Practical Advise From a Mother, Wife, and Zombie Fanatic on Surviving After an Extinction Level Event
Part 1 of 4: A Need for Fire
A Soccer Mom’s Guide to Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse
by Casey Rostofer
Author’s Note: The following article is in no way, shape, or form intended to be the be-all, end-all of survival manuals. This is a general overview on how to survive with just the basics. I’m not a career survivalist; I wasn’t even a Girl Scout. I’m just a soccer Mom from Washington State. If I can survive an apocalypse, you can too.
The 21st century is a great time to be alive, is it not? We live in an age where we can send and receive information across the globe in a matter of seconds. Any vice we wish to partake in, from gaming to video chatting, can be done instantly on our phones. We purchase and receive full albums and complete novels with a mere press of a button. Our download speeds are fast, our food is even faster. As a society we’ve grown accustomed to this way of life. We depend on it. But, what if, one day, in the blink of an eye, our easy and tech-savvy life went the way of the dinosaur?
Imagine yourself at home on your couch, lounging in front of your plasma- screen LCD TV, about to turn on your Sony PlayStation 4, when the first news reports start funneling in of civil unrest, political upheaval, rioting in the streets. For the next several days you find yourself glued to Twitter and Facebook, watching it all unfold. You watch the YouTube videos on your iPad; you call your loved ones and give them directions to safe havens on your smart phone. And then one day, inevitably, silence reigns supreme. The information age is now as dead as the creatures standing outside of your door. Would you be able to survive without the aid of technology? To paraphrase a Prince tune, it’s time to party like its 1899, Survivalists. It’s all about going back to basics. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, there are four basic needs you need to cover: fire, shelter, sustenance, first aid.
Anyone who has ever watched an episode of CBS’s Survivor knows that at every tribal counsel, Jeff Probst announces that fire equals life. I might not always agree with reality television, but in this case, I concur. Fire will be your most valuable tool when the grid goes down, and you are forced to go it alone. Not only are you going to have to keep yourself from freezing to death in the winter months, but you are going to have to boil water for drinking and utensil sterilization, as well as proper food preparation.
Prepared soldiers of the Zombie Apocalypse will have thought ahead and obtained int or a lifetime supply of water- proof matches prior to the rising of the undead. If you are incredibly lucky, you live in a house full of boy scouts or individuals who worship Les Stroud and have never missed an episode of Survivorman on the Discovery Channel. For the average Joe or Jane, however, if you have dreams of wandering out into the woods and rubbing two sticks together like cavemen to create a bonfire, it’s time to re-think that strategy.
In researching this article, I came across a quote that claimed there are fewer than 500 people in the United States that can consistently start a fire by rubbing sticks together. There are multiple websites and YouTube videos available now to demonstrate how to start a fire using two sticks, but the process will end in nothing but frustration for most. Couple the degree of difficulty with the fact that you won’t have access to the internet any longer and you are much better off heading off in search of flint, lighters or matches. Quite frankly, in the event that you are running from zombies every moment of the foreseeable future, you don’t have the time to mess with trial methods for making fire unless you are in a truly safe zone.
Regardless of your method, either a lighter, matches, flint, or if you are able to use the drilling wood/rubbing sticks method effectively, start small. Begin with “tinder”, which is any dry substance that will catch a spark and flame up quickly. Dried mosses, tree bark, or dryer lint work exceptionally well, as they burn quickly. After you have obtained tinder, you need kindling. Take small pieces of wood to burn first and establish your blaze. Set up larger pieces of wood around your kindling to block any wind that would knock out your blaze and to catch the re more slowly. Your fire will not be an instantaneous process; it’s going to take some time to get going. When it’s finished, however, it will be worth it.
Let me stress again, survivors, it may seem like common sense, but it’s worth repeating: unless you have a replace, wood stove, or other well-ventilated place within your shelter, do not, I repeat, do not start a fire indoors, unless your goal is to kill yourself or your entire group with carbon monoxide poisoning. It may seem like a better alternative than being eaten alive by a horde of flesh-eating dead things, but our goal here at ZEA is survival.
It should be noted, as well, that smoke from your fire can be seen for miles around, and may attract attention, good or bad. Although the zombies may or may not take notice, other survivors will. Take caution. Personally, my stance is that any other survivor I come across will want to rape me, kill me and take my stash of supplies, (and not necessarily in that order). If you are of a similar opinion, keep your fires small, and in an area dense with trees to try to mask some of your smoke. If you are of the opinion that there is safety in numbers, and you have the time to wait for travelers to find you, then build that blaze up as tall and smoky as you can. Do not, however, trust that the smoke you see from major cities or large towns is friendly smoke, or a sign of survivors. Fires in well-populated areas will be burning out of control. You should be high-tailing it out of densely populated areas. It’s not worth the risk to check out a smoke signal if it’s going to take you through a sea of the undead on your way there. Common sense is the key to your survival in any zombie apocalyptic scenario.