Day 66: Write a survival guide for a character: Ten things to do in an emergency

Execute Order 66. (Palpatine laughter.)

What’s that? The living dead are trying to smash through your door? There’s a huge tidal wave about to crash into your house even though you live in one of the most landlocked places in the world? We’re all good, just follow my ten simple steps to survival.

Step One: Contact

As long as you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ll catch this catastrophe before it has a chance to destroy the phones. Call people! In my case, I’d call my family. Not because I love them but because they’re far better prepared to deal with most emergencies than I am. (Hey, do as I say, not as I do.) That’s right. Call whichever family member you feel would be most useful in a situation, maybe run them up against how close they are to produce a graph. If y is usefulness and x is a function of distance. Below the line is good, as they are either useful or close. Above the line is bad, as they are useless or too far away. Sorry Grandma Gday, while I have no doubt you’d be amazing at killing zombies, you’re in Australia. Tough shout.

Step 2: Compose yourself

What good is panic? Does it help anyone at all? If the answer to either of those questions was yes then you a) didn’t read the question, b) are probably already panicking and c) are already into step 2. Composing yourself, taking a moment to be calm about the situation, is the best thing to do.

Think, Shania Twain. So the living dead are at the door? That don’t impress me much. So there looks like there’s a giant wave coming up the streets? That don’t impress me much. Cool, calm and collected, the three Cs of survival.

Step 3: Immediate action

Barricades. Get to higher ground. Appropriate immediate action drills should be in place for whichever catastrophe is happening.

Zombies: Barricades.

Tidal waves: Higher ground.

Earthquakes: Doorframes.

You’re currently reading my survival guide, which means you’re alreaady planning. This is good. Don’t focus on one form of disaster. It doesn’t matter if your mum’s best mate’s brother’s sixth cousin once removed’s landlord’s daughter’s friend from work says that a zombie apocalypse is going to happen, nuclear war could break out before that. Be prepared for all eventualities and have immediate action drills in place.

Step 4: Response

Once the initial danger has passed, you can begin to survey the wreckage. Hopefully, your contacts have come through and you are not alone. If you are, now is the time to group. Safety is in numbers, but vigilance is key. See step 5 below.

Step 5: Plan

Do not just rush from where you are without a firm plan in place. This is the number one mistake made by all people in films and yet we continue to see the trope continued in everything. Loved ones are important, hence step 1. But now, in the immediate aftermath of whichever disaster has decided to take a swing at humanity/the earth, you have to concentrate on yourself. Because in this initial moment, you have one option. Focus on yourself, or die.

Step 6: Arm yourself

People will be desperate. People will be afraid. If it’s zombies, people will be members of the living dead who want to eat your brains or your flesh or even just straight up murderdeathkill you. You need to be prepared.

Now, hands up if you want a chainsaw? You’ve all seen in the films where there’s the person with the chainsaw and blood goes everywhere.

THIS IS A HORRIBLE PLAN! Is there a virus turning people into crazed psycho killers? Or a bacteria, a parasite or something else entirely that lives in the blood. If you’ve got a chainsaw, where does that blood go? That’s right, all over you. So the only time you want a chainsaw is if you’ve got a hazmat suit and a decontamination shower handy.

So who wants a gun? Hands in the air, raise them high? ALSO A HORRIBLE PLAN! You want to move silently through this post disaster world, so let’s get a gun. Noisy McNoisy, holla at ya boy. Advertising your location throughout our disaster-torn world is possibly not the best plan. At least until everything dies down. No, you want range and simplicity. If you can get a crossbow, probably not a bad shout. Otherwise, you want quick and sharp. But only if you’re prepared to use it. Otherwise, see step 7.

Step 7: Stay off the road!

No, seriously. Earthquakes are going to render the roads unusable. Fast acting plagues and nuclear weapons are going to fill the roads with crashes and vehicles that won’t start anymore. EMP, yey!

Even if it isn’t directly related, there’s going to be the issue of panic. People flocking in their droves to the cities to see loved ones and out of the city to escape the terror.

You need to travel? Get a bicycle. Absolutely the way forward. And nobody seems to think of it in films…

Step 8: Feed me Seymour.

That’s right. You’ve found family and friends, ruthlessly culling the suspicious ones, those with mysterious cuts or crazy shifts in personality. You’ve travelled, but where to? The answer is somewhere with food.

You need to get to somewhere you can hold up for a while. Post-disaster world is a marathon, not a sprint. You need stuff that’s going to last. Fresh is going to go out quickly, so make the most of lettuce. Tins are the way forward here people.

Step 9: Get some rest.

This is a serious one. You’ve had days of panic in this world. You’ve been running non-stop, full of adrenaline and probably very little sleep. It’s time for you to rest. Put on some classical music, roll out the futon and sleep.

Step 10: The Future

That’s right, the disaster has happened. Nothing is going to change that. Now you have to work with the people around you to create the future. You need to locate the other survivors. Rebuild a system, work on laws, farming. Create a defence, find the structures that are safe to live in. You need to move on. The old world is dead. Welcome to the Future.

The Idiot in Tin Foil


2 thoughts on “Day 66: Write a survival guide for a character: Ten things to do in an emergency

  1. As a veteran and homeland security expert, I can say without pause, that these ten steps should be written into the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster handbooks. Good work old chap, you have a future with a federal agency of your choosing. (For real though, loved this post.)


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