Citizens expect the federal government to be prepared to respond to a myriad of threats including terrorism, natural disasters and epidemics. Taxpayers look to the Homeland Security Department, The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to help us handle the worst the world has to offer.
Not surprisingly, these agencies are prepared for the absolute worst-case scenario: an outbreak of a virus that would turn the masses into brain-munching, undead zombies.
Well, not really. As part of a program to promote readiness for real disasters, these agencies prepared emergency preparedness campaigns featuring a zombie apocalypse.
Either they were trying to capitalize off the popularity of zombie media like The Walking Dead or Zombieland, or they’re trying to warn us about an impending zombie apocalypse. Regardless of the ultimate motive, the federal government has put out some interesting materials about a zombie outbreak.
CDC: Be prepared any disaster, even zombies
The CDC launched a fairly extensive zombie-preparedness campaign in 2011. The stunt included posters and a graphic novel. It’s not quite at the quality of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comics, but it’s a valiant effort.
The most interesting bit of the CDC’s program is its zombie preparation tips. Like other disaster preparation kits, the CDC and FEMA recommended citizens muster ample food and water supplies, medicine, tools and first aid kits. While any logical citizen would want these provisions on hand for a zombie emergency, the CDC omits a few essentials.
For one, there’s no provision for the weaponry needed to do battle with the zombie hordes. Citizens should be ready with tools suitable for destroying the zombie’s brain. In The Walking Dead, the protagonists muster a solid fuselage of military and police weaponry. The CDC looks to the series for “teachable moments,” but skimps out on the need for zombie-wrecking tools.
But if you don’t have a cache of police-grade firearms, baseball bats, garden tools and other sharp and pointy things can do the job nicely. The National Post has a nice graphic demonstrating this.
The CDC doesn’t seem sold on the idea that defensive mechanisms play a role in a zombie apocalypse. That’s what the Homeland Security Department is for.
The Homeland Security zombie simulation
In October 2012, the Homeland Security Department funded a trip to a five-day security conference that included a massive zombie response simulation. The department authorized as much as $1,000 per employee for the San Diego event.
Halo Corp., a security firm organized the event which featured more than 1,000 law enforcement and military personnel. In addition to Homeland Security Agents, the event drew Marines, Navy special ops and former CIA Director Michael Hayden.
Halo Corp. chose zombies for the simulation as a way to keep participants focused on the unexpected of law enforcement and military service. President Brad Barker told The Associated Press that a zombie might behave in the same way as a criminal on psychotic drugs.
Our friend Sen. Tom Coburn signaled out the department’s spending on the conference in his 2012 WasteBook. But this might be part of a wider preparation for a real life zombie outbreak. Last summer, there were several instances of cannibalism, so perhaps America is witnessing the early stages of a zombie epidemic.
Keep in mind that the Homeland Security Department has been purchasing millions of rounds of ammunition. I’d like to think they won’t be used on Americans.
Is this the government’s first step to prepare for the worst? It might be.
Or, I might just be watching a bit too much Walking Dead.