My heart grows heavy when I see numerous articles and top ten lists identifying the skills children need to survive the zombie apocalypse. Many of these articles focus on survival skills (lighting fires, finding drinkable water, fortifying living spaces) and fighting skills (hand to hand combat, appropriate firearms, do it yourself zombie killing machines ). Few of these articles delve into the real skills necessary to survive.
At the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization, we see families every day whose lives have been touched by zombification. Our experience teaches that the most important zombie survival skills are the ability to recognize a zombie and the ability to evade zombies once identified. During the mini zombie apocalypse, many people became zombie food for the simple reason that they didn’t recognize the danger. Since the early victims were recognizable Hollywood stars, most people were inclined to stop, ask for an autograph and maybe a picture. This explains the almost total loss of Hollywood paparazzi in the early days of the Infection. Instead of running screaming in the other direction when they saw an actor shuffling toward them, the paparazzi ran toward them, most likely anticipating a big payout from a tabloid for catching the star on film drunk or impaired by drugs. I have no way of knowing what went through the paparazzi’s minds, but when anyone comes straight at you, moaning and walking unsteadily, it’s a good idea to back up, not to engage. This is why teaching children to identify zombie behavior and appearance is an important step in keeping them safe.
An informal poll done of parents whose children have been attacked and zombified while playing outside reveals none of the parents had schooled the children in zombie identification. Available eyewitness accounts reported the children had not attempted to evade attack and, in some cases, had approached the zombies, ignorant of the danger they were putting themselves in.
Stranger danger, which seems to have fallen out of favor, needs to be restructured to include zombies and people exhibiting zombie-like behavior. Until children can identify this possible threat to their lives, they shouldn’t be allowed outside unescorted.
Once a zombie is identified, children must learn evasion techniques. First and foremost, children must learn to keep their distance. Teach them not to go in for a closer look. If there is adequate space between them and the zombie, they should run for an adult or a secure hiding space. If there isn’t adequate room, children should run like a football player, bobbing and weaving and making multiple direction changes.
This will result in the zombie tripping and falling to the ground as zombies can’t rapidly change direction. Once the zombie is on the ground, it’s time to run for an adult or a secure location.
Identifying secure locations, at home, school, work and play, is key. Performing drills, for example, pretending to be a zombie and asking the child to show their evasive maneuvers including an end run to a secure location, ensures children are able to instinctively make their way to safety in an emergency.
Teaching your youngster these simple steps will be more useful than knowing the difference between an AK-47 and a shotgun. The first step to avoiding danger is identifying it.
- Zombie Proof Your House Before it’s Too Late (geeksyndicate.co.uk)
- Zombie-Proof You Car and House (storiesbywilliams.com)