ZRT : the interview : I
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.