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CDC's Advice on Living With the Living Dead
May 18, 2011 3:32 PM   Subscribe

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Matters Blog issues advice on Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse. Preppers, unite! (Single-link zombie preparedness awareness campaign. That is all.)
posted by MonkeyToes (35 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
In the wake of nuclear meltdowns, tornadoes, flooding and tsunamis, major organizations have to resort to zombies to make their point about emergency readiness? That said, flamethrowers and other defensive measures are absent from the prep list.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:35 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Page won't load for me, and pings on blogs.cdc.gov are timing out.
posted by Gator at 3:43 PM on May 18, 2011


You know, I was thinking about it the other day, and I figured out the reason for the whole zombie apocalypse craze : it's because, unlike other movie monsters, they present a completely physical challenge. Nothing supernatural about them. No "the power of Christ compels you" or anything like that. If you can overcome the physical challenge of the zombies, then feasibly, you can win. So then we put on our engineering caps and think, "okay -- if I had thousands of zombies rushing at me, how would I survive?"

Zombies are not a supernatural threat; they are merely a problem to solve. Sort of like throwing lots of transactions at a web service. It's really a question of scalability.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:46 PM on May 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm having the same problem, but still have the page open in another window.

Snip:

"In movies, shows, and literature, zombies are often depicted as being created by an infectious virus, which is passed on via bites and contact with bodily fluids. Harvard psychiatrist Steven Schoolman wrote a (fictional) medical paper on the zombies presented in Night of the Living Dead and refers to the condition as Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome caused by an infectious agent. The Zombie Survival Guide identifies the cause of zombies as a virus called solanum. Other zombie origins shown in films include radiation from a destroyed NASA Venus probe (as in Night of the Living Dead), as well as mutations of existing conditions such as prions, mad-cow disease, measles and rabies.

"The rise of zombies in pop culture has given credence to the idea that a zombie apocalypse could happen. In such a scenario zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way. The proliferation of this idea has led many people to wonder “How do I prepare for a zombie apocalypse?”

"Well, we’re here to answer that question for you, and hopefully share a few tips about preparing for real emergencies too!"
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:48 PM on May 18, 2011


Aha! Reprinted here. Not the CDC blog, but has text and pictures from it. [Sorry for the party foul...it loaded for me before I hit 'Post,' argh.]
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:50 PM on May 18, 2011


I'm thinking of a Federal agency that could stand to have its budget cut. Can you guess which one it is?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:57 PM on May 18, 2011


Page won't load for me, and pings on blogs.cdc.gov are timing out.

It has begun.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:58 PM on May 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm thinking of a Federal agency that could stand to have its budget cut. Can you guess which one it is?

I vote Defense, they've made multiple video games.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:01 PM on May 18, 2011 [19 favorites]


I figured out the reason for the whole zombie apocalypse craze : it's because, unlike other movie monsters, they present a completely physical challenge.

I've always liked the idea that one reason we find zombies so deeply scary (or maybe just interesting) because they are the literal embodiment of death; our own disgusting, shambling, groaning mortality chasing us down.

If anyone wants me, I'll be looking for a decent cricket bat. Maybe a Cornetto.
posted by fight or flight at 4:03 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not worried.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:05 PM on May 18, 2011


I always thought the zombie Tng was cause it forces you tnk, well in the case of a rampaging horde of flesh eating shabolics, how would I escape from this apartment/supermarket/mall/farmhouse/bar it's pure thought experiment.

And my plan still remains: Go To Melissas cause swords don't need reloading.
posted by The Whelk at 4:07 PM on May 18, 2011


For everything else, there's ZombieSquad:

"Zombie Squad is an elite zombie suppression task force ready to defend your neighborhood from the shambling hordes of the walking dead. We provide trained, motivated, skilled zombie extermination professionals and zombie survival consultants. Our people and our training are the best in the industry."
posted by anateus at 4:09 PM on May 18, 2011


I'm thinking of a Federal agency that could stand to have its budget cut. Can you guess which one it is?

I vote for the Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation. Dude's been dead for 40 years, and we're still giving him money?!
posted by Celsius1414 at 4:10 PM on May 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm thinking of a Federal agency that could stand to have its budget cut. Can you guess which one it is?

Whenever I hear a statement like that, I become pretty confident that the speaker will not be talking about medicare or social security.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:10 PM on May 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Well, we’re here to answer that question for you, and hopefully share a few tips about preparing for real emergencies too!"

This blog post doesn't strike me as a terrible waste of resources. For the price of getting a midlevel worker, PR person, or intern to write up a blog post and gather some links, they managed to educate more people in the country about how to respond to infectious disease outbreaks.

Meanwhile, as others have noted, the DoD has funded the creation, promotion, distribution, hosting, and continual refinement of several online combat games, purely as a move. The cost of writing this blog post has gotten the CDC more attention, and gotten decent emergency advice into the hands of more snarky internet people, than most other ideas I can think of.

The lesson I take away from it is that the CDC needs more money for its web hosting.
posted by verb at 4:29 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I thought that the CDC's plan in the event of zombie outbreak was to explode ostentatiously, but ultimately impotently, taking half of Atlanta with it.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:29 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for trying to give us hope, CDC, but once it's gotten into the garden it's too late.
posted by rewil at 4:52 PM on May 18, 2011


"You know, I was thinking about it the other day, and I figured out the reason for the whole zombie apocalypse craze : it's because, unlike other movie monsters, they present a completely physical challenge."

No way, dude; it's because they're about death that isn't death. Monster movies are all about cultural anxieties, from nuclear energy/weapons run amok to sexuality (male or female) to whatever. Zombies are dead-but-not-dead, which reflects a lot of our end-of-life concerns with the extension of life and breathing on machines and living decades with terminal illnesses and so forth. The dead that will not die.

As end-of-life issues get less culturally contentious, you watch the zombies fade out in favor of something else.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:01 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nothing but Mummies I tell you.
posted by The Whelk at 5:07 PM on May 18, 2011


My nearest English pub doesn't have an old Winchester. What should I do?
posted by qvantamon at 5:11 PM on May 18, 2011


Donate one, along with fully stocked rifles and lots of wall mounted machetes and hidden stocks of food and water.
posted by The Whelk at 5:21 PM on May 18, 2011


From the CDC blog's comments (loaded! finally!), on appropriate weaponry: "It really depends on the zombies. If they’re Romero/Brooks, slow, lumbering zombies, a baseball bat will work just fine. Not so if they’re the Zack Snyder fast zombies. Running zombies change everything."
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:31 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Remember, guys, cardio. Cardio and double taps.
posted by Justinian at 5:46 PM on May 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


It works.
During the bird flu scare, my mother called to ensure I had the appropriate things should it turn into an outbreak. I had not in fact made any plans to deal with bird flu, but I did have this zombie attack survival kit on my wall.

And it turns out that the stuff you need to survive without getting infected during a zombie uprising is also the stuff you need to survive without getting infected during a bird flu outbreak. (Well, the bird flu stuff is actually a subset of the zombie stuff. You probably wouldn't really need the meat cleaver if it was only bird flu, for example. Unless you wanted to feast on delicious flu-killed chicken.)
So my mum was happy, and I looked like an organized and with-it and together individual.
So I was pretty chuffed about that.

It also felt... appropriate... one day when I woke up feeling terrible, and eventually started wondering through the delirium if I maybe have a fever. I tried to figure out how to take my temperature. Oh... I know... the nearest thermometer is the one in the zombie kit.
So I shuffle and stumble along, half blindly, moaning, towards the zombie kit to try to save myself.
(And in fact, I did indeed make it to live and see another day!)

Anyway, as you might have seen in the mefi store, you can now buy zombie survival gear online, which is just a fancy way of saying that I made my kit graphics available to spruce up regular gear :-) but regardless, I definitely recommend some kind of zombie prep - my guests are often delighted to discover that their host is thoughtful enough that their safety and wellbeing (in the event of zombie attack) has been given the proper consideration :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 6:17 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Zombies are also popular because they're the perfect monster.
- They're almost but not quite invincible.
- Like the terminator, you can outrun them, but they keep coming and don't need to rest. The tortoise and the hare - except you are the hare, and you know who always wins the race in the story.
- On their own, you can best them in combat, but their nature is to slowly multiply beyond that point.
- Even beyond that point, they don't think, so you might still be able to best them with wits, but their nature is to slowly multiply beyond that point as well...
- They can convert your closest friends and loved ones, making even your family an unwavering enemy - a limitless source for drama.
- They grow stronger when you grow weaker - every loss to your side is a gain to theirs - a double blow, so the smallest actions can carry huge consequences.
- The hugest infestation can grow from the smallest unnoticed case, so the only ways to succeed long-term are likely to be drastic DRASTIC measures.
- The concept is so simple it can be immediately grasped, and disease resonates at a deep level.

It's very difficult to invent a monster that hits so many balls out of the park with such effortless simplicity. It's no wonder that zombies (like vampires) are an undying classic.
posted by -harlequin- at 6:39 PM on May 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's no wonder that zombies (like vampires) are an undying classic.

I see what you did there.
posted by Justinian at 7:13 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, zombies movies are really easy to film. You don't need an excuse or reason, you don't need back story, you can just say zombies and then place your characters in whatever situation.

You could probably do a decent zombie horror thing without ever showing them.
posted by The Whelk at 7:26 PM on May 18, 2011


Also, someone should do a FPP about timeless classic monsters from other cultures that hold a similar level of fascination as zombies do in western culture. I think that could be a fascinating subject.
posted by -harlequin- at 8:26 PM on May 18, 2011


If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak.

Mmmhmm. Good luck with that, dudes and dudettes. I saw the end of the first season of The Walking Dead.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:33 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Clearly the only way to survive an Atlanta zombie outbreak is to have no distinguishing personality whatsoever.
posted by The Whelk at 9:19 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's fine, CNN is headquartered in Atlanta.
posted by Justinian at 9:37 PM on May 18, 2011


Zombies are our fear of mortality made manifest. They're also the fear of the crowd, of the mob, of the masses - more relevant than ever in a world filled with social networking sites. They also work really well in videogames, since you can kill them without guilt.

I'm a bit over zombies, to be honest. Red Dead Redemption deserved DLC that was about the West, not zombies. Dead Rising is fun but that's spiced up with human enemies.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:47 PM on May 18, 2011


I can't remember the city (Pittsburgh? Baltimore?) that announced a few years back that they had run an official emergency drill for a zombie outbreak. The explanation was, essentially, that one of the common aspects of an emergency is that it involves stuff you didn't see coming. So if they could run something kind of implausible like a zombie outbreak through their processes and still get a good result, then they could be confident they have a robust system.

This works the same way. In fact, one of the CSC badges even says just that: "If you're ready for a zombie apocalypse, then you're ready for any emergency." (Apparently the CDC has social media badges/widgets. Who knew?)
posted by Karmakaze at 6:45 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm thinking of a Federal agency that could stand to have its budget cut. Can you guess which one it is?

Are you kidding? It is the job of the CDC's Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response to spread awareness of how to prepare for and respond to disasters. For the minimal effort of writing this up, they got tens of thousands of people to their site to read things like: "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."

As far as I'm concerned, this is fantastic, creative work and I am thrilled to see them doing things like this with my tax dollars.
posted by EmilyClimbs at 1:34 PM on May 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh... I know... the nearest thermometer is the one in the zombie kit.
So I shuffle and stumble along, half blindly, moaning, towards the zombie kit to try to save myself. (And in fact, I did indeed make it to live and see another day!)


Awesome! :-D
posted by darkstar at 4:13 PM on May 19, 2011


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