What can The Walking Dead teach us about preparedness? Everything

Press photo of Walking Dead Television show cast member Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes standing at chain link fence with zombies.

The Walking Dead. Courtesy of AMC Networks.

I live for AMC’s show The Walking Dead. I can’t wait for its return this weekend (Feb. 8th). For those of you who haven’t seen it Walking Dead depicts the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. A total fantasy scenario but if you look closer the show is an excellent study on what would happen if there were a major breakdown in society for any reason. While the chances of a viral induced plague of flesh eating zombies wandering through your neighborhood is unlikely there’s always the possibility that there will be some sort of disaster, whether large or small, in which you may need to apply your survival skills. And, this show has given me some great survival tips that will work in any crisis.

Join a group – Yes, more people mean more supplies but it also means that you have the collective skills of the group to increase your chances of survival. Think about it, how far would the Walking Dead group have made it without Michonne’s blade skills and Hershel’s medical knowledge? Real world tip: It’s always best to join a group before there’s a big emergency. There are lots of local neighborhood groups who are working towards helping your community be more prepared.

Stock up on supplies – I can’t count the number of close calls from the show because a character was out seeking food and water and ended up in a zombie ambush. Being the preparedness nerd that I am I often find myself talking to the television saying well if they had a disaster kit that whole incident could have been avoided. (People don’t like to watch with me) Real world tip: Pack a go kit that includes basics like food, water, extra clothing and a flashlight. Store it in a front closet or in your car so you have it if you have to leave in a hurry.

Use what you have – It gets gory how they use simple household items and tools to get out of jams. So, we will skip the details. But the lesson here is if you calmly take in your surroundings you will find a solution to most problems. For example: A 5 gallon bucket, a plastic garbage bag and kitty litter can make a useable toilet. Placing your flashlight in front of a mirror can create more light in a dark room. Real world tip: Think about what ifs and take a mental inventory of items you already have that can be put to good use just in case.

Simple tools are the best tools – Gas and power were scarce in the zombie apocalypse world so power tools were useless. Hand tools like hammers, saws, crowbars and screwdrivers were not only handy for fighting off zombies but also handy for removing debris, getting vehicles unstuck from mud, and fixing things that were needed. Real world tip: Expand your basic disaster supply kit by adding some basic hand tools. I would start with a small shovel and crowbar.

Be aware – This is a big one. Survival experts all agree that one of the most important things you can do is be aware of your hazards and risks. Many found a bad end in Walking Dead because they simply didn’t know what had happen, what they needed to do or that the zombies bite. Real world tip: Include a portable radio in your disaster kit so you can tune in to news stations to find out what is going on following a disaster. Also, learn more about the top hazard risks for Seattle and how the city plans to respond.

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