Most survival experts will tell you that accessing and maintaining safe shelter is of the utmost importance in a catastrophic event . Shelter is arguably higher on the survival priority list than water, food, communication, and just about everything else.

A working group from the Zombie Research Society has developed a set of criteria for sizing up the pros and cons of any undead shelter. Named the DSM Scale, this easy system looks closely at three primary areas:

  1. Defensibility – What are the location’s natural defensive advantages? What weapons can be found or created therein? What steps can be taken to eliminate vulnerabilities?
  2. Sustainability – How much food and water is safely available? What essential supplies are stocked and ready? What threat does the surrounding environment pose both now and in time?
  3. Mobility – Are there a number of adequate escape routes for safe retreat? What transportation options does the location provide? Are the essential weapons and supplies able to be made portable?

While a discount retailer like Costco may score high in defensibility, with available weapons and almost no vulnerabilities, its sustainability rating takes a hit because of the extreme threat presented by the surrounding area. In a zombie outbreak big box stores will draw a desperate and violent crowd, quickly becoming deadly places.

By contrast, a suburban home may have large windows and be difficult to defend, but if upgrades can be easily made, a supply of canned food and a backyard pool could allow for a period of relative safety. Of course, when it inevitable comes time to move, the water in the pool can’t be carried along without portable containers and advanced planning.

What is your chosen zombie shelter, and how does it rate on the DSM Scale?


  1. I live in the uk and I can pretty much be at the coast in 20 minutes by car or 2-4 hours on foot (depending on the terrain and obstacles). finding a medium size boat (a boat that can be crewed by 2-4 people as a starter). anchor the boat out at sea and cut the engines to save fuel.
    all boats have, medical supplies, food and water to last at least a month, electricity, radio communications, and the flexibility to relocate.
    I thought it was good as the only threat would be piracy, and storms. eventually your supplies would run out and you could use the dingy life boats (modern ones with the engines and storm proofing. if not I cant imaging it would be too hard to find one along the coast.) and use them to go do recovery missions along rivers and canals without compromising your main base (the ship).
    when your done looting an area or the area becomes to hostile, just turn the engines on and get out of dodge.
    it seems perfect to me, let me know if I’ve missed any flaws.

  2. A school is a well-off place to go, particularly because noone would go there in a panic. the high school 1.5 miles from my house has 3.5 floors on it, stocks food for weeks in advance, as well has areas around it for plundering and such. It contains a wood and welding shop, as well as communication tools. the library is placed away from the school a story up and the only access from outside the library is a bridge from the main building. this can be blocked off from the mani building easy enough. an escape route can be formed though the fire exits on the bottom floor.

    • That place definitely has it’s pros and cons.If you go there, there will be no way out besides the library and if zombies get in then there will be no exits. Remember, you need multiple exits.

  3. no place is safe, only safer. But i would suggest somewere no one would want to go. A warehouse. In my case, a US naval vessel. Especially since im going to spend most of my life on one. It is basiclly a floating city. If you find one your set for a good long while.

  4. I was thinking Liberty Island, where the Statue of Liberty is located. It would most likely be shut down in the event of a disaster, and is on an island. I’m not sure if any boats would still be there, but if they were it would be an added bonus. There are plenty of seagulls to eat, and there are lawns for planting stuff on. There is also a giant fort on the island. A drawback would be a lack of clean water (NY water is not clean) and its proximity to NYC.

  5. But your highschool will be tempted by everybody. There will probably be other kids in there too. Schools, hospitals, malls are to avoid in big towns or cities (imo).

    • ya but I am not in a large city the population is about 10,000 separated between three large schools with shops and other auto and welding shops it would be about 3,000 per large building and the rest dispersed throughout (i am also in northern Ontario so at most we would have to hold up for 8 months until winter sets in ) i also have an Attic with a pull down latter and a 9 foot ceiling below it in case of emergency and if worse comes to worse i will just swim to a small island with no inhabitants about half a mile off shore….that or camp in the beer store 😉

    • also our mall is barren everyone will go to wall mart and Canadian tire

  6. my high school has everything necessary welding equipment cars buses wood shop large frozen and caned food stock the beer store across the street two stories id say your pretty well off in there

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