The shambling hordes of undead near the house nestled in the forest. With a small group trapped inside and slowly turning against one another, the zombies continue their relentless assault to breach the home and feast on the humans within.
Such is the setting for George Romero’s classic zombie film, Night of the Living Dead. By today’s standards, the film is a little…dated, but it does show how a poorly prepared group of survivors can be almost as much of a hindrance as the thing they survived.
The CDC took a cue, and used the zed heads to get people thinking about preparedness in general. “Get a Kit!” the poster shouts, “Be Prepared!” we all hear these mantras, maybe we’ve even repeated these mantras to our kids or our families.
There’s some logic here. What we think of as “zombies” might not ever happen (chances are slim to nil), but we can learn a lot about a biological outbreak and how to prepare for events like natural disasters.
As it turns out, one of the fundamentals that the CDC recommends teaching your kids is the importance of stored, fresh water. One of the first scenarios described in the CDC handbook talks about zombies overrunning city facilities and contaminating the water supply. With tap water now undrinkable, children are taught the importance of having a good filter, and/or a supply of bottled water available.
Natural disaster reports can inform you of the possibility of the future destruction of your home or place of business. During hurricane Katrina, citizens were directed to meet at the Superdome, which held a large group of people that banded together. This is why it is important for you to establish a zone for your family to meet up with others.
Find a hall nearby, a church where you can gather, any structure that is sturdy and where a group of you can gather. Plot these places out ahead of time, and keep a map close at hand to refer back to if roads are blocked during a disaster.
If you are taking medication that you need in order to survive, you should keep at least a 7 day supply on you at all times. In a natural disaster like hurricane Sandy, disaster relief workers were sent out to check parts of New York, looking for people who needed feed or medication. With no power, and blocked streets, medications could not be shipped in or out of New York, so things had to be delivered by hand.
Remember that it is possible to stockpile alternatives such as Fish Mox and other fish antibiotics for certain situations, but these won’t protect against everything.
In addition, bandages and disinfectants will be crucial to staving off infection in a time when doctors are not readily available. A basic med kit is a good start, but consider alternatives depending on your needs (like medical tubing, sterile needles and other equipment).
Get to know your major sources for news and information. You might not hear early reports on the news, but if you follow weather from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, you can hear about some natural hazards before they occur. You can also refer to FEMA’s database of natural disasters, which lists what to prepare for and how long the disaster might last.
Start a Conversation
The interesting thing about the CDC taking zombies seriously is that it got a lot of people to stand up and say, “cool, I’d put this in my prepper bag.” The most important thing you can do to stay prepared is to keep the conversation going.
Take up gardening and try more practical approaches to surviving that benefit your family at present. If there is one thing the zombie apocalypse can teach us, it’s that long-term survival is something few of us are prepared for, so teach skills that help live day-to-day.