Prepare. You can't go around being paranoid but you can prepare yourself. People iving in the Urban areas are going to be much more at risk for anything from pandemic to being robbed at gunpoint. The odds being what they are the more people around the more shit that is likely to happen to people in the cities. Many folks can't pick up and leave but if you can your convenience of everyday things may not be as good but your quality of life can be better. Some folks just aren't meant to be in the boonies. I call them zeds. If its your turn to be a zed there really isn't a whole lot you can do about it. A mob against one guy in a corner means the one guy is lunch.
Other then breaking camp and getting out of dodge there are many ways to prepare. Become proficient with weapons of your choice. People believe that certain weapons are illegal when they are not. Sound suppressors for firearms are LEGAL. Yes, they are legal. you've just got to pay for a tax stamp and wait up to 3 months. You have to let the ATF know when you're going to leave your state with the item. The same goes for select fire carbines, rifles and subguns with full auto as a choice. Tax Stamp, waiting period and monitoring movement of the item purchased. In common everyday life this can be a hassle. In a z-poc who gives a shit. I'm no fan of full auto. I see it as a waste of ammo and too many people see video games and movies and think they can pick up any gun and it will work in their hands. Most of them likely couldn't find the safety. If you pick a weapon today make sure that you have the proper training and paperwork for TODAY and that you are within the LAW. Tomorrow more people then you may depend on what you have.
Enough on weapons. Let's talk personal security. See things!!! Know the escape routes from your building/office/apartment/home. Know these routes and then find 2nd, 3rd and 4th choices. Think outside the box. Yes, we all know to have a bug out bag with needed gear. You can toss it in a back seat and roll out. Can you pack it out? Can you pack it on a bicycle? Can you ride a horse? Can you ride a motorcycle or an ATV. There is more to this stuff then turning a key and rolling out. Can you walk at about 4 miles per hour after running a mile? Some people can't and will have no choice but to Bug in. Is your place the best spot to bug in? Can you monitor all entrances? Do you know how to set up cameras? Can you hook them up to a monitor. Do you have an alternate power source? Power is very important if you are bugging in. Will CURRENT local ordinance allow you to have a generator for emergency use? Will current local ordinance allow you to burn wood? Most won't. Learn what you can and cannot do where you are located. Much of what you will be able to do in a SHTF ZPoc depends on what you can prepare for now at this moment.
You've got to mentally prepare for the most horrendous, fucked up disaster anyone can think of besides total global explosion. Then nothing matters anyway. Most people can't handle it if their 4g goes down or they lose cell coverage. Can you imagine them seeing their family dying and rising and trying to eat them? Their entire world entirely falling apart. No hope of their life ever returning to how it once was. Many people would kill themselves. They would not be able to cope. There is a recent thread titled psychology of the Z-Poc. Sociopaths and Psychopaths would do well until their pathology came out again. Can you deal with that? Can you kill a living human to survive. there is no way to practice that and stay free.
HOW DO YOU AVOID BEING TURNED IN THE FIRST WAVE? The same way you avoid being turned in the second wave and third wave and so on. The same way you avoid being robbed, assaulted and taken advantage of. Don't be a victim. Don't put yourself in a situation where you don't have some sort of plan. Some plans can go to shit. When it comes right down to it, YOU DON'T QUIT. You fight and fight until there is no more fight.
It isn't about getting around it. It is about preparing for disaster. When it comes to weapons today's society has scrwed itself by vilifying weapons. You've got to stay within the law in today's society or you do yourself no favors. You've got to stay within the laws that are currently in place or you just screw yourself. I know because I've been a cop since 1990. Most people where I work know I prep. Everyone knows I have an FFL and I buy and sell guns. I buy and sell knives and other tactical and camping gear too. I do it on a small scale. Why do you think I do this? To prepare. A Z-Poc is the most unlikely disaster we'll have to deal with but anything you can use in a hurricane, flood, fire, drought, economic collapse, civil unrest, et al can be used in a Z-Poc. We may be weapons heavy but its better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it.
A major problem about prepping is operational security. People talk. Look at this new show about preppers on Discovery or History Channels. They went out and found some fringe types to show kooks on TV. Most preppers are everyday people. When you bring attention to yourself you get different reactions. Some people just think you're a kook. There are some who think you are dangerous to the status quo. If you are stockpiling weapons that are illegal or questionable you will come under the prying eyes of the authorities. Now in the midst of a Z-Poc there is no bad weapon but in the common everyday world there are no bad weapons either but if you don't possess something legally then you screwed the pooch. In that first wave you can be defenseless. Hell, you can be in prison.
Know the laws, know the cops, know the agents. Talk to them and get the skinny on what can and can't be had in your locale. Knowledge, as in anything else, is the best way to keep yourself and your people safe.
I think the reason they love to make it seem like lots of people in America are going to be infected is because we have large cities and a high population. The town I live in has a LOT of people but we're aren't considered a city - more a village.
I think the best way to stay safe is to be smart, don't panic and be prepared. Get some basic training now - how to clean and shoot a gun. Learn to use a bow or even a sling shot and some ball bearings (yeah I know not very acurite - but in a pinch it can work.) Plan escape routes, not just from your house/apartment. Where do you want to get to? Is there a safe place for you to get to? If yo don't have a car what alternatives do you have? Do you have kids? Are you set with them?
Every apartment I have lived in I have thought about a way to escape from it and its location. The one I just moved from although on the 4th floor of the apartment building, it did provide a slight advantage being higher up. But it wasn't as secure as I would like.
My current apartment is on the 2nd floor of a house, in the rear with a private doorway. 2 sides are protected by a 10ft straight drop down, which would leave only 2 sides to be watched. The house itself is stone and stucco. Its at the beginning of a dead end street, the reason its a dead end is because the local river runs through town, theres a bridge but its not crossable. With a small enough boat you can float down to the marsh lands or the ocean. (I think if you have small kids a boat is your best bet - if they are small and make a lot of noise they have to be somewhere that the noise won't carry.)
Another thing I have been doing is really looking at where I work. If something were to happen where could I get to fast? Is there a safe place? A lockable door? I really started thinking about it after we had some very heavy flooding and part of my job was covered with about a foot of water. Since I have a personal locker I have been putting some canned goods away and very basic supplies - flashlight, batteries, rope.
I carry a first aid kit on me at all times - one I put together myself. I have been looking for a good book on medications and their uses. Also learning about what plants grow around town so I can be useful to myself and my family.
So there are lots of things that can be done, if your smart and think outside the box. Be aware, be safe, be proactive :)
on a less political note i feel like now a days more and more people are flocking to the zombie apoc. genre and its a fad now to hav your own "infection plan." i think that if one were to ever happen the casualties would be less than what movies and comic books say.simply because we have watched them and have read them. and we know what to expect therefore the "shock factor" will be less and the time to get over that intial shock will be less thus improving our ability to survive.