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How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

Science says zombies — lumbering, flesh-eating corpses — don't exist in the real world. Except in rare emergency room situations, dead people can't come back to life, and even if they could, there is little reason to suspect they'd wake up with a sudden, unquenchable appetite for human flesh.

Still, every time a criminal act of cannibalism makes headlines, the Internet comes alive with chatter about an impending zombie apocalypse. A spate of flesh-chomping that occurred earlier this year, including the famous "Miami zombie attack," even prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reassure people that the zombie apocalypse isn't coming.

But judging by the ongoing interest in zombies, not everyone was convinced. For all those who fear that the living dead really could rise up and go on a mass cannibalistic rampage à la the classic 1968 film "Night of the Living Dead," we've put together a little guide to help you prepare for the worst.

Fortunately, these tips will help you weather many other types of disasters, too, from hurricanes to tornadoes to pandemic virus outbreaks. So whether or not you believe in the living dead, read on.

Disaster kit

If a zombie attack (or some other catastrophe) crippled society's infrastructure, you wouldn't want to be stuck without basic necessities. Keep an emergency kit in your house. According to the CDC, this kit should include enough supplies to last you until you're able to make your way to a zombie-free refugee camp (or disaster shelter, or until utility lines are restored). Here's the gear you need to survive zombie doomsday:

  • Water: 1 gallon per person per day
  • Food, namely canned goods and other non-perishable items
  • Medications, including prescription and non-prescription meds
  • Tools and supplies, such as a utility knife, duct tape, candles or flashlights, a battery-powered radio
  • Sanitation and hygiene supplies, such as soap, towels, etc.
  • Clothing and bedding, including a change of clothes for each family member and blankets
  • Important documents, such as copies of your driver's license, passport, and birth certificate
  • First aid supplies to treat basic cuts and lacerations

And while this wouldn't really help for any other potential disasters, the online zombie-fearing community also recommends keeping a baseball bat in store. It doesn't require ammunition or skill, and can be effective in clearing a path through hordes of notoriously ill-balanced zombies.

Emergency plan

When chaos ensues, you won't be able to think rationally. Your survival may depend on whether you came up with an emergency plan in advance. The plan should apply in cases of a flood, earthquake, blackout or, of course, when a pack of zombies starts clambering across your front yard — and make sure everyone in your household has it down.

Here's what your emergency plan should entail, according to the CDC:

  1. Pick two meeting places for your family, one close to your home and another farther away. These come in handy if family members are separated when an emergency kicks in, or if an immediate evacuation from your home becomes necessary (such as in the case of a fire).
  2. Identify the types of emergencies that are possible in your area. Besides a zombie apocalypse, this may include floods, tornadoes, or earthquakes.
  3. Make a list of emergency contacts. This should include local officials like the police and fire department, as well as a more geographically-distant contact who you can call during an emergency. This person can notify the rest of your loved ones about your status.
  4. Plan your evacuation route, both out of your home and out of your town. Make sure you know whose house you will go to in case of an emergency (zombie-related or otherwise) in your area.

Good luck out there. If zombies are real, you'll need it.

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