Get Ready for the Zombie Apocalypse

Wikipedia defines “zombies” as “animated corpse[s] raised by magical means, such as witchcraft.” In modern parlance, these undead former friends walk endlessly, seeking out brains of the living on which to feast. If they eat your brains, you don’t die, entirely. You, too, become a zombie. Zombies are common in sci-fi/fantasy stories, comic books, and horror flicks — which, don’t worry, are all fiction. Throughout the history of mankind, there have been a grand total of zero zombie sightings confirmed by anything remotely resembling science.

But the U.S. government wants you to be prepared for the zombie pandemic anyway. Really, they even have posters.

Yes, those posters are real. (Zombies? Still not.) The Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response published them in 2011, along with this online resource-kit titled “Zombie Preparedness.” The site notes that “there are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example.” That leads to a blog post introducing the guide, which goes into some detail: “First of all, you should have an emergency kit in your house. This includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp.” Specifically, the CDC suggests including items like a utility knife, duct tape, soap, and some first aid supplies, but in the last case, offers some pause: “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 a hurricane.”

And really, it’s those types of emergencies — real ones — that the CDC is hoping to get you prepared for. The CDC’s “Zombie Task Force” was a PR stunt, and a very successful one at that. The entire production cost $87, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, and gained so much traffic that it crashed the CDC’s blog’s server. (The server has been brought back from the dead since.) Millions of people learned about emergency preparedness kits through the stunt…. and a few of them may have thought zombies were real, too. After a spate of five unrelated cannibal-ish attacks in the U.S. and Canada, rumors about a real zombie apocalypse became all the rage. David Daigle, the agency’s spokesperson, told the Huffington Post that there was nothing to worry about: “CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms).”

Bonus fact: A zombie apocalypse isn’t a real emergency because there’s no such thing as zombies. But what about a Hall and Oates emergency? You know, when you really need to listen a Hall and Oates song, but there’s no 8-track player around? This is also unlikely, sure, but there’s also a solution: a “Callin’ Oates” hotline. Just call (719) 26-OATES — (719) 266-2837 —  and choose one of seven Hall and Oates songs to listen to. (Want to experience it without having to risk accidentally prank calling someone? Here’s a YouTube video of it.)

From the ArchivesWaffling: A neat way the U.S. determines how bad a disaster is.

Related: “The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead” by Max Brooks, son of Mel Brooks and a former Saturday Night Live writer. 4.4 stars on a handful over 1,000 reviews.