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For promoting disaster preparedness, the CDC's famed zombie apocalpyse campaign was a matter of corpse

Photo provided by Andrew Gordon (left), joined by Dominic, Adrienne, and Dakota Gordon.
Just an all-American zombie family, unliving their best non-lives.

More than a decade ago, the CDC issued “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse”, a pop-culture tutorial in prepping for disasters, like the big earthquake predicted to hit the northwest. While that campaign has long ended, like any true zombie…it lives on.

The cover page of the CDC guide to preparing for the worst, including ill-tempered blue ghouls with brains on the er, mind.

CDC officials acknowledged back in 2011 that disaster preparedness wasn’t the sexiest topic, so they saw the relevance in tying it to trending horror films and series like “The Walking Dead” (Fun fact: The CDC is based in Georgia, where much of AMC's hit zombie series is also filmed.)

The CDC's descripton of its 42-page graphic novel reads as follows: "Readers follow Todd, Julie, and their dog Max as a strange new disease begins spreading, turning ordinary people into zombies. Stick around to the end for a surprising twist that will drive home the importance of being prepared for any emergency. Included in the novel is a Preparedness Checklist so that readers can get their family, workplace, or school ready before disaster strikes."

Dylan Sauerwein
The last thing running through his mind (before it was eaten) was: "Did I stockpile enough cans of Sterno for my portable stove?"

Erica Fleishman, an OSU professor and head of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, referenced the CDC’s zombie scenario during a recent media webinar. She said there was much to appreciate about the campaign.

“In terms of having food and water available, knowing how you would hook up with your family members in case of an emergency."

Other priorities Fleishman shared were knowing where neighbors were who had limited mobility, or were not fluent in speaking and comprehending English. And like anyone adept at surviving a zombie apoclaypse could attest, knowing where to find telecommunication arrays or similar infrastructure that enabled communications over distance.

"There are some differences, but a lot of the immediate emergency preparedness especially and where it relates to trying to minimize loss of life and real human suffering, it’s quite similar,” she concluded.

So whether it’s a thrashing blue zombie or a crashing tsunami, stockpiles of food and water -and a plan to reconnect with family- should help you be prepared.

Incidentally, the "Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse" campaign has long wrapped up, but nostalgia buffs can download a copy of it here.

Copyright @2022, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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