First things first, you have to know your enemy. Zombies come in two flavors: fast and slow. Fast are definitely cool, but you'll need more than a baseball bat and a pair of running sneakers to survive that zombie attack. Slow zombies - well why the heck would anyone die from a slow zombie? If you can't get away from a slow zombie, you earned dismemberment.
Let's suppose that you made it through the first 10 minutes of the zombie-fest, and while most of your town are looking for live flesh to feast on, you're wondering how to hot-wire a car and get out of town. You need a plan of action...
PreparationI'm assuming the reader isn't currently experiencing a zombie outbreak. If you are, skip down to the next section.
Preparing now for zombiedom is a good idea. Remember what the TV preacher said, "When hell is full, the dead will walk the earth." So it's bound to happen sooner or later. Since it would look wierd if you started bricking up your windows and stockpiling rifles, you have to be smart about this.
First, get to know the guy in town who bought a pallet of Spam to survive Y2K. He probably still has a ton of that stuff around, and knows all the good hiding places.
Next, scout out all the big box retailers that carry ammo and food. Not too many eh? Tough luck, blue-stater. Someplace like WalMart is ideal, especially with the Garden Center for seed and stuff for longterm survival. A big bonus would be a nearby Home Depot or some such place so you can get plenty of lumber and quick-mix concrete for fortification.
While you're preparing, always keep in mind locations where people congregate - you're likely to find lots of zombies there when things turn ugly. Highways, malls, and schools are especially bad. You also might want to mention to your friends and family in passing how well your hiding place could be defended, etc. That way, when the zombies come, they'll remember you said that and come help you. I don't recommend telling them you're preparing for a zombie invasion.
First, The Fun StuffAfter your initial panic, it's important to remember that a significant component of your surivival is the demise of the ghouls trying to get your tasty brains. Despite some reports to the contrary, the only way to permanently un-animate a zombie is to destroy its brain. This isn't rocket science (although that would be a cool way to do it). A gunshot to the head is the most direct way to disable a zombie, but not the only way. Decapitation also works, although the head will probably still function so don't let it bite you. If you survive long enough, and society collapses along with any hope of rescue, you'll need to develop some means of skull penetration that doesn't involve guns - a professional bowhunting setup works if you can get it. You might be squeamish at first, taking out your neighbors; with time this will pass, you might even adopt a gleeful hangman's sense of humor in your executions.
Run or HideThis is a no-brainer. You gotta hole up somewhere eventually, but pick carefully. Let's say that the outbreak is localized to your city, but you know that the neighboring town is zombie-free. Flee to the neighboring town. I know this sounds obvious, but don't sit around waiting for grandma to bite you. Get to the safe town, find a gun store, and join the Minuteman Militia.
But that isn't much fun, so let's think about what you'd do if the whole country is overrun. Since you already did your prep work, make a bee line for the WalMart you picked out earlier. Hot Tip: Pick a new WalMart if you can. Zombies tend try to do the things they were doing when they were alive, so they're gonna head to the mall, or WalMart, or school... you get the idea. And since we're on the subject, malls are a bad place to hole up in. Too many entrances, and not enough goodies for long term survival.
In short, pick a new general merchandise or grocery big box store. You get lots of canned food to eat, and only one or two large entrances to guard.
Use the Buddy SystemDon't be a dummy. If your buddy is bitten by a zombie, shoot him in the head and get it over with. Otherwise, gather the refugees, Rambo, and lead them to safety. People will follow anyone who acts like they know what they're doing, and you need the manpower to subdue the throngs at WalMart.
Not to mention that a good zombie attack needs plenty of extras.
Since the average WalMart has enough food to keep a few thousand people fed for a week or more, you should have enough staples to get by for a few months if you limit your group to around 100 or so. There's a trade-off here between having enough people to defend your fort, and enough food to keep them fed. I don't know if zombies are edible, but that's a possibility if things get rough. It's not really cannibalism, is it?
The basic idea to get from this section is, have enough people to root out the zombies and block the entrances, but not so many people that you have to ration the food heavily. Also, make sure you have some girls. Preferably hot chicks, but in the absence of those some tough biker babes would work.
Zen and the art of FortificationHow lame is this... you and a few buddies are holed up in a mall, with who knows how many entrances, and instead of bricking up the glass you eat hot dogs on the fine china Macy's?
First, you aren't going to do that, because you already picked out the big box retailer you're taking over. Second, you're going to spend the first day sealing all entrances. If you chose wisely, you have a store with some kind of concrete mix in it, or a home building center nearby. As soon as you've cleared the store of zombies, and maybe even before, you need to brick up the glass entrances. You can worry about the others later, they're smaller and harder to open from the outside anyway.
Be generous and thorough with your fortification. A few pieces of lumber nailed up is OK for an emergency start, but don't forget to make it permanent. You might consider some kind of buttress design as well, since I'm not sure what kind of force thousands of zombies could put on an amateur brickwork.
Finally, don't make the mistake of assuming your fortifications will hold. Check them everyday, measuring the wall to make sure it hasn't moved. You also might consider building a second wall in case the first gets broken through.
T-Shirts Aren't Bite ProofThis is one I've never figured out. Zombification occurs shortly after being bit by a zombie. So why are people running around in t-shirts for days and weeks after Z-Day? Get some freakin armor! Thick leather will work in the short term. Later on, get some aluminum siding or something else metallic and affix it to your clothes. Even zombies can't bite through that stuff. Important areas to protect include the forearms, neck, and legs. Just make sure it's flexible enough to give you some freedom of movement. Helmets are a good idea too, but anything other than motorcycle helmets would look dorky, and I'd rather be a zombie than a dork with a pail on my head.
Long Term SurvivalLet's recap: you've survived the initial zombie invasion, banded together a few dozen survivors, and fortified a big box retail store with plenty of food and goodies. So what's your long term prognosis? Not good.
You'll eventually run out of water, canned food, and fuel for the generator. In fact, you'll be in the dark in a day or two, and the water will be gone shortly after that. Unless, of course, you don't panic, and plan ahead. Don't worry, I'll help you out.
If you took a WalMart like I told you, you don't need to worry too much about lighting. The skylights do a fair job of illumination during the day, and battery powered flashlights will be OK at night time. But if you're brave, you can venture outside to get fuel from filling station. And if you're lucky, you'll find a tanker truck to drive back to home base. Personally, I'd rather live in the dark. It might be a good idea to keep a CB radio in your car for just this type of event, and try to get a trucker to bring the tanker to your fort when Z-Day arrives.
For water and food, I can help you out there. The first thing to do after securing your fort is fill every container in the store with tap water. You might have a few days of water available, but I wouldn't count on it. Electricity, water, and sewage will disappear soon, so you want all the drinking water you can get.
Now that you've got that straightened out, you're going to become a farmer. Lucky for you, the Garden Center has lots of seeds and soil, and the store has a big roof for planting. This is a good time to learn the art of composting and water filtration - your alternative to the toilet. I'd place that on the roof too, otherwise things could get smelly inside.
So now you are set. You've butressed the walls to protect against the press of the zombies, you have a few dozen armed followers, and enough veggies to keep everyone fed. You can hold out here for years.
EpilogueWhat happens next depends on a lot of variables. Are there any other survivors? I can imagine a naval fleet having no problems defending itself from zombies. Nuclear powered submarines should be especially safe, they can run for decades. Maybe enough people survived somewhere to come rescue you. If everyone else is zombied, well that would suck.
How long will zombies "live"? This has never been addressed, to my knowledge. Even though they're dead, they still maintain some kind of metabolism and thought process. You'd think that eventually they'll cease activity and it will be safe enough to venture out. Then again, they might be immortal, in which case you are screwed. It's kinda hard to kill 6 billion zombies with just a few 22s and a shotgun.
In any case, I hope I've helped you in formulating your own zombie survival plan.
5 Tips on How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse: