Preparing for a Zombie Apocalypse

NP: ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ In Our Midst

By James W. Astrada


Over the course of the last two years, the CDC and U.S. government have been hinting on and off on how the public should be preparing for the dreaded ‘zombie’ epidemic. At first, the CDC only made reference to this phenomenon to see how the public would respond initially. After deeming the whole incident as merely entertainment, the scare died off. Last week on Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a new warning for the zombie epidemic yet again and the steps needed for preparation.

The cover story for this alert was to give citizens proper steps on preparing for hurricanes, earthquakes, pandemics and terrorist attacks. The campaign’s motto “the zombies are coming” was considered a public health announcement to stock up on supplies, batteries, medication, and even referenced the guidelines of the 2009 movie Zombieland for means of escape. For the online seminar, health officials decided that using zombies for an emergency situation would inform citizens to prepare for “anything” in the years ahead. Zombies have always been a popular icon since the emergence of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead classic. Even with Michael Jackson’s thriller episode where zombies dance the night away has a following that is held every year by local citizens. With such a media and cult following surrounding the zombie phenomena, would people react in fear if they actually encountered a real zombie or pass it off as entertainment?

Usually when something as bizarre as the walking dead is introduced, movies and media have an influential edge on how to stir the public in the direction they choose to. It could be that due to the manner that zombies have been portrayed over the last 70 years has some believing that it could be real versus those who only attribute them as Halloween costumes or horror movie icons. If and when some virus does reanimate the dead into vicious cannibals bent on eating the living, one can be sure that dancing alongside of them might not be an option.

In an effort to alert the population on emergency, utilizing the zombie epidemic as a social media campaign might not be such a good idea. Just the excuse that this whole idea was to prepare for hurricane impacts might have citizens taking the idea less seriously. Although the idea of emergency preparation is not a popular subject, it is a serious one. With the emergence of the Hantavirus from Yosemite and the epidemic of Ebola in the last few months, social media campaigns might not effectively alert citizens in the proper manner. Serious matters call for serious methods. Life as we know it is not a balanced one; it contains many dangers that all species must face. If the proper steps are taken in a coherent manner, the better the survival rate a species will have in the face of an epidemic or catastrophic event.

Although the CDC stated officially that it did not recognize any zombie-like virus or infection, they urge people to be ready for disasters. The recent release of the Walking Dead series might be something to look at when dealing with this type of event. One’s own humanity is called into question on how we would react in times of desperation and chaos. Could humans work together without incident for the same common purpose of survival, or do we have to look out for ourselves in case of competition or betrayal? With zombies, the premise is that they will stop at nothing to feed on you; making them predictable and easy to identify. Humans however are a different story; we are emotional, impulsive, unpredictable and unstable making it very dangerous to trust one another or work together. The reality on preparation for chaotic events is that one could never truly be ready. Only when the actual event happens, will we have the idea on how effective we will be for ourselves and others.


Rheana Murray. “ZOMBIE ALERT issued by Homeland Security.” New York Daily News (September 2012).

Sarah Wojcik. “Rehearsals begin Sunday for ‘Thriller’ dance to open the Flint Zombie Walk on Oct. 13.” [Michigan] (September 2012).

Kate Mather. “Third Yosemite visitor dies of hantavirus; eight now infected.” L.A. Now (September 2012).

Associated Press. “Ebola Virus Spreads in Eastern Congo.” ABC News (September 2012).

© Copyright 2012. James Astrada.

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