For four seasons, fans of AMC's The Walking Dead have watched Rick, Daryl, Carol, and their not-so-merry band of survivors fight for their lives in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. While the show's first season was about finding a safe haven, and ideally a cure for the infection that has transformed so many of the group's loved ones into flesh-eating beings, the current season sees them settling into the Kübler-Ross model's final stage of grief: acceptance. Take away all the zombies and what you've got with The Walking Dead is a story of survival. If you stop to analyze some of the key tactics the group has employed over the past 45 episodes, you might just learn a thing or two on the off chance you need to survive in the woods (or the even further off chance you come face-to-face with a reanimated corpse). Which is why we asked the Boulder Outdoor Survival School's program director Steve Dessinger and director of program development Laurel Holding to weigh in on the lessons we've learned – and the likelihood of enduring – on The Walking Dead.
Have an escape plan
Chances are you were taught this cardinal rule as a fire safety tip in grammar school. Yet even after being chased away from various shelters by a gaggle of zombies, The Walking Dead survivors don't seem to have made any contingency plans, or confirmed a group meet-up place in case of emergency. "If there is a potential for the home base to become unsafe, then it is important to have a ‘back-up home base,'" says Dessinger, though he cautions that this tactic, "is usually only going to work if you are in a reasonably long-term situation. It is important that your back-up spot is a place everyone has been to multiple times so that they can find it easily. There should be no potential obstacles on the way, say a river that could flood and become impassable."
Credit: Gene Page / AMC