We are headed into fall and the most popular show on television, The Walking Dead, makes its return in a few weeks. Since we ARE speaking with our friends from the Zombie Response Team, and since they ARE the experts on such things, we wanted the second part of our conversation to be a bit more zombie-centric and have some fun while (we still can!) we get educated. With this in mind, we came up with a few more questions for the brave souls that have made it their mission to “Protect and Sever”. Here we go.
What are the first signs we should watch for to tip us off that the Zombie Apocalypse (ZA) has started?
One clear indication would be mass reports of people eating other people.
Where is the one place you absolutely DO NOT want to be in the event of the ZA?
Anywhere but my home. Our home is secure and fortified and ready for action. Anywhere else is not.
If the ZA pops off tomorrow, do you believe we will be dealing with “walkers” or “sprinters”?
Honestly, it’s a toss up. It really could go either way.
It is a widely held belief that the cause of the ZA would most probably be some form of virus. Given this assumption, do you believe the virus would be able to mutate as the ZA stretched into the future creating the possibility of an “evolving” zombie? Could what starts out as a shambling undead creature somehow morph into a more mobile and aggressive type?
Depends on the type of virus. If it were something like a mutated rabies virus, then the chances of it mutating even more could be possible, but it could not be possible; just depends on how the virus was mutated to begin with and if it’s capable of continuing to mutate.
Given that death and decomposition go hand in hand, how long should we be prepared to survive before we could expect that the walking dead might decompose to the point that they are no longer a viable threat?
Another good question and this also depends on where you reside. In colder regions, it’ll take longer, but on the other hand, they could just freeze, however, once they defrost, who’s to say that they won’t simply come back to “life” and keep moving forward? As far as heat goes, it really depends on the type of virus. If it’s just a virus, then they’d still be alive and not necessarily dead and therefore, decomposition wouldn’t be a reasonable assumption. It’s all variable.
If you could choose the soundtrack to your life during the Zombie Apocalypse, what would it be? Of course, you HAVE to explain this one.
Eminem – Not Afraid
Imagine Dragons – Radioactive
Hollywood Undead – Undead
Matchbook Romance – You Can Run, But We’ll Find You
And a few others. But basically, any songs that make me get up off my ass and make me pumped to keep going. A song that can make me feel empowered or hopeful or simply make me shake my booty, would be a great soundtrack to the Zombie Apocalypse.
How does the average American most underestimate the foe that would be the zombie?
Many people think that because the typical zombie moves slowly, that’d they’d easily be able to escape and evade. But zombies move in hordes so once they reach you (while you sleep or eat or go to the bathroom), you’d not only be fighting off one or two, you’d be fighting off a whole horde.
When it comes to the ZA, what is the one thing you can almost guarantee that we have forgotten? What haven’t we thought about?
Hygiene. I know this sounds silly, but no matter who I talk to about the apocalypse or surviving, nobody ever brings up hygiene. Hygiene is so important, even if you can only scrub your body and teeth and hair with straight water, DO IT. Otherwise, you could get skin irritations (which could lead to infections), your teeth could begin to rot and a variety of other things.
Any member of the military, avid hiker or athlete will tell you, “You have to take care of your feet.” If you were outfitting us, what’s your number one suggestion for the appropriate footwear for the Zombie Apocalypse. Explain.
Honestly, there really is no ‘one’ specific piece of footwear that is going to be better than another. It’s all personal preference. I agree that your feet are important and you need a comfortable shoe. As long as it’s comfortable and above the ankle and you can wear it for an extended period of time without getting sore or getting blisters, then it’s all good.
What’s your self-defense weapon of choice for the ZA?
Either my compound bow or my rifle. One is silent and I’ll be able to use more often, but the other can be used at much longer distances.
We would need to be able to move around after the undead have turned our wonderful country into a rotting wasteland. Which mode of transportation would you recommend?
My feet! Seriously, feet are going to be the best mode of transportation, but a bicycle could work for a time, or even a horse. A vehicle will work for a short period of time, but once gas is no longer easily accessible, it will not be the best option, so we have to have an option that isn’t going to require any type of fuel.
With the zombie killing we’ll inevitably be forced to do in the apocalypse, contagion from blood splatter will definitely be a risk. There is one question that must be answered. Awesome, air-vented (to prevent fogging) motorcycle goggles or mirrored chrome shades?
Neither, Oakley sunglasses. 😉 Gotta look good while killing off the hordes! lol
After the first few days of the outbreak, would sports arenas prove to be a good place to set up a survival camp? If so, open air or dome?
I’d have to decide that on a case-by-case basis, but that doesn’t seem secure enough to me. It’s too open, too big and too many opportunities for someone or a zombie to break in.
Assuming you’ve got the problem of transportation covered, the now greatly depopulated American landscape would be your oyster in the zombie apocalypse. Which national landmark or tourist attraction would you most like to visit now that crowds (of the living) are no longer a deterrent?
All of ‘em! If we have unlimited amount of time and transportation is covered, then let’s do something productive with our time and see it all. Why not!
We know y’all are coffee drinkers, as are we. Given this fact, and understanding that a zombie infested post-apocalyptic America will be found wanting of an open Starbucks when we need one most, I ask you this…a coffee press: important survival item or the MOST important survival item?
Obviously, the #1 most important survival item.
Well, there you have it. Now I feel like I’m really ready for Halloween and anything else that might be headed my way…..once I get me some Oakleys.
A big thanks once again to ZRT for hanging out with us for a while.
Zombies! Who doesn’t love ’em? Preparedness. I think we all agree that’s a topic worth our attention, especially these days. Well, in our continuing efforts to bring you information and perspectives you can use, we caught up with our pals with Zombie Response Team out of San Antonio, Texas to get the inside track on the best way to handle both.
ZRT : the interview : I
What is the Zombie Response Team and how did it come into being?
We are an organization that teaches people how to survive anything; even a zombie apocalypse. The HOW it came into being isn’t real exciting. It really just sort of…happened. We realized that we had a desire to learn survival wrapped in a zombie filling and knew others had to feel the same way. And we were right! We decided to brand ourselves differently than the others who try to be ‘militia’ or ‘we know more than you do’. We simply want to help and we try to make that known as best as we can.
What are the goals of ZRT?
We simply want to educate people on how to be prepared. It’s SO simple to get prepared for anything that may come our way, but people see shows like Doomsday Preppers or Doomsday Castles and think they need millions of dollars just to get prepared…but that’s not the case at all. We’re trying very hard to make it known that prepping isn’t necessarily EASY, but it’s not really difficult, either.
Was there any particular event, personal or otherwise, that motivated you to start prepping?
I used to find myself in situations where the lights would go out and my phone was about to die and I couldn’t find a candle or flashlight or anything and then realized I was starving and had no non-perishable foods or anyway to cook those non-perishable foods (like rice)…and so on. I just got tired of it and began to make things easier on myself, like keeping flashlights and candles near by and keeping a stove that ran on propane near by as well. I also started keeping several bottles of water around. Simple things like that that really made a difference when it mattered most.
Which came first….prepping or ZRT, the chicken or the egg?
Prepping came first. ZRT is a mix of our passion for prepping and our enjoyment of zombies.
If we take the zombie apocalypse off the table for this question, what event would you say you are most concerned could cause a large scale (national/global) emergency/SHTF/disaster situation?
On a global scale? I’d have to say something like a solar flare or EMP.
What is the hardest lesson you have learned while prepping? A mistake you made or a relationship that was changed as a result of prepping?
Honestly, the hardest lesson to learn, is that people simply don’t want to be prepared. People seem interested or they say they need or want to be prepared, but when it comes right down to learning the knowledge or skills necessary, they simply don’t want to take that step or are ‘too busy’. To this day, it’s really difficult to talk to people because you just never know who will truly want to learn or not. We have a great desire to teach people and to educate the entire world about simple tasks to be prepared and it’s falling on deaf ears, which is really difficult to come to terms with.
Other than that, we make mistakes all the time, but we learn from them and figure out better ways to go about them. It’s the process of prepping, gotta make a few mistakes before you realize what really works.
What unexpected benefit has prepping added to your life? (Lessons learned about yourself, people you’ve met, etc.)
Getting to know so many other people who share our same beliefs. We have been apart of so many events and have made so many connections and friendships with people that we would have never made before if it weren’t for our public display of prepping.
At Practical Tactical, we believe in the “software” of preparedness like planning & philosophy as much, or maybe more so, than the “hardware” of preparedness like all the gear associated w/ prepping. What’s your opinion on this and where do you fall on the spectrum?
We think it’s a good mix of software and hardware. We think the software needs to be learned and understood first before the hardware, but they essentially go hand-in-hand.
When planning for this interview, I crowd-sourced the members of our training group just to see if they had any questions for you guys and here’s what came back. Obviously, answers of “cannot divulge for proprietary or security reasons” are always acceptable. (A note from the group: “Thanks! Keep up the good work!”)
1) Members of our team come from a wide variety of backgrounds (journalism, law enforcement, medicine, landscape architecture, advertising sales/marketing, business management, etc.). What kinds of backgrounds are y’all working from?
The same, we all come from many, many different backgrounds and we all possess many different skills and knowledge, which is what makes the team really work.
2) From where does ZRT receive funding? And do you do this full-time or part-time?
All of our funding comes straight from memberships and merchandise and donations. We do not receive funding from anywhere else. We do this full-time.
3) Do you work with local/regional/State agencies at all? For example, coordinating with Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs), Red Cross, Emergency Management, etc to enhance their community education initiatives.
We do on occasion, but to be honest, we like to work with independent organizations such as home owners associations and the like because we feel we can reach people on a much more personal level that way. We do enjoy working with the bigger organizations such as the Red Cross and LEPCs, but generally we try to be individualized about our training.
What would you consider to be the biggest challenge you’ve given yourself as it pertains to preparedness, resilience, etc.? What is an example of a major task you’ve undertaken that you probably would not have if you had not been into preparedness? (Example: We put in a fruit tree orchard this year.)
We bought land. Honestly, if we weren’t into preparedness as much as we are, we may not have bought so much land as we did, but we bought about 13 acres and are cultivating it for many different preparedness uses. It’s a huge task, to say the least.
How would you say prepping has helped you to grow as individuals?
Prepping really helps us see the world a lot differently. We don’t just see the world as it is at face value anymore, our eyes are open to all the possibilities of nature, disasters, emergencies, etc. When we walk into a restaurant, our eyes go immediately to the possible exits. Before, we’d just sit down and start ordering, but now, we are more focused on the ‘what ifs’ then simply going about the motions. That doesn’t mean that we’re SO focused that we forget to have a good time, but if something were to happen in that restaurant, we’d know how to escape or how to protect ourselves.
What is your favorite activity that ZRT participates in as a group?
We participate in a variety of events and we love each and every one of them. We really have no favorite, they’re all awesome and unique.
What are you most proud of when it comes to ZRT?
We are most proud when we receive messages and emails from people who tell us how our information has helped them prepare.
What is your favorite part of prepping?
Personally, I love alternative energy. I love being able to charge my cell phone without a wall outlet or being able to use a generator for our camper out on our land and so on. I love being able to find different ways to source electricity.
What is your favorite piece of gear (tool/weapon/kit)? Why? Yes, you can only pick one.
My browning knife. I can pretty much do anything with that knife.
Since it is right there in the name….Zombie Response Team….what are your thoughts on building a training/survival/mutual assistance group or team? This is an important concept, so feel free to take as much space as necessary to explain.
We constantly say how important it is to be in a team environment. We do NOT recommend the lone wolf aspect at all. Having a team means that you have people from all sorts of different backgrounds, with all sorts of different knowledge and skills and no matter what might happen, you have that one person who will come up with a great idea or be able to do a specific task that you may never have thought of. It’s also important to keep morale up and being in a team can definitely help with that. Even if it’s just having someone else to talk to, or to play cards with, humans are not meant to be alone, we do much better with personal interaction. Training and surviving in a team is extremely important.
Inside ZRT, does each member have a particular area of expertise they train the rest of the group members on or does everyone just learn new skills together?
Yes, absolutely. We all train each other on different skills on a regular basis.
What basic concept of preparedness do you feel it is most vital for people to embrace and get a handle on?
Mindset. Without the proper mindset, survival is going to be really difficult.
A big thanks to ZRT for taking some time with us. We hope you enjoyed that conversation as much as we did. With The Walking Dead returning this week, we felt like one part just wasn’t enough with ZRT, so be sure to check back next week for the second part of our interview with the zombie pros.
When folks ask us “Why should I prepare?” one of the every day, practical examples I offer is unexpected job loss, or injury / event that would prevent you from being able to work. Any event related to this or a similar situation would absolutely constitute a personal SHTF scenario.
Even if you believe you have no fear of losing your job, the events of this week in Washington D.C. reaffirm the fact that there are numerous ways your livelihood can be impacted by forces that are completely and totally beyond your control.
Thousands of workers across this vast country have been furloughed due to the government shut down and have absolutely no idea when they will be permitted to go back to work or when they will next receive a paycheck. I would be willing to bet you a dollar to a doughnut that most of those impacted are like many of their fellow Americans, living paycheck to paycheck with very little to no buffer between themselves and a financial crisis, and they are feeling the pinch.
With no indication the federal government will get it’s act together in the next couple of weeks, the next axe poised to fall is a default on our country’s debts. Just today the Treasury Department issued a dire warning stating that a government default could cause credit markets to freeze, the value of the Dollar to plummet and interest rates to skyrocket. This could have catastrophic ramifications for our nation and the world.
By taking basic steps to be more prepared such as having a few months food supply on hand and taking every step you can to get out of debt, you can create a buffer and buy yourself some time should you ever be impacted by events that are out of your control. If you were to lose your job or be furloughed for an unknown period of time, you would still have the ability to provide the basics for yourself and your family and allow yourself the flexibility to prioritize your now limited funds towards keeping the lights and water on and a roof over your family’s head.
This is a crazy world we live in and it is getting more and more unpredictable every day. Not only must we be prepared to deal with the known threats we face daily, we must also be ready to weather unforeseen storms when they darken our skies. These threats, known and unknown, are the reasons it is only prudent to take whatever steps we can to be ready should the need ever arise.