The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is getting creative these days. By way of getting people to comply with advance preparation practices for the kind of crazy natural disasters that inevitably plague us, they’ve taken the pop culture approach to getting the word out. And that means talking zombies.

Doubt the veracity of my claim? Then read this:

There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.

Yes, really. Because zombies are scary, just as forces of nature (like hurricanes) are scary. And preparing for a zombie apocalypse — if you thought one was imminent — seems like it would require much more planning than getting ready for a hurricane. But it really doesn’t. In fact, getting ready for both is the same, says the CDC:

Below are a few items you should include in your kit, for a full list visit the CDC Emergency page

  • Water (1 gallon per person per day)
  • Food (stock up on non-perishable items that you eat regularly)
  • Medications (this includes prescription and non-prescription meds)
  • Tools and Supplies (utility knife, duct tape, battery powered radio, etc.)
  • Sanitation and Hygiene (household bleach, soap, towels, etc.)
  • Clothing and Bedding (a change of clothes for each family member and blankets)
  • Important documents (copies of your driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate to name a few)
  • First Aid supplies (although you’re a goner if a zombie bites you, you can use these supplies to treat basic cuts and lacerations that you might get during a tornado or hurricane)

Once you’ve made your emergency kit, you should sit down with your family and come up with an emergency plan. This includes where you would go and who you would call if zombies started appearing outside your door step. You can also implement this plan if there is a flood, earthquake, or other emergency.

  1. Identify the types of emergencies that are possible in your area. Besides a zombie apocalypse, this may include floods, tornadoes, or earthquakes. If you are unsure contact your local Red Cross chapter for more information.
  2. Pick a meeting place for your family to regroup in case zombies invade your home…or your town evacuates because of a hurricane. Pick one place right outside your home for sudden emergencies and one place outside of your neighborhood in case you are unable to return home right away.
  3. Identify your emergency contacts. Make a list of local contacts like the police, fire department, and your local zombie response team. Also identify an out-of-state contact that you can call during an emergency to let the rest of your family know you are OK.
  4. Plan your evacuation route. When zombies are hungry they won’t stop until they get food (i.e., brains), which means you need to get out of town fast! Plan where you would go and multiple routes you would take ahead of time so that the flesh eaters don’t have a chance! This is also helpful when natural disasters strike and you have to take shelter fast.

Somehow, it’s comforting that the CDC is taking this approach to disaster preparedness. Given all we hurricane-area veterinarians do to ensure that our patients’ people are ready for their June through November storm responsibilities (yes, June 1st was the dreaded start date of hurricane season), it’s reassuring to know that someone else is making emergency preparation sound sexier than it usually does.

Dr. Patty Khuly

Pic of the day: Pittsburgh Zombie Walk 2010 by cory.cousins

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