What are the worst Jobs for survival when the undead (Zombies) attack?

We’ve modeled an extensive undead zombie death simulation using a single point of infection in a residential neighborhood. For the purposes of the simulation we’ve used an average population density of 400 people per square mile.

The top ten most deadly jobs with their death ratio. (If you have this job you have this % chance of dying in the first 3 days of the apocalypse.)

  1. EMS/Ambulance Paramedic (99%)
  2. Nurse (94%)
  3. Doctor (90%)
  4. Law Enforcement with hesitant trigger finger threshold (85.5%)
  5. Firemen (75%)
  6. Gas Station Attendant (72.5%)
  7. Grocery Clerk (68%)
  8. Schoolteacher (62%)
  9. Bank Teller (57%)
  10. Law Enforcement with happy trigger finger (35%)

I expected the Nurse and Doctor to be nearly identical in death rates, but apparently nurses come into contact first and some number of physicians run when they see their nurses getting eaten, versus trying to help, accounting for the 4% difference.

The law enforcement numbers had a large gap depending on type of law enforcement and how their trigger pull patterns were modeled.  I ended up using a fast to pull the trigger and slow to pull the trigger schema, which had a very clear cut difference on how the behavior impacted survival.  Cops who shoot at early signs ofs violence survived 55.5% more of the time.

The Gas Station Attendant and Grocery Clerk, and Bank Teller numbers were not a big surprise.  People try to grab their cash and get in their cars and run, as well as stock up on food and water, causing those locations to have a higher focal population density and increase the risk.

The Schoolteacher was a surprise to me.  The model uses a variable gap time between exposure and turning, which led to an interesting death toll for schoolteachers.  Apparently people will send their kids to school even if they are about to turn into little undead chewing monsters.

The highest survival ratio of all jobs in the undead apocalypse are deep sea fishermen with a survival of 99.9%.  I am still trying to figure out where the .1% chance came from for infection but I haven’t found it in the model yet.


If the Undead (Zombies) don’t get you, the water will.

Your in great shape, you’ve set aside your supplies and have your plans set for when it starts.

You only forgot one thing, leaving the water purification tablets on the counter as you strap on your day pack and head out the door to sneak to your first Jump Point.

You get to you two bedroom apartment on the outskirts of town just in time. The last vestiges of the military are flailing, dropping incendiary weapons onto the city, but your far enough out to just breath a little smoke.

The average adult produces 1.5 liters of urine a day and loses another .5 liters through breathing, sweating, and bowel movements. So, even at 1 liter per day rations while you are mostly stationary, you are going to run out of bottled water pretty quickly.

No problems right? You were able to put another thirty liters into the bathtub before the tap went dry. It might not be the most appetizing prospect, but your thirsty.

The problem is that your so used to drinking heavily filtered and purified water, that you are going to go through a period of GI adjustment. Plan on intestinal cramps, pain, diarrhea for at least a few days as you transition away from municapal water supplies.

To start with, purification tablets are a good, simple way to make sure you won’t get something that will knock you out. Filters are okay, but they are more bulky, and they tend to wear out without really giving you any notice that they are no longer working.

Boiling, is of course a gold standard, but the risk of fire bringing down the horde is too great until your well situated at your final jump point.

Good luck.


Undead (Zombie) Apocalypse Shopping List

Easy to print shopping list for each phase:

Prepare for the end:

Required Items:

  • Decent leather motorcycle jacket (they are vented so you won’t die to fast of heat prostration in the summer before the undead get to you)
  • Leather motorcycle gloves
  • Hiking boots (break them in, your going to be doing a lot of walking in them)
  • Two wooden baseball bats…they last longer than aluminum
  • Daypack
  • Bottles of water
  • Energy bars

Bonus Items:

All the items in the First Jump and Final Jump Site are bonus items, as you may or may not be able to stage the second two sites.

First Jump Site:

  • 18 Volt cordless drill
  • Spare batteries
  • Boxes of 2 inch screws
  • Boxes of 3 inch screws
  • Two by fours
  • Plywood cut to window size
  • MREs
  • Bottled water
  • 10 five gallon paint buckets with tightly sealing lids
  • Toilet paper

Final Jump Site:

  • Shotgun
  • Boxes of shells
  • Hunting Rifle
  • Boxes of ammunition
  • Boxes of nails
  • MREs
  • Bottled water
  • Toilet Paper
  • Water purification tablets (your so used to drinking clean chlorinated water that you are in for a real kick in the butt if you don’t ease yourself into drinking the normal stuff)


Survival after the Zombie Apocalypse – Final Jump

So you’ve survived the first, and most acutely dangerous First Jump and have patiently stood by while the  world ended.

But your supplies are starting to run low and the empty five gallon paint buckets aren’t empty any longer, and its starting to get a little rank in your hidey hole.

You watch the street, and listen.  Is there still distant gunfire now and then?  Or even worse, a few survivors trying to run for it?  Then stick it out a little longer.  The undead are a lot like chihuahuas on meth, so you want to let them chill out before making your Final Jump.  They will be more dangerous when they’ve been hunting and are hyper aware. 

Okay – so its been quiet, and you picked your First Jump location well, someplace outside the city where there weren’t hundreds of thousands of undead crowding the streets to begin with.  Anyone stuck in the city is going to be die of thirst and starvation if they don’t just jump from the roof in desperation.

Imagine you have a box of ping pong balls and you dump them on an empty table.  They are going to bounce around and collide off each other, but if you let them settle they will gradually move away from the center of the table and fall of the edge.  Now do the same experiment, but tape boxes all over the table top before you dump the balls.  Unlike the experiment with the clear table, many more of the ping pong balls are going to be left on the table with lots of obstacles on it.

You can think of the undead in a very similar way.  When they don’t have something to chase, they will wander around until they hit an obstacle, and eventually come to a halt until something stirs them up again.  Cities are going to be natural traps for the undead, and for anyone stuck inside them. 

That’s why you chose a First Jump point away from the city, so when it all settled down you would be in a much better place to escape from.

Okay, the next part is gonna suck. 

No cars, no motorbikes, nothing that makes noise.  A bicycle is okay, but even the increased motion from it may cause you to stir up more than you want, but at least its quiet. 

Your going to start walking.   You’ve picked a Final Jump Point somewhere out in the boonies, maybe even scoped it out a few times, picking a farmhouse with lots of land around it, or better yet, one with a nice stone wall closing it in.

Critical factors in choosing the site:

  • Needs to have access to nearby water
  • Fruit tree is a bonus if your in the right climate
  • Must be a well built building

Coming Next…Defense and Scavenging

The Walking Dead – Episode 4

The Walking Dead just keeps getting stronger.

Even with a weak opening centered on the sisters talking about how thier dad gave them both what they needed growing up, the episode picked up from there and kept going. 

Glen gets abducted and Rick and the crew are forced to rescue him. Merle is on the loose, and the undead attack base camp.

Dale’s buddy turns out to be some kind of clairvoyant, seeing what is coming, and Amy goes down for the count on her birthday.

Where was the night watch?  Did it get forgotten because of the fish fry?

Did Merle lead he geeks back to base camp as revenge?

At the end, there is a scene from Episode five where Rick says they can’t kill someone who is still alive.  Who got bit and is the ticking time bomb?

Only two episodes left to go before the end of the season.


What is the best handgun to survive the Zombie Apocalypse?

Understanding what the best handgun to survive really doesn’t come down to the gun so much as the ammunition.

The critical factor when choosing the right weapon is to look at the ammunition available for it, and what the related Hatcher Value of those rounds are. Gen. Julian Hatcher developed the Hatcher Value scale in the 1930’s to rank handgun ammunition in terms of how well it will perform if the goal is a one shot kill shot.

Rounds I wouldn’t use unless it was all I had:

Round Hatcher Value
.25 Auto jacketed hollow point 50 grain 3.7
.22 Long Rifle jacketed hollow point 40 grain 4.2
.32 Auto jacketed hollow point 71 grain 11.1
.380 Auto jacketed hollow point 95 grain 18.3
.38 Special full metal jacket 158 grain 26.7

Moderate stopping power rounds – you better aim for the neck, mouth, or eye socket, or you might not take down your target:

Round Hatcher Value
9 millimeter full metal jacket 147 grain 32.3
.357 Magnum full metal jacket 158 grain 32.7
.357 SIG full metal jacket 147 grain 36.6

The following are the ideal rounds for one shot kills:

(Note that the 10millimeter and .40 S&W are both on this list – the police and military specifically requested these almost identical rounds to increase stopping power over the 9mm.)

Round Hatcher Value
.357 SIG jacketed hollow point 147 grain 45.2
.357 Magnum lead wad cutter 158 grain 48.5
.45 ACP full metal jacket 230 grain 49.1
10 millimeter full metal jacket 180 grain 50.3
.44 Special full metal jacket 240 grain 51.6
.40 S&W full metal jacket flat nose 180 grain 53.4
.41 Magnum full metal jacket 230 grain 54

General Hatcher’s magic number on the scale was 50.  With a rating of 50 the round will provide one shot stopping power 90% of the time.

So pick your ammunition, and then pick the firearm that best fits your shooting style to go with it.


Survival after the Zombie Apocalypse Starts – Pick Your Emergency Jump Point

Go back to Prepare
So you’ve listened to the radio and watched as reports of riots slowly turned into disturbing reports of strong military response and martial law as they try and isolate the infected areas. You’ve kept your ready bag packed and its time to go, other people, less prepared, but frightened by the strange news, are flooding the streets, already the highways are jammed.

Its time to make your first jump to your emergency location.

But how did you pick the emergency jump point?

  • It has to be close enough to reach in a days effort – assume the best speed you’re going to make is on a motorbike, but its safer to bet you’ll be walking.  People aren’t going to pull you off your feet to steal your shoes (yet) but they just might pull you off your motorbike if they are scared enough.
  • It has to be defensible, and preferably has some supplies stockpiles.  Don’t think your local supermarket, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, or CostCo’s is the place to go.  They will be the first place to be looted in the crossover days, when the undead are claiming complete control but there are still a fair number of people fighting for their lives.
  • Forget about the local prison.  While it is designed to keep people in and to a fair degree, out – its full of poeple in cells who will do just about anything once the guards flee.  Unless your willing to watch them starve, and live with the smell, this is a really bad idea.  I would imagine the smell of rotting meat would bring a few hungry undead to your door.
  • Your best bet is to keep it simple.  It should be a two story building, with as much space around it as possible. You want to see what’s coming at you.  No row homes, the walls are drywall and some insulation, the undead will go right through it.
  • If you can, take down the stairs, but don’t do it if there is a risk you will be heard.  Its no good if your “safe” but surrounded by the undead.  The goal of the Emergency Jump Point is to stay unnoticed and survive the flash of chaos while most of the survivors kill each other and get eaten. 

If you can scope out the location and leave supplies there, remember to keep the following on hand:

  • A powerful cordless drill and multiple battery packs.  Buy the contracters kit if you can so you can leave the extra batteries on the charger and ready to go when the power dies.
  •  Boxes of three inch screws.  Trust me, this is quieter than hammering.
  • A pile of two by fours and a pile of pre cut pieces wide enough to cover your windows.  If your really well prepared you can make “storm shutters” to screw over the windows made out of plywood.  But remember to bold all this on the inside and try to keep the outside looking as normal as possible.  You don’t want to attract a horde of survivors to eat your food.
  • If you can keep guns onhand, these are always a bonus item

Coming next…your Final Jump Point

Undead (2003)

Undead (2003) (2 out of 5 Graves)

This movie competes for a special place in my heart.  Where else are you going to see some pretty awesomely bad special effects including a fight with zombie fish, and best of all, a lead character who can make hand guns pop out of his ass?  I almost pee’d myself when he does his little hip flick and two guns come flying over his shoulders to end up in his hands – while he’s buck naked. 

Worth watching over a couple of beers, but only if you know what your getting into, which is awesome low grade B movieness.