Friday, June 03, 2011

Preparing for a zombie invasion, and attracting interest in preparedness

We all know it’s important to be prepared for emergencies like tornadoes, winter storms and earthquakes. But what about a zombie apocalypse? Turns out there is quite a lot of interest in the subject.

On May 16, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted a blog entry on preparing for a zombie invasion, attracting more than a million page views in just a few days. The Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness Guide, originally posted on the Public Health Matters Blog, was so popular that the server crashed and the post was relocated. Major news outlets such as CNN picked up the story, sending even more people to the guide.

Posted by U.S. Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan, the zombie guide uses a light approach to emergency preparedness, noting that readers might scoff at the likelihood of a zombie invasion “but when it happens, you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.”

Public health workers will be happy to know that if hordes of reanimated corpses do begin lurching through the streets, “CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak” and “provide technical assistance to cities, states or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation,” according to the blog post.

Amidst the references to classic zombie movies and possible zombification causes, the post provides honest-to-goodness real-world emergency preparedness advice, such as the need to plan an evacuation route, identify emergency contacts and pick a meeting place for your family. Sound advice, whether you’re dealing with the advance of the brain-eating undead or with an approaching hurricane.

“People who read the blog actually are going out to get an emergency kit and make an emergency plan,” Khan was quoted as saying in an article published by the Wall Street Journal. “This has been off the charts.”

The zombie guide has inspired widgets, badges and other Web tools that fans can use. It even spawned a video contest, details of which will be posted on the CDC website.

It just goes to show that couching emergency preparedness advice in a fun way can attract more attention than the standard staid format. (But as a regular Get Ready Blog reader, you knew that already, right?) And when a high-profile government agency uses such an approach, it can reach a much broader audience.

1 comment:

fantastica said...