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Experts say this is what you should do if there’s a zombie apocalypse

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Megan Murray
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Unsure of your plan of action under the threat of flesh-eating zombies? Read on… 

It’s a thought shared by literally anyone watching a film about a zombie apocalypse: what would I do if this actually happened?

We wouldn’t go quite so far to say it keeps us up at night, but in that moment, confronted with images of the blood-thirsty undead and a dystopian looking London, we’ll admit we’ve questioned what our first move would be.

One member of the stylist.co.uk team reckons her best chance of survival would be to fill the bath with water (all power typically vanishes in these situations, doesn’t it?) and destroy the stairs, committing to a life on the second floor of her house, hopefully out of reach from zombies.

Another feels confident that an underground bunker is the only way to go, with visions of being banished to a subterranean existence reminiscent of the life of Kimmy Schmidt.

Now, thankfully, the debate has been settled once and for all. Scientists have given it some thought and come up with a viable plan of action, just in case we do ever find ourselves in the middle of a zombie takeover (fingers crossed we don’t, though).

Pretending to be a zombie, a la Shaun of the Dead, is not advised 

Experts at Cornell University looked at the methods used in events of disease outbreaks (often the beginning of the problem according to zombie filled blockbusters) and created an interactive simulation to imagine the outcome.

Researchers set parameters to work out how the disease would spread and how fast the zombies would take over. They hypothesised that zombies would only be able to cover ground by walking, would need to pass infection to humans with a bite and wouldn’t die naturally.

They assumed that transportation would be almost immediately affected, meaning that it would be difficult for people to escape the effected area.

Using these variables and America as an example, the researchers created a working model which actually shows the rate in which zombies would take over if this ever was to happen. You can take a look at the model here, named Zombie Town USA, and pick your preferred area for a breakout and use controls to determine the kill to bite ratio and how long it takes zombies to walk a mile.

According to this model, researchers anticipate that a big city like London or New York would be the worst place to be, and advise that people should make their way to elevated and sparsely populated areas like the Rocky Mountains (or the Brecon Beacons, we guess). 

Zombie Town USA

Eureka Alert reports that lead researcher Alexander Alemi thinks isolated areas would be the safest place to be, but it wouldn’t take longer than 28 days for zombies to get bored of big cities and come looking.

Alemi says: “Given the dynamics of the disease, once the zombies invade more sparsely populated areas, the whole outbreak slows down–there are fewer humans to bite, so you start creating zombies at a slower rate.

“I’d love to see a fictional account where most of New York City falls in a day, but upstate New York has a month or so to prepare.”

Although the chances of a zombie invasion are pretty slim, Alemi predicts that his colleagues are thinking of advancing their model further, saying: “Given the time, we could attempt to add more complicated social dynamics to the simulation, such as allowing people to make a run for it, include plane flights, or have an awareness of the zombie outbreak.”

Do you feel better or worse knowing that scientists are feasibly testing out these theories? We’re not sure…

Images: iStock / Rex

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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