Main Content

From CDC - Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse


Editor's Note: We wanted to share a blog post from our friends at the Centers for Disease Control.  Preparing for a zombie attack, or other fictional disasters, can provide useful tips to get prepared for a real disaster.  The following is an excerpt of the original blog post on the CDC Public Health Matters Blog May 16th, 2011 by Ali S. Khan.

There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.

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!

Better Safe than Sorry

So what do you need to do before zombies…or hurricanes or pandemics for example, actually happen? 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 (or in the event of a natural disaster, it will buy you some time until you are able to make your way to an evacuation shelter or utility lines are restored). Below are a few items you should include in your kit, for a full list visit the CDC Emergency page.

  • Water (1 gallon per person per day)
  • Food (stock up on non-perishable items that you eat regularly)
  • Medications (this includes prescription and non-prescription meds)
  • Tools and Supplies (utility knife, duct tape, battery powered radio, etc.)
  • Sanitation and Hygiene (household bleach, soap, towels, etc.)
  • Clothing and Bedding (a change of clothes for each family member and blankets)
  • Important documents (copies of your driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate to name a few)
  • First Aid supplies (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 hurricane)

Once you’ve made your emergency kit, you should sit down with your family and come up with an emergency plan. This includes where you would go and who you would call if zombies started appearing outside your door step. You can also implement this plan if there is a flood, earthquake, or other emergency.

  1. Identify the types of emergencies that are possible in your area. Besides a zombie apocalypse, this may include floods, tornadoes, or earthquakes. If you are unsure contact your local Red Cross chapter for more information. Family members meeting by their mailbox. You should pick two meeting places, one close to your home and one farther away
  2. Pick a meeting place for your family to regroup in case zombies invade your home…or your town evacuates because of a hurricane. Pick one place right outside your home for sudden emergencies and one place outside of your neighborhood in case you are unable to return home right away.
  3. Identify your emergency contacts. Make a list of local contacts like the police, fire department, and your local zombie response team. Also identify an out-of-state contact that you can call during an emergency to let the rest of your family know you are ok.
  4. 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.

Never Fear – CDC is Ready

If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak. CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation. This assistance might include consultation, lab testing and analysis, patient management and care, tracking of contacts, and infection control (including isolation and quarantine). It’s likely that an investigation of this scenario would seek to accomplish several goals: determine the cause of the illness, the source of the infection/virus/toxin, learn how it is transmitted and how readily it is spread, how to break the cycle of transmission and thus prevent further cases, and how patients can best be treated. Not only would scientists be working to identify the cause and cure of the zombie outbreak, but CDC and other federal agencies would send medical teams and first responders to help those in affected areas (I will be volunteering the young nameless disease detectives for the field work).

To learn more about what CDC does to prepare for and respond to emergencies of all kinds, visit:

To learn more about how you can prepare for and stay safe during an emergency visit:

To download a badge like the one above that you can add to your social networking profile, blog, website, or email signature visit:

Last Updated: 
07/10/2012 - 15:41


absolutely brilliant.......I'm still hearing about the zombie posting on this site from people who could care less about disaster preparedness. Hopefully we all gleam enough from this site to be of some use to our fellow man if the worst case scenario comes to fruition.

Fema didn't write this, CDC did!

When the time does come, I hope it doesn't make you run.

I love that people are concerned with why the cdc would waste their time writing this when....uh you read it. More imporantly......screw blankets and drivers license and find an automatic weapon!!!!! Hahaha

well when the zombies *do* come why dont u camplian to them how its not a real emergency


That is what scary movies are for. Just watch some of the countless Zombie movies and practice your aim. You'll make!

Y don't we focus on a real matter... U know like an ECONOMICAL COLLAPSE??!!!!

Having been to CDC and doing contract work for them, this type of blog post captures the attention of those who are least prepared--the young. Older people remember blizzards lasting a week, wars, and other types of emergencies, and are usually prepared. The young figure they will run to Wal-Mart. Guess what? Wal-Mart runs out of emergency supplies quickly, which we learned last year needing flooding supplies. The so-called "Zombie Apocalypse" was all over the news in Miami I guess, after an incident with a man tripping on LSD who thought he was a zombie and tried to eat another person's face. Be prepared for whatever type of emergency occurs in your area is the real message. Whether it's tornado, hurricane, flood, blizzard, or whatever, it is YOUR job to take care of yourself. That's really all that is being said.


Sounds like you might be nursing a narcissistic wound.

Lest anyone wonders why the REAL first responder community views FEMA and CDC as jokes-look no further. You people need to stay out of our way. We will take care of ourselves at the local level.

They're using the popular zombie scenario as a front to prepare people for REAL disasters. It grabs people's attention where otherwise they would not have bothered to read and gather this info on being prepared for REAL disasters.

So many zombie survival guides and stuff. But if you come to think of it, how will we prevent something that we just learned facts from the movies? I mean nobody really has tested a zombie before, right? No one has seen one too. And there are non who know of any information asides from the info from movies about zombies. If the apocalypse really happened, don't you think that just a small mosquito bite would end everything you've worked hard for? I mean you can't shoot the mosquito. The only way to feel it is if it bites you.

Be prepared for anything. Thats the whole point.

Thanx (:

If this had been a normal post I would never have read it so I would like the people complaining about how stupid this is to stop talking. They are telling the truth about preparedness in a funny and interesting way. I read the words zombie and read this. Its funny and the truth

I remember seeing this article last year.and thought oh damn a zombie attack!! Hey if CDC did this to make us aware, let's just read and pay attention to what they put out there to read! Now this zombie in Miami made me and a lot of people on FB rethink what would we do! So I came back to read this article cause someone posted it on my FB and saved so I can have for emergencies! Didn't think this could happen, but now with what happened in Miami, I'm going to make myself more aware of emergencies! Thanks CDC!

just remember the rules in the movie zombieland

Miami to me is proof of this....

FEMA is a joke, just look at how they failed during the Katrina aftermath at the superdome. The guy in Miami was on Bath Salts which you can buy in just about any city. A zombie apocolypse will never happen, santa doesn't exist, and neither does the boogie man.

not such and embarrassment now huh? in the past 3 days there have been 3 different zombie related events, man eats homless man on side of street in miami, guy in MD eats random persons brain, another guy ripped his intestins out and through it at police? its not far fetched, pay attention....

I guess we all know what your NOT getting for Christmas now...

Good gosh!!! I'm kinda freaked out by the whole zombie attack in Miami.. but this.article did have good info for actual emergencies:)


Maybe FEMA can tell us how to survive the Zombies at the White House!

The question I have after the Florida incident and the emergancy order put in place over the bath salt. The chance of people in possesion of bath salt now knowing it is against the law to have it and they start slushing it into the sewer and water waist what is the chance of it getting into city water supply and would it be filtered out or would people by drinking it and get sick from it?

I thought this was funny, so I read it. A friend who is obsessed with zombies shared it on FB. Now I know a little more about emergency preparedness (but I do have other zombie tips that I could share :D). <br /><br />The way this was written made it easier to share, and I think that's why it's worth doing. Brilliant move.

The thing that scares me about the "zombie appocolypse" is yes we are not going to see the dead rise and start eating people but the thought of bath salt drug users that are sick in the brain and not in there right mined dumping the drug down the drain so they are not caught in possession and infecting millions of people through drinking water and causing flesh eatting humans in every city and town in the USA. Thats my thoughts and people need to wakeup a prepare and stand by your fellow men and women and Federal, State and local Law enforcemnt to keep on top of things like this. I'm sure the Miami Police officer that was called to the incident in Florida were the man was eating the homeless mans face did think once when he put on his uniform he would be placed into that situation. So think about it the homeless man and the people of Miami lived what you could call a drug induced zombie attack. I pray for all of us.


I seen this back in May 2011 and new it was a joke... but I live in Florida now and let me tell you people are thinking that they were preparing us for possibilities....

FEMA failed during hurricane Katrina because the Bush administration failed as a government.


That's the truth

I have done the same... None of my friends believed me til now ;D

Thank you for your input and feel for you in Florida and pray for you all. It's going to take all of us to keep American safe. love all and god bless.

You graduated from college and do not know that it's "you're" there for giant monsters? ;-)

The way that we should all look at this is to be prepared for everything and anything that could happen. The most likely thing to have a kind of apocalypse would be someone poisoning our water or food supply with some form of chemical that makes people go insane. The movie 28 days later would be the kind of zombies that we would be dealing with. They arent dead just infected with something. But you also should take into effect the fact that we all have been mentally preparing for a economical colapse in the US and when that happens and there are no more paychecks, no more cash, wide spread panic will ensue and that is when you need a plan. Remember, when the shit hits the fan, the last people standing will be the natural survivalists, and the worst scum we have. Thanks for reading.

Before passing bad judgement on people in charge during bad times try putting there shoes on.


and i doubt FEMA wastes their time reading to responses to their articles. you want them to pay people to read the stupid posts people write below the articles?? haha okay. and the information on how to become a first respondent is on the web...the same web that got all of us to this article.

some folks get it & others?,,,,just don't

I agree. This is genius. Hook people with something they can relate to. Score 1 for the Gov't 0 for the Zombies.

Wow some of you have no sense of creativity. They obviously got your attention with this, and that was the point. Human beings bore easily and stop reading if the material is dry and uninteresting. They got their message out with a little creativity and flair. Zombies are the big thing today, with shows like Walking Dead and movies like World War Z. I think they did a great job making an important message that would be better to read then "if you are in the middle of an earthquake zone, blah blah blah blah". Get over your "I'M A TAX PAYER AND I DON'T PAY YOU FOR THIS" nonsense. I'm also a tax payer, and I am glad someone in government is giving good info to people in a way that they'll care.

That's because YOU DON'T BECOME A FIREFIGHTER RESPONDER BY LEAVING COMMENTS ON A BLOG. FEMA has a phone number. USE IT. Also? Get a sense of humor.

Everyone keeps saying how it's either a dumb scenario or a marketing technique to get people to care about disaster preparedness, but I think it's a good mental planning exercise for everyone, including professionals, to figure out how to deal with an unexpected problem. Infectious diseases and other problems could be looked at similarly to this one.

I don't think that this is a gag at all...

This is great. It's not a question of if the walkers come, it's a question of when . . .

Hey man i like to give shoutout to my boi tim's mom who got herself eaten by the zombiez cause she wadnt prepared for no zombie outbreak. y'all really need to get a emergency kit if yall dont wanna end up like ,tims mom #RIPtimsmom

shoutout to Wogue

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.