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Watching a zombie movie with friends usually inspires outrageous hypothetical critiques from the consummate smarter-than-thou types, those who believe the story would have ended differently had they been in charge.
But those people don't often have a plan in mind, let alone one readied for an imminent disaster.
Nick Conrad, 31, is not one of those people.
An admitted zombie-media enthusiast, he also teaches classes about sustainable practices like hydroponics and home solar panels, which inspired his idea.
"I thought it was an interesting segue, like, 'Wow, I have these panels, grow a lot of my own food, have composting bin for food, and a water filtration system I'm working on. I'm pretty well set up for zombie apocalypse,' " he said.
So Conrad decided to incorporate the zombie survival class into the classes he already instructs in his Lakeview aparment. As an Eagle Scout, he recognized the zombie class would amount to basic survival advice, an "isolated skill set" that he believed he could offer people. The zombie premise was a result of Halloween's imminence and a love for those brain-dead walkers.
"I actually have sort of a zombie box myself, with some food, some unperishables and a first aid kit in there," he said.
Conrad provides attendees with information and checklists for necessary items, the biggest of which is something easily taken for granted.
"What I kind focus on is water. We overlook it. We turn on the knob, and it comes out," he said. "It's such a luxury. We can only go three days without water. We can go two weeks without food."
His biggest piece of advice if disaster strikes and you're unprepared? Find someone who is.
"I tell all my friends, if something big happens, come on over," he said. "I'll put you up, put you to work. Actually, medium-size groups are pretty ideal for survival situations, because everyone has their own skill set. Everyone brings something different to the table. You can protect yourself better."
Big groups would be less ideal, he said. Just look at "The Walking Dead."
"Dead" is one of his favorite zombie stories, but that once-large group of survivors have not fared well. What that show also portrays extremely well, Conrad said, is stressing that zombies would be sound-sensitive.
"Silence is an advantage," he said, so bikes, knives and other silent-but-functional materials would be at a premium.
Conrad stressed, however, that what he teaches in his class would not strictly be applicable to a comic-book dystopia, but to all kinds of extreme survival situations or natural disasters. He said the most important thing, and one that the class teaches, is simply to be prepared.
"Look at Japan with the massive tsunami a couple years ago. There were thousands of people without food or water for months. A massive blizzard, that could also knock things down for a while. A giant fire, a huge earthquake. Even something as simple as running out of gasoline, that's a huge thing that no one thinks about," he said. "Cars can't run. Trucks can't bring things. Generators start shutting down."
Preparedness can bring about a cooler head, which will, of course, prevail.
"People start panicking. That's the biggest issue. That's why you want to stay put. People are freaking out, and there's riots in the street. It's best to stay out of that."
Nick Conrad's advice on contentious zombie apocalypse topics:
Type of shelter: "Something with two exits, that's important. Windows aren't ideal at ground level. High and dry is a good way to say it. You want places with a defendable position, somewhere you're not going to get cornered, because then you're dead. My apartment is good, because it's on the third floor, there are stairs, and you could buck off the stairwell outside if you need to. I have a bunch of wood lying around my apartment, not on the floor, but around--that could easily be used to board up the doors. Places with heavy doors, places designed to be secure, like banks with vaults, those are the best."
Weapons: "This is one of the things I focus on, one of the fun parts. A lot of people think firearms are the best thing; I disagree with that. If I have a gun, I'll use it with no other choice. But weapons like knives, blades, bows and arrows, they're super easy to make. You can manufacture any solid weapon, and those are silent, reusable. You'll never run out of ammunition."
To stay or to go: "Fight or flight is what I call it. I do cover it in my class. That's kind of a touchy issue. The way I pitch it is you have to decide on what to do as a group. I actually have a spreadsheet breakdown, if you have material and supplies, and a good group, you should probably stay. If you're running out of supplies and a small group, something's gonna change soon, you should probably go. Smaller groups are easier for travel."
Sign-up link: http://thegreensuite.tumblr.com/classes
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