Back in the 16th century, the French astrologer Nostradamus predicted that there would be a zombie apocalypse in the year 2021. And now that it is actually In 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will make sure you are prepared … just in case.
The CDC recently updated the Zombie Contingency section on its website – yes, that’s one thing. While the section is not new – it was originally launched back in 2011 – it provides an interesting timing as it has been updated amid a global pandemic that happens to be happening this year with a predicted zombie apocalypse.
The CDC makes it clear online that this is a joke, albeit one with a serious message about the importance of disaster preparedness. “Wondering why zombies, zombie apocalypse and zombie preparedness continue to live or die on a CDC website?”
The CDC offers lesson plans for teachers on zombie apocalypse preparedness, a downloadable poster that reads, “Get a set. Make a plan. Be prepared” next to a zombie’s face and general disaster preparedness information.
In a related but non-zombie section on emergency preparedness, the CDC talks about the importance of having certain tools at home, such as food, water and medical supplies to last for at least 72 hours, backup power sources, medical records and an emergency supply of prescription drugs.
But the CDC also ties advice back to zombies with a blog post that shows exactly what you need to have stored at home, in case of a zombie apocalypse – it can also help in case of other disasters. In addition to one liter of water per. Person pr. Today, the CDC recommends having first aid supplies available and noting, “even if you are a goner, if a zombie bites you, you can use these supplies to treat basic cuts and wounds that you may encounter during a tornado or hurricane.”
The CDC did not respond to Yahoo Life’s request for comment.
Disaster preparedness experts and doctors seem to think the campaign is pretty smart.
“I think it’s amazing,” John Sellick, a professor at the Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo, told Yahoo Life. “As we have seen with coronavirus, disaster preparedness is crucial.”
FEMA-certified instructor for natural disaster preparedness Cheryl Nelson, founder of Prepare with Cher, agrees. “I think it’s brilliant,” she tells Yahoo Life. “It’s definitely an attention finder, and it makes the preparation fun. The more creative ways we can get the emergency message out, the better.”
The CDC is simply trying to make disaster preparedness related to different populations, ”said Mitchel A. Rosen, associate professor at the Department of Urban and Global Public Health at Rutgers School of Public Health, Yahoo Life. And, he says, framing the topic around a zombie apocalypse “makes it fun to learn about disaster preparedness.”
Lee Clarke, a sociology professor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, tells Yahoo Life that while zombie preparedness may seem “banal, trivial and funny on the surface,” he points out that “all the messages are there.” “They just replace ‘zombie’ with ‘flood’ or ‘hurricane,'” he says. “Zombies are just more interesting, and that draws people in.”
While the packaging is whimsical, Sellick points out that the underlying message – to be prepared for the unexpected – is important and incredibly relevant right now. “Bottled water, flour, disinfectant, toilet paper … a year ago it didn’t matter how much money you had. You couldn’t get hold of certain things,” he says. “Having a stockpile at home could have helped lead some of us through. Most of us clearly did not have adequate supplies of things.”
Lots of people have joked that a zombie apocalypse was going to happen, but “2020 made something like that no longer seem so impossible,” Nelson says, adding, “It creates the mindset, ‘Well, gosh. If there was a global pandemic, what is it then – zombies ?! Maybe I should prepare. ‘”
Although the zombie apocalypse probably won’t actually happen, Nelson says, families should consider their own contingency plan. “Did you ever think that a global pandemic would happen in our lifetime? Do you not wish you had had a disaster preparedness kit with items such as hand sanitizers, cloths, masks and the still-needed toilet paper when the pandemic hit?” she says. “Take your time and prepare now. If you do not want to prepare yourself, prepare for your loved ones. Do it for them. They will be grateful that you did.”
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