Palmdale, CA — Frank Downey’s beautiful Palmdale home is situated along the western side of the San Andreas Fault line, the boundary between two tectonic plates that seismologists say is long overdue for cataclysmic rupture. But fear not — should one occur, Frank knows exactly what to do in the event of a zombie outbreak.

“Preparation is key. If you don’t have the right supplies, you won’t make it past the first week,” he says, not referring to the aftermath of a magnitude-8 or above earthquake, when water lines and power grids would likely be severely damaged, posing a serious threat to survivors.

Frank Downey first took interest in zombie survival while watching AMC’s hit series, The Walking Dead. He found himself inspired by the wherewithal of the characters. “It made me wonder, could I survive a zombie uprising?” he says, practically straddling the line that could snap at any moment and trigger mayhem from Southern California all the way up the West Coast. “You wanna believe you’d be one of the few survivors.”


Evidence of his fandom can be seen throughout his house: heavy figurines almost too big for the mantles they rest on, hatchets loosely hanging on the walls; even a barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat in an all-glass display case — the bat a replica of one used by a main antagonist in the show. “Comic-Con,” he says, noticing my interest.

“You wanna have a weapon that has practical uses outside of self-defense,” says the 38-year-old car mechanic, potentially minutes away from being caught at the epicenter of a mega-quake and swallowed into the ensuing chasm. “Something like a double-bit ax can crack skulls, but it could also bust down a door in a pinch.” Frank also lists a machete and a sawed-off shotgun as effective weapons.

“I recommend everybody buy a copy of Max Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide. Really interesting read that covers all this.” Incidentally, many of the items on the Zombie Survival Guide’s supply list (non-perishable food, water, first aid kit, etc.) also appear on the CDC’s list of earthquake emergency supplies. It occurs to me to ask if he has bought any of the supplies. “Well, no. Zombies aren’t real.”

But if they were, we’d know who to call.