Most Useful Skills in a Zombie Apocalypse

Most Useful Skills in a Zombie Apocalypse
Most Useful Skills in a Zombie Apocalypse

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Popular TV shows and movies like The Walking Dead and World War Z are simply the stuff of fiction, right? Probably…well, maybe. The recent Ebola breakout in Western Africa has generated stories of “zombies” lurching back to life after being left for dead. A newspaper in the UK also reported on a zombie outbreak.

So just in case civilization collapses tomorrow, remember these zombie apocalypse survival skills.

Always remember the six F’s: Fight, Flee, Fire, Food, First Aid and Fix & Repair.


Battling the bad guys is essential for survival. In order to live another day, remember to:

  • Improve your marksmanship. Headshots take down zombies. In the zombie apocalypse, sharpshooters are better suited for survival.
  • Conserve ammo. Your bullets are limited. Each shot is precious, so make ‘em count.
  • Establish a safe zone. Classic example: the shopping mall in Dawn of the Dead. Finding refuge is absolutely critical – and your safe zone is an ideal place to fight off the undead hordes.


  • Have a boat. Zombies can’t swim, so you can always row away from trouble.
  • Go up. Stay up in the treetops or on top of buildings at night, if the weather permits. Zombies have trouble climbing.
  • Your car is also a weapon. During your escape, take out a zombie or two with your car. Use your car’s front corner bumpers to do the trick. NEVER try to run over 3 or more zombies. The undead can get stuck in wheel wells – and that’s usually the recipe for disaster.


Civilization is over, and with it reliable electricity. With fire, you can stay warm and cook food – essential tools for survival Keep matches and lighters on hand. When you’re out in the wilderness, look for dry sticks to start your fire. Absent any conventional fuel sources, magnifying glasses and friction will work.

Other cool ways to get a fire going:

  • 9-volt battery and steel wool – simply rub the battery ends on a fist-sized piece of steel wool
  • Bubble gum wrapper and AAA battery – cut a small strip of the wrapper and place one end on the positive terminal, one end on the negative terminal. Act quickly, as the fire doesn’t last long.
  • Flashlight reflector – if you don’t have a magnifying glass around, use this item in the same manner. Make sure you try it on a bright, sunny day and direct the light toward a dry stack of kindling wood.


The zombies are trying to eat you, but remember…you also have to eat. Keep these items on hand:

  • Canned goods. Nonperishable veggies, protein (sardines, salted beef), SPAM and perfect for the zombie apocalypse.
  • Water. For each person in your party, try to have one gallon per person, per day.
  • Nuts, seeds, berries. Lean to forage for these nutrients. But beware those remote wilderness areas – you’d be surprised by how many zombies end up in the woods!
  • Improvise a small game trip or snare. A hand-made trap is surprisingly effective for catching rabbit, squirrel and other small game. Sure, a shotgun works – but it also might attract zombies.
  • Preserve your food. One helpful trick is to use two clay pots, one larger than the other. Place the smaller one inside, and fill the gap between the pots with sand. Add water twice a day to the sand. As the sand evaporates in hot temperatures, the smaller pot remains several degrees cooler, thanks to natural heat transfer to the larger pot.
  • Build a fish trap. Fasten two wire mesh wastebaskets together into a large cylinder. On each open end, use some chicken wire to create conical ends tapering toward the middle of the cylinder. Once fish swim into the conical ends and into the main compartment, they can’t escape. For fish trap bait, try a can of pet food with holes punched through the top. Roadkill also works.
  • Foods that Last Forever. Salt, honey, rice, dried beans, vinegar, ramen noodles, hardtack, powdered milk, peanut butter, Twinkies

Fix & Repair

Your ability to think on the fly and improvise in the face of hardship is perhaps the most important skill in a zombie outbreak. With limited resources, you must be able to optimize tools & transportation. If your automobile is out of commission, your chances of survival are severely limited.

  • Find a reliable fuel source. Abandoned gas stations and fuel depots are more valuable than gold. To stay miles ahead of those flesh-eaters, you’ll need plenty of gas.
  • Keep extra radiator hoses and coolant. An overheated engine could spell doom, so learn how to replace a radiator hose and maintain your coolant fluid.
  • Learn to fix a tire, fast. The zombie apocalypse isn’t concerned about maintained roads. You’ll have to drive over tough terrain, and may puncture a tire. Practice your tire-changing skills so you can fix one tire in less than two minutes.
  • Be prepared for repairs and rescue efforts on the road – stock your car with extra supplies. Handy items include paper maps, flashlights, jumper cables, a fire extinguisher, flares, hats & gloves, small snacks and small, handheld weapons.

First Aid

Helping a wounded person means one less zombie you may have to fight later. So it helps to learn first aid. Basic Life Support (BLS), Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and general First Aid are three things every non-zombie should master. Word of caution, though: never perform CPR on a zombie, even if you have a CPR mask or one-way valve!

Keep a first aid kit, warm blankets and extra water in your car, if you’re lucky enough to have an automobile in the zombie apocalypse.

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About the author

I spent 15 years as a firefighter and paramedic...

And too often I would arrive on the scene of someone unconscious, surrounded by a circle of people feeling helpless. Sometimes those people would even have CPR training but lacked the confidence and experience to act.

That’s why I started SureFire CPR. Our classes are practical and engaging – teaching you the crucial skills you need to know what to do and feel empowered to take action.

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Zack Zarrilli, Founder

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