Have you ever thought about what you will do when the ‘undead’ rise from hell? When hordes of mindless zombies start chasing you? While a zombie apocalypse is highly unlikely to happen (or is it?), there are some practical reasons to plan for a zombie apocalypse.
What is a zombie apocalypse?
Rise of the walking ‘undead’
Braiiiiiins! Zombies are one of the most popular sub-genres of horror movies and stories, thanks to the works of American filmmaker George A. Romero. Unless you’ve been living under a rock or really hate zombie movies or never seen someone dressed as a zombie for Halloween, most people have some idea what these vile, rotting and ravenous monsters are like. Zombies are fictional creatures that have been “re-animated” after death.
According to the zombie myth, when a dead person comes back to life, starts walking, attacks the living and eats people’s brains, they are called zombies. They are also commonly known as the walking corpses, the undead, or the living dead. However, the myth of these walking corpses emerged from Haitian folklore, where a dead person can be reanimated through voodoo rituals.
While the 1985 non-fiction book The Serpent and the Rainbow by author and ethnobotanist Wade Davis focused on the Haitian zombie myths, the modern day zombie pop culture was popularized by the 1968 film Night of the Living Dead by George A. Romero.
Zombies were made even more popular by movies, games and books like Dawn Of The Dead, 28 Days Later, Train To Busan, Resident Evil, The Zombie Survival Guide, and World War Z.
Most of these movies and stories tend to have a similar tone – when the living dead rises, human civilization crumbles in weeks with only a few survivors left… trying to make it to a safe zone through the chaos, rabid teeth and betrayal from fellow survivors.
While this whole zombie apocalypse scenario is presented very dramatically and terrifyingly, some real fears, threats and dangers are involved in these stories. But can the dead rise from their graves in reality, and not just in fiction? What about a zombie apocalypse in real life? Should you plan for a catastrophe like this for real?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) thinks you should plan for a zombie apocalypse.
Yup, the CDC believes that planning for the rise of the undead can actually be helpful and useful in practical, real-life scenarios, not just in movies. Let’s find out why.
Why you should plan for a zombie apocalypse
In 2011, the CDC started a tongue-in-cheek campaign and posted a blog post on the importance of preparing for a zombie apocalypse. The educational yet entertaining post focused on the pop culture of zombies to spread awareness about the importance of being prepared for disasters and emergencies.
While the campaign has officially retired now, the CDC believed that preparedness for the zombie apocalypse can actually help you save your life and the lives of your loved ones during real life disasters, such as storms, earthquakes, mass shootings, terrorist attacks etc.
Even a graphic novel titled “Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic” was published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The fictional work, presented in the form of a booklet, was basically a guide to survive a zombie apocalypse, but focused on the importance and necessity of being prepared for any emergency.
The pamphlet even included a zombie apocalypse emergency plan and preparedness checklist that can help you get ready for surviving a real disaster.
Sounds kind of stupid, doesn’t it? Well, being prepared for something as stupid as a zombie apocalypse is way better than not being prepared for any disaster, right? Experts believe that you can practically use your zombie apocalypse survival plan to stay safe during an actual catastrophe like an earthquake, tsunami, hurricane or even a nuclear attack.
According to researchers, the CDC campaign’s humor was a “compelling way to teach young adults how to prepare for emergencies and prompt them to get ready,” for real disasters.
The practical need for a zombie apocalypse emergency plan
While a zombie apocalypse may not seem like a real threat (never say never though), preparing for something as unusual and extreme as a zombie uprising can help stay prepared for a wide range of very real threats and disasters.
According to Rear Admiral Ali S. Khan, MD, the former Director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (PHPR) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, preparing for an imaginary zombie apocalypse can help you survive different disasters that have a high chance of occurring in real life, like a hurricane.
Standard disaster procedures are useful in any disaster situation, whether you are trying to survive zombies or a viral pandemic. Such standard safety precautions may include –
- Non-perishable food items that can be eaten regularly
- 1 gallon of water per person per day
- Sanitation & hygiene supplies like towels, soap, and household bleach
- Prescription and non-prescription medications
- First aid supplies for basic injuries and cuts (not for zombie bites though, no cure for that…yet)
- Necessary documents like passport, birth certificate, driver’s license etc
- Tools & supplies like a battery powered radio, knife, tape, etc
- A safe place for you and your family
Now that you know how to plan for a zombie apocalypse, you can not only learn how to survive a zombie apocalypse, but any natural or man-made disaster for that matter. The fact is, zombies are just one of the many possibilities that can lead to an apocalypse.
While the rise of the undead is as likely as an alien invasion, it does not mean you shouldn’t use this fun excuse to develop emergency plans with your family and loved ones. We don’t usually think about planning for disasters.
So if having a practical plan for a zombie apocalypse makes you prepared for and keeps you safe from real dangers, then it is undoubtedly helpful no matter how silly it may sound. Matt Mogk, founder of the Zombie Research Society, explains “If you’re ready for zombies, you’re ready for anything.”
In fact, one 2021 study concludes that while the CDC guidelines blog post was about an “unnatural (and artificial) disaster,” the intention to focus on zombies was to encourage readers to prepare for natural disasters.
“Well, a zombie apocalypse is not going to happen. Therefore, we do not need to prepare for it but at least we can use Dr Ali Khan’s suggestion to prepare for another pandemic or even just a simple epidemic,” explains the study.
4 Reasons to plan for a zombie apocalypse
Here are some other practical reasons why you should prepare for a zombie apocalypse (or any other natural disaster for that matter):
1. You get out of your comfort zone
No one likes to think about disasters, let alone prepare for it. When you decide to prepare for an emergency or hordes of zombies coming after you, you will need to stop being lazy and put in some effort. Not only will it help you get out of your “I am happy in my comfort zone” mindset, it will also make you more physically active and mentally shaper.
2. You build a safer home
In the 2007 zombie movie I Am Legend, Will Smith’s character Dr. Robert Neville zombie-proofs his house so that the masses of the undead cannot infiltrate his little home. But in your case, it can mean making your house fire-proof, earthquake-proof and flood-proof. Taking these precautions can make your home safer and ensure that the building endures less structural damage when a natural disaster actually hits.
3. You make your loved ones feel safer
In case the zombies manage to enter and ransack your house, you need to have a plan B in place. You need to know how to keep your family and loved ones safe.
In a practical sense, it means keeping emergency contact details handy, having a safe place where you can take shelter during an emergency, having enough food and water stored and planning for evacuation routes. Having a proper emergency plan, whether for a zombie outbreak or an actual calamity, can save your life and the lives of your loved ones.
4. You become less afraid
Seeing a rotting zombie running towards you while gnashing its teeth can undoubtedly be scary. But when you are prepared for a zombie apocalypse in a practical way, you can better cope with the stress, anxiety and fear of having to survive a disaster.
Any kind of calamity or emergency can seriously affect our mental health and can lead to anxiety, depression and trauma in the worst case scenario. Planning for a zombie outbreak can help you lessen real-world uncertainties and reduce your fear of the unknown by knowing how to be safe, whether in case of a zombie attack or a hurricane.
Welcome to Zombieland
While thinking and planning about a zombie apocalypse can surely be fun, it can seriously help you to better cope with real threats and dangers in life. Yes, we know that there are no such things as zombies nor will there ever be a zombie outbreak in reality. But we do know that natural disasters and terrorist attacks do oocur unfortunately and it can claim numerous innocent lives.
Preparing for a disaster is never silly or stupid, no matter what your reason may be. And in case those damn zombies ever start walking, you can actually have the high ground and say “I told you so.”
So stay prepared. Stay safe. And don’t let those freakin’ zombies bite.