Sunday, February 26, 2017

Can You Get To Your Emergency Gear When You Need It?

If Zombies come shuffling your way, you will need to grab your gear fast.  It's a lesson I was recently reminded of while packing for an upcoming cross town move.  In the process, my wife and I are consolidating our stuff and getting rid of things we don't need.  I recently came across a "bug out bag" filled with emergency gear like weather radios, flashlights, fire starters, a mini lantern, etc.  All of which was dutifully wrapped up from our last household move.  It hadn't been touched.  This got me to thinking about a few things:

None of my gear was doing me any good packed away in the back of a closet.  Emergency gear can't help you in an emergency if you don't have it readily accessible.  The very first thing I did was pick out the best of the flashlights (a Mini Maglite), put batteries in it, and move it to the center console of our car.  Now, if I have car trouble or an accident, I have a flashlight close at hand and ready to go.  If your emergency gear isn't available during an emergency, it is a waste of money.  The Zombie Apocalypse isn't going to start when you are ready.  It will start when the Zombies are ready and where they are ready.


Some of the gear was deteriorating due to age.  When you pack away your gear, you have to check on it from time to time because it may deteriorate over time.  In this case, I had a radio and a lantern that had fashionable rubberized surfaces.  Over time, these surfaces get tacky and messy.  I tossed these two items and will get better quality equipment in the future.  If I wanted to preserve them a good wipe down with isopropyl alcohol might have done the job.

Vintage Solid-State Transceivers - photo by Joe Haupt from USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Some of the gear would probably not help much in my urban environment.  I found two compasses in with my gear.  Compasses are cool and would enable me to stay on course over long distance land navigation.  However, as a city slicker, I could probably just rely on familiar roads and road signs.  Even in an emergency, long distance land navigation through heavily forested terrain is pretty unlikely.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Is Your Car Ready for the Zombie Apocalypse?

Is Your Car Ready To Take On Zombies!

From World War Z to The Walking Dead, Zombies have shuffled into popular culture.  But, if Zombies actually shuffled into your world, would you be ready?  Is your car ready to get your family out of a Zombie Apocalypse?  When the Zombies are close at hand and you turn the key, will it start, will it run, will it roll over some Zombies and keep going?  This quiz will help you assess your vehicles ready to get your family out of trouble during a disaster.

The Zombie Hord is Coming!  Are you going? - By tangi bertin from Rennes, France (La HORDE progresse  Uploaded by paris 17) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Take the Zombie Apocalypse Vehicle Readiness Quiz! 

1. How Does Your Car Start?  You can't escape anything if your car won't start.  What's going to happen when you turn the key?  Assess your situation, pick the closest, and give yourself 0 to 3 points.

0 - Won't start at all.
1 - I'll need a jump start or a push start so I can pop the clutch.
2 - Will start on the second or third try.
3 - Will start consistently on the first try.  Let's go!

2. Is Your Car Even Running?  Does your car run?  If it doesn't run, you better have good shoes on when the Zombies start pushing on your garage door.  Assess your situation and give yourself 0 to 4 points.

0 - Not running.  My cousin Earl says he'll come by and take a look.
1 - It runs.  But, it stumbles and conks out due to engine or drivetrain issues.
2 - It runs.  But, it has some minor issues and sounds funny.
3 - Runs like new!
4 - It goes like hell!  Fastest car in the neighborhood.

The Last of the V-8 Interceptors - Photo By Sicnag (Ford Falcon XB Mad Max Replica) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

3. Is Your Car Gassed Up?  Starting is one thing, but you won't go far without gas.  How much is in your tank right now?  If the Zombies come, you may have to drive for miles and miles or idle along for hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic. If the Zombies come and your ride is sitting on E, your wife will kick your butt.  Be honest about how much is in your tank and give yourself 0 to 3 points.  If you plan to evacuate, it's important to have gas in your car!

0 - Low Fuel Warning Light is on.
1 - Less than a 1/4 tank
2 - Less than a 1/4 to 3/4 tank
3 - Fully gassed up

Abandoned Gas Pump - Photo By Andrew Filer from Seattle (ex-Minneapolis) (Conoco, Nebraska  Uploaded by xnatedawgx) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

4. When Was The Last Time Your Got The Oil Changed?  Within a few months of the Zombie apocalypse, the world is going to be dirty, dusty, and generally falling down all around us.  You are going to need to keep your cars engine lubed up and running smooth.  Don't quibble about conventional or synthetic when Zombies surround your local quick oil change place.  Just give yourself 0 to 3 points for the scenario closest to your current situation. 

0 - Many miles passed oil change time
1 - Oil change needed in 500 miles
2 - Half way through current oil change mileage
3 - Just changed the oil

5. Is Your Car Good on Gas?  Northerners, how is your Fuel Consumption?  In the midst of a world-wide Zombie Apocalypse, stopping for gas every 225 miles is going to get old.  Stopping for a 30-minute electric charge in a world where the grid has gone down will get even older.  So, assess your situation and give yourself 0 to 4 points.

0 - It's electric.  Boogie woogie woogie.
1 - 10 - 15 mpg
2 - 15 - 20 mpg
3 - 20+ mpg
4 - It's electric and I have a generator with extra fuel!

6. All Terrain Features.  When the Zombies come, there is a good chance you might have to turn off the paved road and drive cross country.  Is your car ready?  Does it have any off-road capability that might help pull you through a Zombie apocalypse?  Give yourself 0 points if you don't have any off-road capabilities.  Give yourself 1 point for each of the off-road features listed below:

0 - None.  Keep the pavement smooth.
1 - Off Road Tires
1 - Brush Bars
1 - Roll Bar
1 - Winch
1 - Spotlights
1 - Lift Kit
1 - Snorkel Kit
1 - Low Range Gearing
1 - 4x4 or AWD

Jeep Wrangler with Off Road Package Photo By JamesHenry (Flickr: Jeep Wrangler JK) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

7. Preps On Board.  Do you have anything in your car that will help you in an emergency situation?  Have you prepared for a bad day on the road?  A pristine car won't help much during a zombie apocalypse.  But, give yourself a point for each of the additional emergency preps that you have in your car already.

0 - Clean and pristine like I just bought it new.
1 - Roadside emergency kit
1 - Toolbox
1 - First Aid Kit
1 - Fire Extinguisher
1 - A warm blanket or sleeping bag
1 - A day of food & water

Vehicle Zombie Readiness Assessment

If you got 0 points on questions 1 or question 2, give yourself 0 points.  You are done.  Quiz over. You aren't ready.  In a Zombie Apocalypse you aren't going anywhere, you'll get overwhelmed by an undead horde, and you will end up mindlessly shuffling around in your own garage until someone comes along and puts you out of your misery.

If your car can run, add up all of your points and let's see your totals.

2 to 9 Points - You're car is marginal and is going to add to the drama of your escape.  There is a good chance you won't survive the Zombie Apocalypse due to a problem with your vehicle.  It's time to make some upgrades to make sure it runs and has some basic equipment.
10 to 14 Points - You've got a running car and you have just as good a chance to live as anyone else.  But your vehicle isn't giving you any advantages.  You might want to think about making some upgrades for an emergency.
15 to 20 Points - You've likely got a running car and some additional emergency equipment.  You are well positioned for a clean escape.  But, there is always more you can do.
21+ Points - You have a well equipped bug-out vehicle.  Congratulations for being ready!  You can take on Zombies, Hurricanes, or anything else that forces you to evacuate via car.

No matter how you did on the quiz, there are always things you can do to be more prepared for an evacuation by car.  For example, here is how I put together a first aid kit for my car.