1. There are graveyard disturbances
Odd stories in the local newspapers of graves being disturbed and cemeteries vandalized should alert you to the possibility of a zombie virus spreading. Until another explanation for this activity is found try to get out of big cities and densely populated areas. Stay away from schools, hospitals and other places where you might come into contact with someone who is already infected.
Image credit: almostincognito from Flickr
2. Unexplained hospital cases on the rise
Unexplained medical conditions and paranormal phenomena are less likely to appear in local media but keep an eye open for cases of strange viruses, amnesiacs, John Does and rumours of people returning from the dead.
3. People disappearing from your community
If anyone from your community disappears in odd circumstances consider the possibility that they might have become infected with the virus or fallen prey to a stray zombie. If, at this stage, you are already prepared for an outbreak and are well armed it might be prudent to gather some friends and track down the cause of each disappearance. You might be able to prevent an outbreak from getting started.
4. An outbreak of unknown disease
Remember the media reaction to the SARS coronavirus pandemic and the spread of avian influenza? Be aware that an outbreak of zombie virus will prompt a similar reaction from the media – pay attention to information about the cause of the outbreak, the method of transmission, how contagious it is, and, most importantly, where the outbreak is centered. If it’s somewhere close to you, try and get overseas if airline travel is still permitted, or leave the state if you can.
Image credit: cheeseloaf from Flickr
5. The media begins to panic
Once an outbreak of zombie virus is confirmed (the government might try to call it something else, be on guard for this) all you are going to get from the media is panic and talking heads theorizing on the causes of the outbreak. If you’d been paying attention to earlier media activity you should be somewhere safe and defensible. Switch off the TV and start stocking up on food, water, first aid supplies, means of communications (radio, cellphones etc) and WEAPONRY.
6. The government tells you not to worry
Around the time that people are rushing around trying to prepare themselves (legally and by looting shops and warehouses) the state and national governments will be broadcasting messages to all citizens to stay calm, stay home, and rely on local emergency services such as police, fire brigades, hospitals, and civil defense. Ignore the government’s pleadings and concentrate on making sure the people you care about will be safe. By doing this you are freeing up local services to help the less-prepared.
7. Your local government bursts into activity
If you are in an affected area you’ll notice plenty of local government action – putting quarantine zones in place, mobilizing civil defense personnel, setting up of local communications systems, and establishing a local command center.
8. A state of emergency is declared
When local preparations are overwhelmed, the population becomes unmanageable, or the zombies form into hordes a state of emergency will be declared in your area. This suspends the normal functions of your government (whether it is at a local, federal or national level will depend on the severity of the outbreak) and allows emergency plans to be fully implemented, the military to take control, and civil liberties to be withdrawn. At this stage the military will start becoming involved, shifting soldiers into strategic positions, transporting supplies, and aiding local official in enforcing quarantine rules.
Image credit: mr.smashy from Flickr
9. Military control is enforced
To make army operations more effective, you may be transported to a holding zone with other uninfected people from your area. This is to streamline the zombie eradication process – with you out of the way the army doesn’t have to worry about civilian casualties. Whether you go willingly or not, do your best to retain your weapons and ammunition, for all you know the army may not be able to defend you and you’ll be relying on yourself again. Or be prepared to fend for yourself against the zombies and the military.
10. There are zombies in your street
If signs 1 to 9 have whooshed over your head as you sit in front of the computer screen, have a look out the window for zombies shuffling down your street in search of human flesh. If they’re there – it’s a sure sign that an outbreak of zombie virus has begun.