We already touched on the fact that zombies roaming the streets will clog calling lines and render cell phones almost worthless.  Now the Federal Communications Commission is getting in on the discussion with ten tips for communicating in an major disaster.

Here is a breakdown of the FCC recommendations with comments:

  1. No Non-emergency Calls – When your dead neighbor is trying to eat you, what call isn’t an emergency?
  2. Keep Calls Brief – Sure, it may be the last time you ever talk to you loved ones again, but don’t hog the line!
  3. Text Message Instead – When phones are down texting may be a viable option for a little while at least.
  4. Wait Between Calls – One failed call after another can clog the line, but in a panic will anyone wait to dial again?
  5. Have Charged Batteries – Chances are the power will be out, so your phone will only last as long as a single charge.
  6. Save Emergency Contacts – Police, fire, and medical responders will have their hands full, so why call?
  7. Don’t Talk and Drive – Not sure if pulling over is the best idea when you’re racing through an undead city.
  8. Have a Clear Plan – There is no doubt that proper planning and preparation is essential to all aspects of zombie survival.
  9. Forward Calls – You probably won’t be home, so FCC says forward those calls to your cell.  But your cell won’t work either!
  10. Own a Corded Phone – This is the best suggestion of the bunch.  Old school dial phones don’t require power to work.

Ultimately, there is no reliable way to communicate by phone in a zombie outbreak.  Texting will only be slightly more reliable than calling, and won’t when the lines become fully blocked.  A rotary land line is great, but unless you’re calling someone else with the same setup you’re likely to get an endless busy signal.

Assume that anyone you’re not standing next to will be outside of your communication zone.  Therefore, the only way to ensure you’ll be able to make contact with your group is to establish several primary and secondary meeting points ahead of time.

Plan or perish!


  1. Most fuel pumps require electricity to pump the gas. If electricity is out, you won’t get the gas. You could siphon from the storage tank if you have a garden hose and can break into the storage tank.

    I think watching the movie “The Stand” is a pretty good indication of problems that can happen on Z-day. Except, they had it lots better than we will.

    There will be no electricity, no cell phones, possibly no land line use either. After our earthquake, we couldn’t get land line usage.

    What about ham radios? I know nothing about those. Would those work?

  2. use a radio for communication. sure you may only get a couple miles unless you have a super powerful one like radio stations do but you may be able to get some one on the line.

  3. In some parts of the US (and possibly other nations with modern telecommunications networks), phone and internet communications over land lines are done with fiber optic technology. This means the both the sending location and receiving location must have working power for the local phone lines to work, since the data is transmitted by, essentially, blinking lights, and then processed by computers on the receiving end. So if the power goes out, the sending and receiving stations may not be functioning, though this probably depends on municipality.

    I’m pretty sure that some places still use the older copper wire system (which transmits power along with a signal), especially places where there isn’t a large volume of data traffic – rural and remote areas (farmland and wilderness areas) are likely using older systems. Places that have high volumes of data traffic – namely, many if not all urban and suburban areas – likely have modern fiber optic lines.

    Note that this also applies to cell phones, since your phone’s signal is actually fairly weak – it relies on a network of relay towers (which require power), that transmit data along land lines to other cell towers or the local phone switch station. If you want to truly remain wireless and mobile, and still retain your communications level, you’d probably need a satellite phone.

  4. I don’t plan on bothering with phones. While the lines here down under are buried a few feet in the ground and thus well-protected, and our phone towers could take a bomb blast and still work, the main issue is having power for my mobile. It holds battery well, but not forever.
    IMO, best communication tool? A Sharpie marker and a paint marker. The paint marker can draw on everything the Sharpie can’t, and there’s not much a Sharpie can’t draw on.

  5. I don’t think text messages will work when the cell phone network is clogged, at least not over here in Germany. In my experience, it’s next to impossible to send a text message on midnight, New Year’s Eve, when all people are phoning and messaging each other. Last time it took me hours and countless sending attempts to get a message through, all phone lines were busy. Surprisingly, it was easier to get a phone call through than to send a text message. In addition, text messages took hours before reaching their recipients, some arrived late next morning. Under normal circumstances, they reach their destination within seconds.

  6. Sod the phone. Get in a car and just drive! Petrol will be free everywhere. PS old school dial phones in the uk still have a 36 volt requirement for the ringer to work. YOU WOULDN’T KNOW ANYONE WAS CALLING IF THE POWER WAS OUT! :O

    • If the UK phone companies work like the US companies (which I bet they do) the for a dial phone can be supplied through the copper wires coming straight from the main phone line, because the phone company has a internal back-up power specifically set up so that if the entire power grid goes down people can still call each other. It’s a safeguard.

    • One slight thing though, petrol will be free everywhere, but your chances of finding any left in the pumps are gonna be pretty slim

      • and during the initial panic a gas station will be more risky than what its worth its better to keep some feul in your vehicle in a jerry can or your garage that way when it starts you can get that much farther before you need to stop

        best of luck

    • Phone boxes on the street in the uk used to get priority over housing so they should work the longest but as mentioned above not we’re going IP it’ll all be useless….

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