Public Health Offices Prepare for Zombie Apocolypse, You’re Next

Douglas County Public Health staff, along with other public health agencies in west central Minnesota, will participate in a training designed to prepare them and their family members for emergency situations, including a zombie apocalypse. 

This training, spurred by warnings from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to prepare for zombies, is not meant as a joke, but a rather silly spin on a serious call to Public Health employees and all Americans to get prepared for emergencies of all types.  It turns out preparing for a zombie attack mimics preparedness for a lot of other events like tornados, disease outbreaks and more.

First, here’s the low down on zombies.  The zombies I’m talking about are probably what you have in mind.  Many of us were introduced to zombies from movies like “Night of the Living Dead”, “Dawn of the Dead” or any of these numerous zombie films.  (Are there really that many?)  For those of you who live completely under a rock, click here to get caught up on zombies.  

Why zombies?  Following the tsunami disaster that hit Japan in March of this year, radiation leaks ensued from a Japanese nuclear plant.  Folks actually asked the CDC if zombies might be a concern.  Word spread and the CDC saw an immediate spike in traffic.  Soon, the CDC used the zombie apocalypse concerns to spur folks into thinking about individual and family preparedness. 

To this campaign, I say brilliant!  As an Emergency Preparedness Coordinator with Douglas County Public Health, I often have the tough task of making sure Public Health employees and the general public is prepared for emergency situations.  Why so tough you ask?  Well, many people don’t care to prepare for emergencies unless they’re absolutely imminent.  In many cases this leaves far too little time to adequately protect themselves and family members.  The threat (real or perceived) of a zombie apocalypse may be just what’s needed to kick start people into getting prepared for all emergencies.  After all, we know the more people have prepared, the better they will be able to handle real world emergencies swiftly and with confidence. 

Now it’s your turn to prepare your family.  Soak in these suggestions by the Rear Admiral Ali S. Khan, MD, MPH, Assistant Surgeon General and Director with the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response.

1. What kinds of emergencies are possible in your area, beyond assaults by brain-slurping undead?

2. Pick a place your family can regroup in case zombies invade your home, or you get evacuated because of a hurricane or flood. One right by your house and one outside your neighborhood is good, in case the undead are on a real rampage.

3. Identify your emergency contacts. This can include the police, fire department, and your local zombie response team. Include one out-of-state contact that you can call during an emergency to let the rest of your family know you are ok.

4. Plan an evacuation route. Remember, hungry zombies don’t stop until they’ve eaten brains and you don’t want them to be yours.  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, by the way, is also helpful when natural disasters strike and you have to take shelter fast.”

Well done Dr. Kahn! 

Finally, I might suggest checking out this short video which includes instructions on what to include in your zombie apocalypse kit to help you survive.  Keep in mind, if you’re not buying the zombie apocalypse thing, the kit will help you be prepared for a variety of other emergencies.  Better to be safe than sorry!

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