2016

How Does A Zombie Virus or Infection Spread?

Survivors worry about how the Zombie contagion spreads.  It's only natural.  In the event of a real zombie apocalypse, it will be the number one question on almost everyone's mind.  Those who aren't thinking about it will be shuffling in our direction with primitive thoughts of how tasty the rest of us will be.  Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer.


No one knows how a real Zombie contagion might spread!


In fiction, Zombie virus or bacteria usually spreads through a bite.  This implies that the primary vector for Zombie infection is saliva.  But, in a real world Zombie apocalypse, the methods of transmission may vary or be altogether than genre fiction depicts.  Information passed along by authorities may be contradictory or completely wrong.

What does this mean for you as a prepper?  Maybe means yes.  For safety sake, you have to assume that Zombie virus can be spread by bites, scratches, drool, blood spatter, intimate contact, and possibly even Zombie breath.

How Do You Protect Yourself Against Zombie Virus or Zombie Infection?


The uncertainty over how the Zombie contagion spreads means that survivors should take extra precautions.  This means engaging Zombies from stand off distances (with a rifle or crossbow instead of a knife) and wearing protective gear for close encounters of the Zombie kind.  It's highly likely that government soldiers would engage Zombies while wearing heavy duty protective gear designed to offer protection from chemical and biological weapons.

US Military Photo By Spc. Randis Monroe (https://www.dvidshub.net/image/1507820) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As civilians, we might not have access to military grade chemical warfare gear.  The surplus gear that is available may be old, moldy, out-dated, or in need of unavailable filters.  A better alternative would probably be to procure modern face shield and respirator used by painters and mold remediation experts.  This will allow you to easily find replacement filters. 



If you simply want to keep spatter and zombie fingers out of your face, a riot helmet or motorcycle helmet might also be a good choice.  You will also want to wear gloves.  If you are concerned about pathogens touching your skin, you'll probably want some serious industrial PVC coated gloves. You'll also want to protect yourself by wearing a thick jeans, a water resistant jacket, and fully enclosed boots.  Unlike the survivors depicted in so many Zombie films and television shows, you'll actually want to decontaminate your gear and clothing on a regular basis.  You'll want to wash too!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

How will the Medical Establishment Treat Zombies?

In a large-scale Zombie virus break out,  I believe that we can expect political leaders and medical authorities to display great hubris.  Our medical establishments will believe that they can successfully detain, treat, and cure Zombies.  Back in August of 2014, medical and political leaders decided to treat American ebola victims here in the United States.   They did not take the victims to a remote location or military base for treatment.  Instead, they brought the victims right into the heart of Atlanta, a city of 5 million+ people. 

Emory University Hospital - Photo By Emory University [CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
I took this picture of the ABC News report on an ebola victim being brought into the hospital.  Notice that they brought the patient right into hospital and in the process walked the stretcher right by an unprotected bystander.  Notice the man in tan and black standing in the center of the screen just to the right of the last worker in a hazmat suit.  (Find the i in Diane Sawyer and look 2/3 of the way up the screen.)


The medical professionals at Emory University Hospital thought that they knew everything about ebola, communicable diseases, and how to transfer a patient from ambulance into the medical facility.  They did learn alot as outlined in this article. Fortunately, everything worked out.  However, if the same level of hubris was displayed during an actual Zombie infection, it might not work out as well.  In addition, the sheer scale of a Zombie apocalypse would overwhelm medical facilities and the available security guards.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Defending Against Zombies - Defense in Depth

If you want to protect the old homestead against zombies, you need to have multiple layers of defense.  As season 6 of The Walking Dead shows, a single layer of walls is not enough.  Instead, you need to be able to fall back to defensible interior positions.

Ch√Ęteau de Sully-sur-Loire, Loches, FRANCE - Photo By Christophe.Finot (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
Think of the medieval castle as a model for fortifications.  A typical castle was protected by a moat, by exterior walls, by towers, by interior walls, and finally by an innermost defensive keep.  Beyond the castle model, you can also think outside the box.  You can also be protected by multiple defensive concepts such as concealment, alarms, walls, and escape routes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Crossbow Safety - Avoiding Becoming Dead

The Walking Dead and its hero, Daryl Dixon, have really popularized the crossbow.  It's a powerful weapon and it seems like the perfect tool for wiping out Zombies quietly.


A Horton Hunter Supreme Crossbow - By The original uploader was Polaris at German Wikipedia (Transferred from de.wikipedia to Commons.) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

However, if you aren't careful with a crossbow, you can lose fingers, arms, an eye or even your life.  That's why I'm posting this link to a really good article on crossbow safety:

Field & Stream - Avoid unpleasant and dangerous crossbow shooting mistakes

I'm also posting this article from Inside Archery:

Inside Archery - 15 Crossbow Safety Tips

It should go without saying, but all weapons are dangerous and you don't  crossbows are dangerous.  They are made to inflict serious damage to targets, big game animals, mounted knights, and even zombies.  Be careful!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Zombie Prepping - First Aid Kit

If the Zombies come, you are going to need a well-stocked First Aid kit.  If you are on the run, you are going to get scraped and scratched.  You're even going to skin some knees.  


A Zombie Mob in London - photo by http://www.cgpgrey.com [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
At a minimum, you are going to want to have plenty of bandages of various shapes and sizes, gauze, bandage tape, and lots of betadine, hydrogen peroxide, neosporin, and the like.  You'll also want tweezers for removing splinters.



Beyond the bumps and bruises you may need to deal with twisted ankles and even broken bones.  Those sorts of serious medical issues require real first aid and medical training.  They are the sorts of thing to learn about and train for now.  You can get training through the Red Cross.


Finally, you may have to deal with Zombie bites.  Let's just hope the betadine works!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Gassing Up During A Zombie Apocalypse

In The Walking Dead, the characters drive all over the place.  It's a great plot device and it beats walking.  If you can find an open road, a car moves faster than a Zombie and can be used as a weapon against Zombies.  However, there is one little problem.  Cars need gas!

I, Dual Freq [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons


The television shows rarely address how the characters get gas for all of these vehicles.  They also never explain how some of the product placement vehicles stay so clean.  To keep cars running, you need to get gas.  Without power to the grid, gas pumps at gas stations won't work.  You have to figure out how to manually pump gas out of the ground while fending off Zombies.  You need to think about things like gassing up when you plan an emergency evacuation by car.

STORING GASOLINE


Once you get that gas, you'll need to carry it because safe gas stations will probably be scarce.  No matter what, for safety sake, you aren't going to want to store gasoline in your home.



SIPHONING GASOLINE IN AN EMERGENCY


The most convenient thing for urban and suburban survivors to do will be to siphon gasoline from abandoned vehicles.  To do that, you'll need a fuel siphon.  Any fluid will flow from a higher level to a lower level.  All you need to do is start the flow.  Typically, a pump is initially used for this purpose.  This guy blows into another tube to start the flow:



GASOLINE SAFETY


Now, there is one more important thing that you should know.  Gasoline is flammable, explosive, and carcinogenic.  You don't want to play with gasoline or store it in your house or in your car outside of the designed gas tank in your vehicle.  You also don't want to have static electricity ruin your day.  You need to read these gasoline safety tips before you mess with gasoline.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

AM/FM & Shortwave Radios for the Zombie Apocalypse

If a Zombie Apocalypse ever happens, you'll want to have some radios in your emergency stash.  Radio can be your window to the wider world.  Radio can answer your vital questions during an emergency.

Are people still living out on the west coast?
How about in Cuba?
Are other countries still transmitting?

How to Get News During A Zombie Apocalypse


To answer these questions about the world, you are going to want to have a radio with reception on the AM/FM and Shortwave (SW) bands.  In the evenings, AM radio waves can skip in the atmosphere and travel very long distances.  For example, if you live in the eastern United States you might get radio stations from Minnesota or Cuba.  Among amateur radio enthusiasts, there is a whole hobby that has sprung up around listening to far off radio transmitters.  It's called DXing for "Distance Xmitter" (or Transmitter).  To learn more about how you can pull in far away AM radio stations check out this page on AM DXing.



If you can't pull in radio stations in your home country, you might worry that the entire world has succumbed to Zombies.  However, if you have a shortwave radio, you may be able to pick up stations from countries all over the globe.  Check out this page for an introduction to Shortwave radio.