The CDC is issuing official recommendations for when the zombies attack. Image: Flickr / TinyTall / Used with permission

The Centers for Disease Control is tasked with tracking and informing the public about threats to health. In a blog posted on Monday, May 16, the head of the CDC provided recommendations for how to prepare for a zombie apocalypse. While the post is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, the recommendations are useful disaster preparedness information.

CDC recommends preparedness measures

In the case of a zombie apocalypse, the CDC recommends keeping some basic preparedness supplies around. If nothing else, these supplies will help you survive until you can “find a zombie-free refugee camp.” These recommendations include keeping one gallon of water per person, per day. Non-perishable food items, clothing, important documents, tools, first aid materials and other basic emergency preparedness items are important to keep around. The recommendations also outline what the CDC would do in case of the zombie apocalypse — mostly, investigate and attempt to offer assistance.

How the CDC got interested in zombies

The director of the CDC first started considering putting out zombie apocalypse recommendations a few months ago. In a web chat about the nuclear power problems in Japan, a participant asked whether that nuclear leak would create a zombie apocalypse in Japan. Dr. Ali S. Khan, the head of the CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, took this as a reminder for how popular the myth of the zombie apocalypse had become. A fan of “Resident Evil,” Dr. Khan has often asked for creative ideas on how to get the public involved with the CDC’s mission of informing the public about disaster preparedness.

Using pop culture to spread a serious message

Popular culture, whether it’s spreading news of zombies or a 2012 disaster, seems to be obsessed with disasters. Since Dr. Khan took over the CDC’s OPHPR, the office has put out “official recommendations” for both a zombie attack and a meteor hitting the earth. The likelihood of these events happening is much lower than, say, a tornado or outbreak of the flu. Either way, however, the preparedness steps are essentially the same. By embracing pop culture, live web chats, social media and public interaction, the CDC’s preparedness office is helping put a new face on an organization most people hope to never have a reason to interact with.



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