Zombie Cliche Lookout: Assets and Liabilities
Okay, I’m going to admit this one right up front: this isn’t from a zombie movie at all. It’s from The Princess Bride, one of my favorite films of all time. Recently, my son has gotten into the movie (although he’s a bit frightened by the rodents of unusual size), which means I’ve seen the movie a lot lately. As such, it’s been very much in my mind.
Preamble aside, it’s generally a good idea to take a look at your assets and liabilities before forming a plan of action. You can’t really form a good plan unless you have a real sense of all the working pieces.
About this Episode:
I’m having a lot of fun with Ted and Clark here. Gene is pretty well stuck being the straight man to these two clowns. And, unfortunately, poor Barb has been left with absolutely nothing to do for a while here. But don’t worry about Barb, she’s going to get involved in all the fun very soon.
Discussion Question: Sticking with a Theme
The zombies have arrived. Right now. Wherever you happen to be, look around and take an inventory. What are your assets? What are your liabilities?
I’ll play too. I’m in my office in the basement. My assets would be a couple tools I have lying around, including a fixed blade knife and the Special Forces Shovel I recently reviewed. I’m in a basement, which would only has one point of entrance for zombies. Our basement is also where we store the majority of our food, including a few gallons of water.
On the liabilities end of the spectrum, it would be hard to reinforce the door. If the power goes out, I’m in the dark; there are no windows down here. That one entrance thing? Yeah, that also means on exit. Also: no bathroom. And here’s the kicker: my wife is on the ground floor of the house, and my kids are both upstairs in bed. I’d be getting to them as quickly as possible, which would likely put us all at more risk.
Just a quick note here; I mislabeled this episode. This is 337, not 338 as originally reported.
This is kinda random but HOW MANY KIDS DO YOU HAVE :p
I have two: a four year-old boy and an (almost) ten month-old girl.
Welp, upon reading the question I turned to my collection, of which several daggers, knives, and a warhammer do not even require getting out of the chair. ;D
Otherwise, I can readily get some swords, axes, and a mace with next to no effort. (The mace, as I’ve said before, would be my weapon of choice for zombies. No need to worry about aligning an edge or hammer head, just swing and hit.)
Anywho, I am in my bedroom. Two windows and a flimsy inner door do not immediately instill confidence, but I have two bookselves, a heavy bedframe and obviously the computer desk with which to block openings. I could make it very hard for anyone to get in, but it would take some time to rearrange everything.
What else? No food, a couple of two gallon jugs of water set aside in case of emergency, no bathroom… Would not want to be in here long-term, that’s for sure.
Assuming the zombies do not immedately swarm the house in the hundreds and I only have a few here and there to deal with, I would strike out for my aunt’s house (calling ahead if phones still work), since she lives less than a mile away. Obviously I would gear up with heavy clothing to protect from bites, several weapons, such as the afore mentioned mace, and since my father is not here right now and has no use of it, my father’s 12 gauge and the single box of ammo he has. (Last resort that, can’t go all Rambo with one box worth.)
Assuming we still have time to deal with things, we would basically load both of our cars as quickly as possible with any food, useful items, her pets (hey, I’d rather eat them than starve) and anything that could easily be screwed over a window. We would then return to my place, where all the tools and a larger stock of food lies, and fortify the place.
Basically I say leave the running off half-assed with no good plan to the people who want to get trapped in a mall, I’d first try to board everything up and lie low and quiet if at all possible. I certainly don’t want to get in a fight over some public building with zombies trying to snack on the combatants, so if we were forced to abandon ship I imagine we would probably just try to drive out of town and get out in the country before trying to figure out a good place to go.
More on fortifying things. The house is one story with a full basement, so I would try to set up a two stage defense. I would board the windows and block the doors, then everything goes downstairs and I would then block off the stairway. Anything coming in would first have to bust through a window or door and then deal with the blockage between the two floors.
If I had the impression it was the best course of action and had enough time I could also throw some crap outside in front of the two tiny windows the basement does have, and then rip some paneling off the wall downstairs and build a wall at the top of the stairs so anyone coming in would hopefully not even know there was a basement. Hell, I could even get fancy and put in a door if I felt like it. (This would mean we couldn’t bring in the dogs though, since barking would kind of tip off intruders. Hopefully the zombies aren’t the animal eating kind…)
Yeah, not the best plan, but better than nothing I suppose. Just try and wait it out…
Forgot to mention. The basement has it’s own bathroom. Dunno how quickly we’d lose plumbing in the event of zombies, but we’d have it for as long as it still runs. (FILL ALL THE CONTAINERS MEME!!!) That I suppose would be our last holdout: The basement bathroom.
There are basically two rooms down there, the bathroom and a side room that has no door but you have to pass through to reach the bathroom. I could, given time, barricade the two rooms, and then the bathroom on it’s own, giving us two more barriers to fall behind. The bathroom is kind of roomy (see what I did there?) and we could store most of our important stuff in it, so it all kind of falls together.
Hmmmm… since I am apparently on a roll here with unlimited building material, it occurs to me that the walk-in shower with the concrete block walls could be blocked off as well with some kind of door. I wonder if anyone like the criminals above breaking in would find it odd to see everything barricaded from the inside and notice all the doors I’ve used to seal windows don’t have any hinges on them. ;D
So, that’s the real plan I guess. I’m obviously a big fan of castles, but would need a lot of time to enact said plan. Usually the movies start out slow, so if I pay attention and figure out what’s going on it quickly enough, it may even work.
Some more thought. (I’m digging this question, if you hadn’t noticed.)
It occurs to me that any thinking intruders, such as the bad guys in this particular web comic, might be tipped off about my secret hding place if they notice that there are vents for heating/air conditioning, but none of the associated machines, as well as no washing machine and dryer. All of that stuff is in the basement…
Another problem is that the basement relies on a sump pump during heavy rain. While this might be helpful if we run out of stored water, it probably won’t be a good thing long term what with mold and insect life growing in it.
Cooking and boiling water seeping in the sump pump hole would pose another issue. There is a wood stove downstairs and one could sneak in stuff to burn (assuming you have time and opportunity, my constantly repeated phrase here), but smoke coming from a supposedly abandoned house would be a giveaway to thinking folks. I could perhaps disconnect the piping to the household heating/air conditioning and use that as a chimney, but dunno how well that would work. If anyone broke in they might be confused by the smell, though as long as you weren’t actively burning things when they got in, they might think it had to do with the other woodstove in the living room. Maybe the whole thing requires the forceful fans of machinery to move air through the ducts and trying to use them as a smokestack would just result in a smoke filled basement, though I think it would work…
So yeah, now I’m thinking when I get my own place I just might make sure it has a full basement condusive to making a hidden bunker. I do have the basic skills needed to put up fake walls, hidden doors, lights, wiring, vents, etc… ;D
wow… just wow.
Way to take the ball and run with it, Bob! I love in-depth responses like this.
I have a question for you Bob…
Your swords and maces… are they proper battle tested ones? Or are they “decorational” modern day ones that you buy from random shops?
I’d rather put my faith in modern day tools like hammers and axes as opposed to swords and maces unless…. they are real, good quality weapons that have been tested.
Yes and no. They are largely cheap Windlass and Hanwei pieces, high carbon tempered steel, but certainly not top of the line like Albions. Some of them I wouldn’t really want to use it a fight, since these makers tend to make badly balanced toys and don’t always have very good hilt construction, but some are fairly good and would be acceptable for use.
I also have a few stainless steel wallhangers I bought back when I didn’t know any better, but wouldn’t consider using them unless I have no other option. Lastly I have a 1897 German Artillery Saber I am rather proud of. (That and the Windlass mace would be my favored weapons in the unlikely event of house invasion.)
In addition: No offense, but I don’t like the terms “battle tested” and “battle ready”. They are often associated with venders and sellers who are cluelessly using buzz words to get sales and do not necessarily sell good products. Kult of Athena is a place I know that actually uses the term “battle ready” to good effect, but I’ve seen other sellers almost randomly apply that label to their products.
Good info here for people who want to get into classical weapons, Bob. Any chance you’d be interested in doing a guest blog about picking and using swords and the like that won’t break on you? This seems to be a topic a lot of zombie-fans are into.
Can’t be sure that I’d be that great, but yeah, I could do it if you want.
The internet seems to have eaten your follow-up, Bob.
At any rate, shoot me an email at email@example.com and we’ll hash things out.
Oh, I fixed it.
I dunno, I think the odds are in Gene’s favor now.
So, essentially, I’m screwed. I have a wooden shield, a wooden sword, and a plastic blaster. Unless Minecraft knockback physics apply…Bye guys.
What kind of wood are they made of? Ash or hickory might be helpful.
…I dunno. I think it might be oak.
Oak’s a hardwood. Better than something like pine, certainly.
If we only had a wheelbarrow!
Why didn’t you list that among our assets to begin with?
Assuming I just heard about zombies coming into action and have about 2 or three inside my house at the moment:
Lets try this, right now I’m in my house, it’s all a one story house that has one entrance and one entrance only. Unless the undead learn how to go hovering over walls, then I’m fine in that sense. Inside the house there is food for a week, week and a half at the most, but there is a small market-like place two blocks away, there I could raid it and fill up for longer-term surviving.
The house itself will be nearly impossible to fortify completely, and since most of its walls are cement, we can’t punch nails that easily into them. There are about 10 windows in the entirety of the house, all of which can be accessed easily if you are trying to get in, there are three doors that lead to the backyard and can be easily put down (I can force them open, once had to since we left the keys INSIDE when we left for a week of vacations), and besides the ten windows, two ground level windows that are the height and length of the hallway.
To protect myself and my family, I have multiple things to resort to, starting with baseball bats, two of them. Those come in handy if I’m near my study room and zeds pour in. If I’m inside my room, got a couple of golf clubs that could do the job properly, and lastly the guns. Just wanted to make something clear, just because you have a million rifles doesn’t mean you are safe. You would need a million people and 30 million bullets to keep them all at use. So moving onwards, I’d run to my dad’s closet and grab his pistol. He always keeps it in there in case of emergencies and if I’d run out of ammo, he also always keeps a small XM-15 loaded in case of emergencies. My reasoning behind grabbing the Glock over the Colt is that, a pistol is smaller and easier to manoeuvre inside a house with than a rifle, even if it is an 11′ barrel rifle. Thats my main reasoning. I know that you can handle it inside a house if you want to, but the ammunition is too precious and probably will be hard to find, that I’d rather burn 9mm than .223.
Unless I think of something else, thats all I got at the moment.
Digging these in-depth responses. I need to do more questions like this.
If I am at home?
Bug out bag, check.
Environment that is rather rough, check.
Calicade is good to go.
At work now so my assets are limited; scissors, pencils, broom handle maybe. We have some food and water, but I don’t think the building itself would be easily secured with the multiple access points (Liability). My biggest asset is my co-worker and partner in crime who is retired police officer we’d probably take his SUV to his house and arm up.
Liabilities; @Work a lot; building has too many windows and entry points to secure. Not enough weapons.
My strategy would be to arm up with my co-worker and then make it home/ find my family which would only happen after I’m properly armed. I’ve gone shooting before so I’m comfortable with firearms, but am not a trained marksmen by any means. Home I have Axe, and other ‘gardening’ tools which are good swinging weapons.
At home assets; food, water, fireplace* (Could be liability as well), additional weapons, familiarity with the environment.
Liabilities at home; densely populated area (more zombies), limited supplies, no basement. two points of entry front door / back sliding door which would be of primary concern.
It’s funny but ideally I’d want to group with with some of my relatives who are sports hunters/gun owners and take over a super-walmart, or grocery store; if you could secure it you’d have food, water, and other resources for a while. Walmart maybe optimal because they often carry rifles and ammo which will increase your supply of that. The downside obviously is the amount of ground to cover; and when the supplies invariably run out what do you do…
Hmmm… Walmart has been frequently low on ammo ever since the big assault weapon ban going on. With what I’ve seen at the local one in town here, I wouldn’t use that as a reason to try to take the place. On the other hand, this Walmart doesn’t even stock guns, so maybe they have a lot less ammo than most Walmarts, I dunno.
Now the Big R maybe a mile or two from here, they sell plenty of guns and if you’re willing to chow down on animal feed, has plenty of food too. Hey, I think I know where I would be raiding. ;D
The WalMart in my town has hunting bows and arrows. That’ll work, right?
My local Walmart sells ammo, but no guns. And the ammo thing is mostly just shotgun shells, since everything else gets gobbled up so damn quickly.
What a fun question.
I’m at work right now (lunch time). The only thing I keep here is a small supply of snacks. The building has multiple entrances and lots of people. The small area I work in is a “lab” so badge-entry only through the doors but also large picture windows. I do not want to stay here.
Now, in the parking lot in my car is my “winter” emergency bag. 3 day supply of food, bottled water, first aid kit, knife, crank flashlight and extra warm clothes. My vehicle is AWD and I try to always ensure it has 1/2 tank of gas. That’s one of the tips I always tell my students.
If the fates (and some aggressive driving) allow, I would make it home (stopping by the school to pick up my kids). At home, there is weeks, if not months, worth of food plus the BOB and a larger first aid kit and some decent weaponry. Our downstairs would not be easy to defend but our upstairs (after taking out the one set of stairs) could be fortified.
If we had to leave the house, the BOB is right by all the camping gear.
I’m not sure my plan is perfect, but I do have one. 🙂
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to go make a mini-BOB for work…
Awesome response, Kim!
A big plus one for my on the 1/2 tank of more of gas. I’ve always been a big believer in that. I’ll be doing a ton of driving in the next two weeks, which makes for a lot of fill-ups. But if I get stuck in traffic, at least I won’t be freaking out about running dry.
OK Dave I’ll play
Let’s see, I’m at work (accident assessment centre for an insurance company).
Firstly I would secure entrances, so any staff that want to go try get away are welcome to go (less strain on the minimal resources we have here), so the two roller doors would come down, front door would be locked and emergency exits checked to make sure they are clear. Then I would get the emergency response campervan we have on site and pull it up next to the staircase.
We have a civil defence kit with food, water, sledgehammer etc etc on site, I would grab this along with my mini BOB (pocket knife, first aid kit, some canned food, extra socks etc) and would get them, along with any other random things like food and tools (we have tool storage shed) upstairs into the staff kitchen.
Whoever has stayed behind with me would be upstairs filling every container and sink upstairs with water while it lasts, I would then destroy the first five steps (first tier) of the stair case with the sledge hammer effectively giving us a secondary barrier for the safe zone in case the zombies break in… thus securing our immediate future. We would consume the perishables first, then the cereal and canned stuff that people have in kitchen cupboards, and lastly the long life food and water from the civil defence kit. Entertainment would come from a deck of cards, my mini collection of lego at work, and talking to the others. In a big long term outbreak…. I could rig some stuff up on roof to collect water… and we could potentially raid surrounding area for some food… but food would be the big issue long term here, so need to escape eventually.
Our escape is the campervan which was pulled up next to the remainder of staircase so we can climb onto the roof and into the cab (forward thinking here), and I have a remote control for the roller door which happens to be on a back up power system, or can be pulled open via chain, so in theory once supplies have dwindled and we have to make the mercy dash we can get everything into the campervan, open the door and get outta dodge. Alternatively… there is two emergency exits we can utilise if the campervan plan fails for whatever reason, and hit the new world on foot.
So there is my version of the “survive where I am right now game” 🙂
Home survival, or me bugging out to get to family would be different…. but that isn’t what was asked is it haha.
Removing only the first few steps to slow zombies down is clever. I’ll have to remember that, especially since I can easily make a four step jump from a standing position and a couple more with a running start. On the other hand, it would be difficult to carry stuff up and down, and not everyone has my level of physical ability (notice I am also very humble)..
Indeed. This makes a lot more sense that destroying the entire staircase, as The Zombie Survival Guide suggests.
Nice write-up here, Mad.. You’ve got a job that sounds similar Edward Norton’s character in Fight Club.
Now I’m thinking about taking over the Big R a mile or two away…
If I and any others such as father, aunt, maybe sister and her boyfriend who are normally forty minutes away, manage to beat everyone else thereit wouldn’t take too much to fortify the place. It is a big heavy concrete block building, with only the front entrance and the big old service doors out back. I believe they have a forklift, so simply piling various pallets of gardening supplies (tis the season) would quickly block off any zombies. They have craploads of tools to build things with and improvise melee weapons from, loads of food, especially pet and animal food, a firearms/bows/slingshot section, lots of stuff to burn and keep warm or cook with, plenty of clothing… I mean, the place is perfect.
Forgive my ignorance here, but wha’ts a “Big R”? I assume some sort of discount retailer like WalMart?
It’s a sort of farm, outdoor sports, mechanic flavored Walmart if you will. http://www.bigr.com/
Interesting. Looks like a cross between Home Depot and Tractor Supply.
Pretty cool. The other option would be Cabela’s but I have a feeling that would be a popular place during the Zombie Apoc… http://www.cabelas.com/