Zombie stories are often about the utter failure of the government to deal with a big problem and, thanks to George Romero, also a great way to expose issues of class and social status. No one really believes they might attack one day. Zombies are a metaphor, like vampires or werewolves, for the horrifying and uncanny aspects of the human. They also remind you that, when things really hit the fan, you're on your own. So be prepared! The Center for Disease Control does not want you to be caught unawares. In a post that walks the line between "ha ha this would never happen" and "but seriously just in case, you never know," Ali S Kahn details the worthy forms of emergency response to hoards of the necrotic, brain-seeking undead:
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
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.
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.
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.
I'm wary of the idea of meeting at the mailbox. Though I'm no expert, I have a strong suspicion that the mailbox is insufficiently fortified against the shuffling corpses invading the neighborhood. But hey, I'm not at the CDC, so I'm going to trust Kahn on this one. Maybe she keeps a shotgun (or cricket bat? Lobo?) in her mailbox. I just don't know.
What I do know is I need to get an emergency kit like the one on the right. Because a zombie hoard is nonsense. But the Singularity might trigger a new stone age and I won't be able to dash off to Wal-Mart for supplies. Should I be embarrassed that a small part of me hopes/expects some sort of epic disaster for the selfish reason that modern life doesn't let me use a flashlight or flint in day-to-day routines? I mean, I just don't have enough reasons in my life to use a kerosine lantern.
Maybe that’s how I can write off my next camping trip: research for zombie apocalypse.
For more on zombies, check out my series, the Ethics of the Undead.
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Image of zombies kindly broadcasting their presence via Wikipedia