Routes of Egress

 When you’re being pursued by a hoard or even a few zombies, having clear routes of egress can save your life.  Being trapped and seeing the vanguards of your death slowly shuffling at you is no way to go.  Listed here are some places to avoid.

1.  Long Corridors

If you find yourself being pursued in a long hallway, find a way out quickly.  It won’t do if you outrun a bunch of zombies and you can’t open any doors.  Being trapped in a hallway is a tough place to fight your way out of because there is limited space for melee weapons, especially if there are a few of you.  With a horde of zombies being bottlenecked and charging at you relentlessly it will seem like you could fighting forever.  

Tips for surviving a close quarters brawl in a hallway:

  1. Have a general idea of what the building is like and know what you’re looking for when you enter.
  2. If you are cornered in a hallway and you have 3 or more fellow humans with you, fight in pairs.  This will avoid any kind of friendy fire (friendly sword hacks?) and will allow you to rotate fresh fighters in.
  3. Be on the lookout for any way out of the hallway.  There should be at least two exits by law.  The stairway is the easy out, but the door may be jammed, or there may be a whole new horde waiting for you on the other side of the door.  Ducking into an office or apartment may also be doable.

2.  Stairwells

Even the most conditioned atheletes succumb to the stairs.  Stairwells are dangerous because you only have limited stamina.  The zombies don’t.  They don’t have to stop and take a few breaths, they will climb slow and steady.  If you do make it to the top imagine the feeling of doom as you push the door to the roof open and it won’t budge.  Trapped at the top of the stairwell with no where to go.

Tips for surviving in a stairwell:

  1. Try every door.  You don’t want the above situation to happen.  It’s almost certain death.
  2. If you do have to fight it out, remember that you have the high ground.  In any fight or in combat, the high ground is always advantageous.
  3. If you’ve got a few people with you, use tip number 2 above.

3.  Cars

When on the run a car is an easy place to go into and get some temporary shelter.  A car seems like a good place initially, but there are things that are going to happen that seem inevitable.  The zombies may stop trying to get in after a while, but they may just hang out ouside the car making an escape very difficult.  They may pile up on the car and the weight can collape the windshield or a sunroof.  If they breach the car it’s game over.

Tips for surviving in a car:

  1. Do everything you can to not go in a car.  Your odds for survival drop severely.
  2. Try to brace the windshield with your legs.  You’ve got to hold out as long as you can.
  3. Try to get it running.  Maybe the keys are in it.  Maybe you watched a YouTube video once showing you how to hotwire it.

Tight spaces plus zombies can equal death.  It’s not always possible to avoid them but if you can do it.  It’s prudent to have a strategy in place in the event that you do get stuck.

Zombies, zombie apocalypse, close quarters, trapped, post apocalyptic, survival 


Snorkels Aren’t Just for Fording Water


If you have a tricked out zombie 4×4, or a jeep, or a regular old pickup truck, consider installing a snorkel to your air intake system.  They are great for fording water, which makes your vehicle even more all terrain, but there is another use for them that should be considered.  If you’re having to blast through a horde of zombies their parts can clog the intake pretty easily.

What does a snorkel do?

All gasoline vehicles need three things to make an engine run: electricity, fuel, and air.  Diesel engines need the same three things but rely on compression instead of spark in the cylinder to create the mini-explosion.  The air intake is generally a small port behind the grill.  It wouldn’t take much for it to get clogged.

A snorkel attaches to the air intake and runs upward by the windshield and is about as high as the roof.  The snorkel is an easy install that makes your vehicle more versatile and deadly. 

Dealing with Transients

img-1744045-2-Merchant_re4You are settled in your compound or your little town.  You’ve got a core of people that are filling specific roles and trying to run things as efficiently as you can.  There are a few zombies that come up to the walls now and then and they are quickly dispatched.  A relatively safe feeling has pervaded your little hamlet.  A communal life works, but sooner or later people will yearn for things left behind; things that only those from the outside can bring: baubles and trinkets from a world long gone, valuable parts for machines or vehicles, alcohol and cigarettes, medical supplies, ammunition, and news.

Going outside the perimeter to look for supplies or desirable things can be dangerous, you may not have the manpower to spare should trouble befall them.  That’s why treating transients as those who may have something to offer your compound is a sound policy.  They may have something you need and you may have a lot of things just sitting around that may be valuable to someone else.  It’s a natural fit.

There are a few types of people that may come to your gate.  There are people who may want to join your community.  There may be those who just want a hot meal and a warm bed.  There may be those who want to trade.  There could be a group that’s looking for someone.  A passerby may simply be asking for directions.  All require intense scrutiny and questioning.  No matter how hurt or desperate a transient maybe, safety of the people on your side of the wall is paramount.

Transient Holding Area

A transient holding area should be established.  This area is a shelter with beds and a fire if needed.  A roster of who has entered should be kept.  A modicum of hospitality should be shown because they are presumably bartering to pay for the stay and it’s the decent thing to do.  It is guarded and transients will be required to check their weapons.  A condition of entry would be a thorough search of their person and their bags or packs.  They will be allowed to bring bags or packs in so that they can trade.  It’s hard to trade if your stuff is locked up.

If the transients desire to stay for a night this is where they will stay.  They shouldn’t be allowed to comingle in the housing area afterhours.  This could cause a number of security issues including rape, theft, assault, murder.  It’s just easier to keep them away in their own area.  Even after tough questioning a person’s true motives may not be made clear.  There would be a curfew and all transients will be accounted for at that time.  When they leave their weapons will be returned as they go through the main gate.

Just Passing Through

Transients can be important sources of trade. For those who want a hot meal, a warm bed, or to drink, a price tag is a part of any and all services they wish to partake in.  There could be a place in town where they can trade in items for ‘credit’ so they can pay for whatever they want to do.  They should be allowed to freely roam the market area.

There will be passersby that don’t need or want access to the compound but may be seeking news or directions.  It’s important not to leak any information that may be used by those that are hostile to you.  Since it could be anyone, withhold sensitive information from everyone.  Information such as troop strength, resource types and how much, what kinds of weapons you have should never be divulged.  There has to be clear policy on what information is okay to be given out to transients.  The safety of your village is much more important than someone’s curiosity.  The fact that they are a scout or spy could be a real possibility.

Merchants or caravans may seek access for just a few hours.  They may want to come in, browse the market, or set up their own area for trade and then be gone.  Merchants who set out their own wares should be greatly encouraged to do so.  They will be a prime source for everyday things that you need, and may be trading some very important things, like a v-belt for a generator or some antibiotics.

Transients That Want to Stay

The decision to grant those who seek asylum from the wastes is a tough one.  Upon making the decision, transients should be held in ‘quarantine’ for a few days.  The transient holding area will suffice for this.  This will ensure that if they’re bitten they will turn while in the quarantine area.  They must be observed for more obvious medical issues, from simply having a cold to whooping cough.  Also, if they are an advanced party for an attack, they will not already be integrated and able to carry out insurgent activities.  A few days in holding could mean a lot.

Several things must be considered:

First, their skill sets.  Can they fill a job that is vacant?  Can they do a job better than someone who is struggling or may be filled by someone who it’s not their primary job?  Just because the blacksmith does metal work doesn’t mean he’s going to be good at fixing vehicles, though he may be the only one there with mechanical skills.  If a transient comes who is proficient with mechanics and wants to join it’s only logical to consider letting him stay.

Are there able-bodied people that can be part of security forces?  More people will create the need for more security.  Having more people up on the wall can only lead to a safer compound.  Those with military or law enforcement training must certainly be considered for entry over those with borderline talents.

Are there resources to support them?  The math is simple:  do they bring to the table skills or abilities that outweigh their burden on food and water supplies?  Is there space in the housing area?

The question of whether they can integrate themselves into a society again is key.  The wasteland is a hostile place where the need for violence trumps the need for manners and civic responsibility.  Can they turn off the hypervigilance and propensity for violence and be a good ‘citizen’?  It’s understood that life is hard for everyone and a certain bit of leeway is given for everyone.  The world has changed and therefore the rules have changed but there remains a need for a basic level of civility.

Transients bring with them things you’ll need.  They’ll have news, items that are desirable, items that are absolutely necessary, and skill sets that are required for the future of your town.  However, there is a certain level of risk that must be assumed and mitigated before entry is granted or information given.  A sound policy that everyone follows will help ensure that people can safely enter your community and contribute.

10 More Reasons I Won’t Survive the Zombie Apocalypse

While looking through my wonderful Word Press stats today I noticed that the 10 Reasons Why I Won’t Survive the Zombie Apocalypse article is uber-popular.  So I thought I’d write a follow up article.  This list came as sort of a reckoning for me and my lack of survival skills.  Well, here’s 10 more reasons why I’m gonna bite it out there…

I’m Dreadfully Out of Shape

I’m not too overweight.  Well yeah, maybe I am.  My conditioning is very subpar in terms of outrunning a zombie or twenty.  The choice of running or standing and fighting are both dangerous propositions when you’ve got a jiggle in your wiggle.  After finding a weapon and body armor – if there’s one that fits – from the dead army guys (why don’t they ever make it?) and humping a large ruck sack of supplies will definitely be a chore.  Keeping a good pace will be hard.  A few weeks (If I make it that long) into it, when food supplies dwindle, I’ll undoubtedly trim down.  Also, having to run a lot and doing sweet melee attacks will surely make the pounds melt off.  But the key is making it that far.  My blubber and lack of wind may cost me my life though.

I Don’t Own a Gun

This one could get me from the jump.  Considering where I live – Arkansas – I may be the only one in a 100 mile radius that can make that claim.  A considerable disadvantage to overcome, not having a gun could make the initial get away very hard.  My only hope is to come across some sucker who bit it early and dropped a gun.  I could get away for a little while without a gun but when things calm down a bit and survival is more centered around avoiding other people it would be nice to bring a gun to a gun fight.

I Don’t Have a Food and/or Supply Hoard

I know people that have a room in their house dedicated to the storage of non-perishable food items, medical supplies and ammunition.  I don’t have a room that is dedicated to any of those.  The more that I write the more I see how grossly unprepared I am.

No 4×4 or Packed Trailer

I own a minivan and a Dodge Stratus.  If for some reason we decide to bolt in our vehicles, I’m in a stay-on-the-road-only status.  In the inevitable traffic jams that are sure to ensue, this is a problem.

I Don’t Know What Poison Ivy Looks Like


Problem solved.

Stupid.  I know.  But let me explain.  I’ve never been poisoned by any kind of ivy, oak, or sumac in my entire life.  Therefore, I’ve had no reason to know what it looks like.  Lame, but that’s the truth.  It’s not fatal, but from what I’ve witnessed it looks like it could make someone wish for death.

I’ve Never Been Hunting

Well, I went once when I was a teenager but it was more about going into the woods and shooting shotguns for a few hours.  It is a skill that I will have to learn.  When I get an M-16 with some sweet optics from the dead army guys I’ll be able to engage in some deer, elk, bear, cat, dog, whatever hunting.  This brings me to my next deficiency…

I Don’t Know How to Skin or Gut An Animal

‘Nuff said there I think.

Fire Starter

I can totally start a fire.  With a lighter, some matches, or even a magnifying glass.  Beyond that I’m in trouble.

I’m A Goddam Hero!

You’ve heard the quote in countless military and police movies:  “Don’t be a goddam hero.”  But I’m awesome.  I like to help people.  I’d lay down my life for my family in a heartbeat.  But I may be a sucker for helping others in need to the point where it may get me killed.

To Kill or Not to Kill

The saddest dilemma of all in the Zombie Wasteland will be how to handle the biting of a loved one.  With the clock ticking, you’ve got to decide what to do.  Will you try to maximize your time left before they turn, possibly succumbing to a sneak bite or just blasto them and try to move on from there.   I imagine it would be harder in the beginning.  But after a few months, adjudicating a bitten loved one will get easier (I imagine, but really don’t know.)

Work To Do

One thing is for sure:  I’m sure as hell not ready for survival out in the field.  I have Army training and that is a good base.  I’ll need to know how to hunt, trap, and fish, and get familiar with the local flora and fauna a bit better (I’ve only been living here for a year and a half).  Most importantly, like having a fire escape route that has at least been discussed if not rehearsed, there should be a “When the Shit Goes Down” plan in place with my family.  I’ve got work to do.

The Role of Archives in the Zombie Wasteland

Archive_web_menuClearly the best part of the impending Zombie Apocalypse will be the initial chaos.  The thrill of grabbing your bug-out bag, hitting the road and killing some Zombies will be unlike any of us has experienced.  No doubt that for some, the chance to shoot some humans will also bring some joy (you know you’re out there!).

But what comes after all that?  When you settle down in a compound or even a small town that managed to cordon itself off from the Zombies and raiders?  You’ve fought through the hoards (with style, of course) and made it to a place that can offer some solace.  The citizenry will no doubt try to return to some semblance of ‘normal’ life.  In doing so some basic record keeping can help to maintain a history so that we remember who we are and (literally) where we came from.

And, just in case the worst case scenario happens and the Zombie hordes have been eradicated and we are given the chance to return home and hit the ‘resume’ button on our lives, some basic information about who has come and gone, been born or killed, may go on to help facilitate the return to normalcy.

The types of records to be kept would depend on how safe and settled everyone is.  The situation may be that most of the people are spending most of their time watching the perimeter or out on supply runs.  The task of record keeping is going to be extremely low on the priority list, if at all.  Food, water, shelter, and a general feeling of safety would have to be established before time could be spent on logging who the residents are, their family members, etc.

Why bother?

People like history, especially their own.  In establishing a whole new settlement there could be local people, others from all over the region, or even travelers that were stranded when the outbreak happened, living in your new hamlet.  Having personal records and a narrative history can help give the impression that there is some order and the future can be positive by way of remembering the past.  Travelers will come and ask if a family member or a friend is here or if they came through.  If there’s been a flux in the population (maybe an exodus or heavy casualties after a battle), knowing who is gone can help them.

Types of Records

There are several basic records that could be kept, situation allowing, and they can be separated by priority into three tiers.  Tier 1 consists of basic, important vital information:  birth records (for those born after the outbreak), death records, full names of residents and transients, marriage records (both before and after the outbreak) and original home addresses.  Tier 2 consists of basic government information including names of elected officials or the person in charge, their terms of service in years (assuming that the date is being tracked) and the position(s) they held.  Also included would be any kind of laws or constitution.

Tier 3 is the “luxury” archival records which can only be kept when threat levels are extremely low and all other vital functions are being performed.  Tier 3 records are a register containing dates that people came and left the settlement on a permanent basis, records and narratives for battles or skirmishes (such as the location, the victor, and a list of the fallen) and if possible, a general historical narrative for posterity purposes.  A narrative history would be the ‘story’ of the settlement and would help give a sense of civic pride and a feeling of belonging.

It should be noted that these records will be kept on whatever paper is on hand and that the use of forms would be unlikely.  If possible there should be a clerical position that is staffed, probably by someone who is unfit for labor or defense.

History and record keeping are definitely not the sexy parts of the Zombie Apocalypse fantasy.  But they can serve to be vital pieces of the past and bring hope to the future.  Friends and families can be reunited.  Stories from settling the new town and the heroic battles for survival can be told to inspire the young.  We can learn from this new history and endeavor to make our lives in this hellish world better.



H.M. Nolan

She wore her red dress and I discovered I was disposable. I slid low and crawled on my belly, he wanted to keep me there forever. The wind blew and the leaves whispered ‘there was nothing left for me here.’ I wanted it to be lies, I wanted sleep, and death and oblivion. I slid lower until my lips kissed the blue flames of Hell. It singed off my pride and my joy and he wanted to keep me there forever. Denial laid his blanket upon my shoulders and my fingers intertwined with the Devil. He said ‘come with me and I will show you all the things you never knew you were capable of.’ I smiled a joyless smile and slid lower. I took all the blame and dreamed of dying and he wanted to keep me there forever.

But I could go no lower.

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Knights Templar Put a Hurtin’ on Zombies

ironclad-james-purefoy-knight-templarWhat’s the most fearsome menace that a horde of zombies could ever face? The one thing more powerful than a group of rednecks outfitted with tac-vests, 12 guages and a kick-ass AR platform? How about a platoon of Knights Templar?

No, not the secret society club Knight Templars. I’m talking about the crusaders. The Holy Land conquering bad-ass motherfuckers. I know, it’s a tough call as to who is more of a bane to the zombie population. Let’s break down what makes Knights Templars so damn bad-ass.


How about some super strong dudes swinging around big ass 2 handed broadswords? Screw going for decapitations, just cut those sumbitches in half. Their squires would trail the front line and deal the finishing blows.


Plate armor, chain mail, and those sweet ass tunics, need I say more? Chain mail is one of the zombies worst enemies. They’re not biting through that shit, especially with those rotten, nasty grills they’ll be sporting.


These guys are trained for a stand-up fight against a potentially large mob. If they bring the same violence, strength, stamina and willpower that they use to slaughter villages full of non-christians, the hordes would be cut down in record time. Also, they are just way tougher and way more bad-ass than just about anyone you’d see today (special forces operators notwithstanding.)

Yeah, they don’t exactly exist anymore. But, isn’t it fun to picture these different types of warriors battling zombie hordes? What other warriors would dish out certain doom to zombies? Comment below.