Step 1: Prepare to Leave
First off: finding a place to wait out the largest surge of zombie hordes. The reason to get out quickly is leaving before everyone is infected and also to avoid being stuck in by blocked roads due to mass panic, police/military quarantine, giant pile of zombies, etc.
- If you're in the city: you need to get out of there! The idea is to avoid the biggest sources of zombies, which is where the largest population of people would be.
- If you're in the suburbs: it would probably be best to get to a more rural area, but your house could suffice.
- Already on the countryside? Perfect.
Step 2: Prepare to Survive
Also grab as much fuel as you reasonably can. Once you're out of fuel, no more transportation. In the next few days, fuel will become a much more expensive commodity, just as in any other apocalyptic situation. So get enough for traveling the next few days, after that society will likely be collapsed and, luckily, zombies don't care about fuel. Grab a couple useful things such as scissors, a hammer, lighters, flashlights(some could double as weapons) and batteries, and a change of warm clothes/rain gear(weather can be more deadly than bite wounds). Jeans and long sleeves are typically better in terms of being bitten(think of trying to bite through a leather jacket - it's like biting directly into a live cow compared to a cheeseburger). I'll talk about zombie resistent apparel more later. A hand crank or battery operated radio could be ideal for listening for survivors and news updates.
The amount to pack very much depends on your vehicle. Your vehicle depends on your situation. Go to a point where you can safely observe the streets. Are there hordes of zombies and/or cars gridlocked outside? To get out of the city with impassible streets, a motorcycle or even bicycle would be better than a car that you can't move. This way, you can get through traffic jams and escape tight situations, all without using much fuel. If you think you can make it out without getting stuck in traffic, your first choice would be a powerful SUV or pick-up truck since if you are going to run the risk of getting stuck in a traffic jam and be a sitting duck, you might as well have lots of carrying capacity and plowing ability(use your imagination). If all you have is a sedan or whatever, then you better hope you got that oil changed(oh shit!). If you are escaping the suburbs, the old family car will probably do anyhow. If you don't have access to a car, then you better make some quick calls, befriend your non-zombie neighbor, do whatever you can to acquire transportation. Even if it means sharing your resources, you need to get out of that people-soon-to-be-zombies and zombies-soon-to-be-very-very-hungry city.
But before you leave: The funnest part of preparation is gathering things to defend yourself, which will be discussed in detail in the next step.
Step 3: Offense and Defense
Either way, grab your main weapon and try to get a secondary just in case. In a state of chaos, you can find whatever you want once you are on your way out. Cops and military, unfortunately, will likely become your enemy since they may be trying to keep you in quarantine and/or prevent you from looting for survival. Once they're dead, or an undead, stupid zombie, you can use their resources. A cop will generally have a lower powered pistol with a lot of rounds(Glock 19, Beretta 92, Sig 229), which would be very handy if you see a cop on the ground. These smaller rounds don't have the stopping power of a shotgun or .45/.357 pistol, but let's face it, a zombie still has a brain that will still be almost completely destroyed by almost any bullet, causing almost certain and immediate death. Whatever kind of gun you can get your hands on is good, since you really would like to avoid close combat with the infected. Ideally, you can find a nice hunting rifle and nail zombies from long range; they're a much easier take down than a deer/bear the rifle may be designed for. Keep in mind that long term survival is your goal, so a weapon chambered to a common type of ammunition, that you could find a lot of, would be ideal.
Some common ammo types:
Rifle: .223, .270, .308, or .30-06
Semi-auto pistol: 9mm, .380, .40 S&W, .45ACP(stands for Auto Colt Pistol, a very common 45 round)
Revolver: .357/.38, .44 (you can use a .38 special round in a 357 revolver, but not the other way around)
Shotgun: 12 gauge, somewhat more common and powerful than 20 gauge. Buckshot(#00, called double-ought buck) or slugs are much more powerful than #5, #6, or finer birdshot (the higher the number, the smaller the pellets)
.22LR bullets(stands for 22 Long Rifle) may be the easiest to get. There are many semi-autos, revolvers, and rifles alike that use the .22LR caliber, and it's extremely cheap compared to other loads. However, it has significantly less range and stopping power than the larger calibers. You can use 22LR rounds effectively out to about 30 yards with a pistol, 100 yards with a rifle, tops.
(HINT: .22 is much quieter than its larger caliber brain-blasting counterparts)
Another way to protect yourself is armor. A football helmet and shoulder pads, along with some strong leather gloves could help prevent injury. But let's be practical, you are much more likely to have a leather jacket and some heavy pants. Whatever you can get to protect your hands and face would be helpful as well. Maybe your ski goggles and gloves? Something like a shield is extremely heavy and hard to carry, so forget about being a zombie gladiator(I know, crushing your hopes and dreams again).
Step 4: The Three Stages of Evacuation
We can categorize your chances of escape based on the "Three Stages of Evacuation," as shown in the photos...
1) The opportune moment: the roads may be a bit jammed, and the military is on its way, but you're ahead of the pack and you can still get out.
2) Last chance: OK, so there is absolute gridlock, people are giving up(and will soon be infected, eaten or shot - or all of the above), but you can still ram the roadblock or shoot your way through the backroads.
3) No hope whatsoever: So you decided to take a nap, and watch a movie, and then started packing? You might as well stay home at this point.
Step 5: Setting a Destination
You need to get to a place where there are few or no people, and the people there are ones you can at least sort of trust. Ideally, there's a lake house in the woods or a farm house in a field that's owned by your redneck brother, who has like a closet of guns and goes boar hunting with an AK every season.
This is also an opportunity to communicate with your loved ones - rendezvous with them before or after you arrive at your safe house. Hopefully, they can meet you there or at a point on the way to your destination. The longer they stay in the city... well you know. For no reason do you want to go back into that cesspool.
Step 6: Arrival
If the coast is clear, you should meet with your buddy and start securing the shelter. Limit entrances to your new safe house to only 2 or maybe 3 entry points. You should force invaders to bottleneck if they want to force entry into your house. But don't leave just 1 entrance, you will want to have a last resort escape exit. Board up most lower floor windows and shade the rest. You will want to be able to use second story windows as look-out points but you don't want to attract attention by letting light shine through if you have candles or lights going at night. Place weapons at accessible positions, so when the shit hits the fan, you can yell "Battle Stations!" and be ready to fight.
Continue on to read about saving your loved ones and post-apocalyptic survival...
Step 7: Saving Your Loved Ones
1) Are you sure they're not infected? If they are, give up. Sorry.
2) Are they safe somewhere else? Wait it out, you'll put both of you in danger by trying to be her 'knight in shining zombie blood.'
3) Can you realistically afford the resources(fuel, ammo) and dangers(zombies, military) by trying to save them?
The answers to these questions are most likely all NO. But you love her! Ok, stop whining. I'll tell you how to save your loved ones, but I cannot recommend it by any means. This is supposed to be a zombie survival guide and telling you to stroll your ass back into the city, the zombie-ridden, quarantined, just-kill-me-now territory is not a good move.
If you are able to contact the person you want to save, have them get to a low-zombie area that is easily accessible by road. You won't be able to get to them if they're trapped at the top of an office building filled with undead colleagues. Unless you are able to blast through 1000 zombies and avoid military attack, your only chance is for them to get to a rendezvous point. If they are unreachable by communication, I sure hope you set-up a meeting point ahead of time! If they are not there when you get to the rendezvous point, leave a note or some way of indicating that you are alive and mention a clue to your location: for example, your brother's name, not his address. Anyone could find that note! Keep in mind that every minute you linger in the city, the less likely you are to get out alive.
Read on to live the post-apocalyptic lifestyle...
Step 8: The Post-Apocalyptic Lifestyle
1) All members of the house hold should learn how to defend it from attack, or at least be able to assume a fetal position. As the saying goes "We must protect this house!" (thanks Under Armor). Instruct them in the use of guns or whatever you got, and make sure they won't have cold feet when it comes time to send the undead straight to hell.
2) You should keep shifts of rotating look-outs to watch out for zombies or looters. Staying inside might be better than outside, as zombies may just shuffle past if they don't see a nice afternoon snack watching them from the porch. If you are alone, be aware that you could be getting snuck up on at any time... setting up noise makers, like a bell on a string, or broken glass on a hard surface might be wise to alert you to walkers.
3) As time goes by, your food, water, and supply reserves will dwindle.
-Collect rain water using your gutters to funnel into a drum
-Forage food from nature
-Plant crops and reap what you sow!
-Figure out ways to recycle your goods and repurpose them.
Hopefully, as time goes by, the zombie hordes will die of starvation, and going on scavenging missions will be less dangerous. However, be ever vigilant of folks you encounter, and don't trust anyone, whether they be dead, undead or alive!