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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


Are you people smokin' or what? Don't you have something better to do with your time? The American Taxpayer is PAYING YOU to put this nonsense on the net.

is this zombie thing a joke. and also im a jr fire fighter with the beaver meadows vol fire dept in pa and how do i become a responder for fema

This is so cute! Hopefully it gets people's attention for *real* emergencies.

They spend all this time on this weak and pathetic zombie post but they can't reply to a firefighter asking to become a responder? GET IT TOGETHER FEMA DO YOU REALIZE WHAT AN EMBARRASSMENT YOU ARE TO THE ENTIRE COUNTRY??

For all the people grumbling about the "waste in tax money", I hope you realize that this type of, ahem, "viral marketing" is in fact genius. The CDC has be so successful in creating awareness and buzz about emergency preparedness through this simple blog that their servers are overloaded. This is probably one of the reasons why this is up here at FEMA (wise decision). In any case, the CDC blog is hardly any expense at all, I mean, what will you do when the zombie horde is scratching at your door? "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." -Ben Franklin

Very well done! There is always a potential for a zombie outbreak! They are right when they say: if you are prepared for a zombies, you are prepared for anything!

Hey Anonymous! Take it easy friend, a sense of humor just might get peoples attention, and help them survive a disaster. It got your attention.

This article got people that wouldn't normally read a disaster prep article to actually read one. Well done.

that is great.... but you forgot to mention you need weapons to survive.... its the basic law of survival of the fittest...... which makes me think the c.d.c has already came across a zombie ROFL

Anonymous said... Court Ellis<br /><br />That's not funny at all!! You all had better be really on because in every zombie ther aint no C D freakin' C and I am a Health Sciences grad. Where is the CDC in the movies:<br />your there for giant monsters

Be ready... We are coming soon.

Being from Canada I'm shocked that you folks in the US don't have monthly Zombie preparedness meetings like we do here... I'm glad to know that you are getting up to speed in the Obama administration on the things that really matter!

I love it! Nothing like showing people how to make and plan for an emergency with a little sense of humor. Because you are right, regardless if the emergency is Zombies, Tornadoes, Floods, Fire, etc. it pays to be prepared.

I thought your post was creative and amusing! Good for you! We hear the same warnings at the beginning of every season and this was priceless. As for having something better to do with your time, as a tax payer, I'm quite pleased with your work. You gave relevant information for emergencies and disasters, albeit tongue-in-cheek! Great job!

Agreed, this is awesome marketing for preparedness and a good way to get through to those "not so serious tax payers" like myself. Not everyone is wound so tight... Please keep up the great ideas!

wow nothing on how to defend yourself if the walking undead come crashing through your door

If you got them to read it, maybe they will think about it. Even it they don't prepare a kit, they will know what to grab on the way out the house.

This is great! This is applied public health at its best! Communicating by culturally relevant means.

I love this! People might actually read it since it's funny and get some educational info at the same time. Excellent use of taxpayer $, I'd say :)


Yeah, the taxpayers may be paying this person, but it actually wasn't sanctioned by the CDC to start with...<br /><br />BUT, the actual purpose of this message from the CDC did work. <br /><br />1 - it actually got people onto the CDC website, and had them research different topics. I believe the day this posted, they actually hit record numbers on their website. Sure, it may have been a joke to start with, but hopefully someone actually learned something about a real subject.<br /><br />2 - Did you notice, that when it was telling to do research, it was also mentioning things along the lines as "You can also implement this plan if there is a flood, earthquake, or other emergency." Sure, Zombies may never actually attack.... But, some people may believe they will someday... and telling those "believers" to prepare, will actually make them better prepared for real emergencies.<br /><br />Therefore... kudos to the author of this article.

I think that incorporating a zombie theme to catches the eye and maybe, because people will read this blog as it stands out, it will help families prepare for dangerous situations following a natural disaster. Brilliant marketing!

I thought it was funny and informative..Don't mind Anonymous one, he/she's obviously got no sense of humor. Thank you for posting this.

The CDC has just become my new favorite government agency (in truth, i never had a previous favorite government agency). This campaign was a wonderful idea - and ignore that "American Taxpayer" crap from May 20th. There's always some pompous stuffed-shirt who will complain ... on the bright side, zombies usually go for them first.

Since there are people out there who believe this stuff, it would be a really good idea to let people know that CDC does NOT believe in zombies, which was not totally clear from your article. <br /><br />Anyway you don't say what we should do about the zombies - how do you kill them - what kind of guns and other weapons work best; will hurricane shudders keep them out; how do you prevent people from turning into zombies; you know basic stuff like that. Prevention is the best approach since they are allegedly hard to kill, being dead already.

Y'all realize that the whole "Zombie" thing was more of a joke, right?<br />Or were you so quick to jump to calling people idiots that you didn't bother to read anything they typed?

I'm glad to see that FEMA is trying to reach people to prepare, no matter what their fears are! In preparing for "this," people would be prepared for other emergencies as well. The point is, make an emergency plan! This is smart marketing, so give them some credit. Good job, FEMA.

Yes folks, this is a joke premise to convey some practical info. Very cute. And helpful.

i like it is awesome ive been tellin people forever that zombies are gonna be the end of us....will u be ready... because i will.

Is it a joke or is it ther way of telling us ther is something going on in a joking maner.

my friends and I play Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 and just for fun we came up with a plan. If a Zombie outbreak ever happened, we'd go to the Home Depot in Waterford, CT, cause I live in Groton, and we'd barricade ourselves there...see the Home Depot in Waterford has the mall near it and a Super Walmart as well as several gas stations.

So one thing that this post doesn't describe is how to kill a zombie. Or what to do if a zombie boards a plane...should I go to the DHS or TSA site for this information?

this is demented now i wont be able to sleep at night

american IQ ?! hahahaha lol lol lol lol

I'm gald to see that the CDC and FEMA is trying to get you prepared for a major diesese, but I don't know about a zombie apocalypse.

hahaha nice article. gonna get me a zombie or two and maybe a emergency rediness kit.

Several years ago, my admittedly irrational fear of zombies inspired me to prepare my emergency kit and a plan to reunite with my family. Despite the lack of zombie attacks in the time since then, the emergency kit has been brought out several times because of the potential for tornadoes and severe storms in my area. It's great to see the CDC and FEMA realizing that pop culture can inspire people to think about and plan for the serious threats that we face.

Hahaha! Fantastic article y'all - got a lot of people talking and thinking. Thanks for the entertaining delivery of important information :)

Love how most people are complaining and not taking the important parts out of this article. Be prepared for anything numbskulls.

Barricading yourself into a Home Depot next to a mall and gas station is probably the worst thing you can possibly do. <br />That's naturally where hundreds, maybe thousands of people will flock to get supplies. In a crowd, you never know who is infected, and how fast that infection will spread. What seemed like a good idea will have you stranded in a sea of undead, and there's no possible way you'll barricade an entire Home Depot in time to prevent them from entering, much less the mall and gas station.

I am a young, female student who would NOT have came across this web-site if it wasn't for this post. After, briefly skimming the article I surfed the website and found an abundance of information which has motivated me to get prepared and stay in tune to this site (You've been bookmarked). I am one of the MANY followers of the new AMC series called, "The Walking Dead." Yes, the show is fictional but it triggers critical thinking and inspires many to take steps of action to prepare for all types of disaster; just like this blog. Ironically, I am a senior at UCF studying marketing and think this post is a brilliant way to reach a new audience. (myself as proof) Keep up the good work & good luck with handling the single-minded knuckleheads out there.

Read the book, "One Second After" this will give new meaning to the word zombie.

FEMA has apparently been watching "The Walking Dead" and taking it seriously.....

The sad thing is that even if they tell us on TV that zombies are going to attack people would take it as a joke. <br /><br />EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

Wow what's next? You guys gonna lecture us how to survive an alien invasion?

LOL i love it!!!

No Brasil não tem este treinamento.<br />In Brazil don't have this training.

Good job Fema/CDC. Have an emergency kit already, but haven't checked up on it in a bit. Time to do so. <br /><br />-not the other anonymous guy

CDC's purpose on putting this was to grab more attention to teach people on how to prepare for any natural disaster (according to a CNN interview). I first wondered why they did this as well, but they did it to increase awareness.

I'm so scared of all the "could be" threats we might have to face. I'm even more scared of the people who are going to start freakin out and inadvertantly make something bad happen. If there was a god,he treats us like a ant farm that has been left behind on vacation.

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