Assistant Surgeon General Urges Americans to Prepare for ‘Zombie Apocalypse’

by | May 18, 2011 | Emergency Preparedness | 32 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    In the preparedness and planning information sphere, the term “Zombie Apocalypse” usually refers to individuals who, after a collapse of the world as we know it, roam the streets in search of water, food, and resources.

    Utilizing prep-culture zombies as a starting point, Assistant Surgeon General Ali S. Khan, in his most recent Center for Disease Control preparedness blog post Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse (cached text version), takes a humorous approach in an attempt to convince Americans to prepare for emergencies and disasters:

    [Republished In Full]

    Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse

    There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, 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.

    A Brief History of Zombies

    We’ve all seen at least one movie about flesh-eating zombies taking over (my personal favorite is Resident Evil), but where do zombies come from and why do they love eating brains so much? The word zombie comes from Haitian and New Orleans voodoo origins. Although its meaning has changed slightly over the years, it refers to a human corpse mysteriously reanimated to serve the undead. Through ancient voodoo and folk-lore traditions, shows like the Walking Dead were born.

    In movies, shows, and literature, zombies are often depicted as being created by an infectious virus, which is passed on via bites and contact with bodily fluids. Harvard psychiatrist Steven Schoolman wrote a (fictional) medical paper on the zombies presented in Night of the Living Dead and refers to the condition as Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome caused by an infectious agent. The Zombie Survival Guide identifies the cause of zombies as a virus called solanum. Other zombie origins shown in films include radiation from a destroyed NASA Venus probe (as in Night of the Living Dead), as well as mutations of existing conditions such as prions, mad-cow disease, measles and rabies.

    The rise of zombies in pop culture has given credence to the idea that a zombie apocalypse could happen. In such a scenario zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way. The proliferation of this idea has led many people to wonder “How do I prepare for a zombie apocalypse?”

    Well, we’re here to answer that question for you, and hopefully share a few tips about preparing for real emergencies too!

    Better Safe than Sorry

    So what do you need to do before zombies…or hurricanes or pandemics for example, actually happen? First of all, you should have an emergency kit in your house. This includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp (or in the event of a natural disaster, it will buy you some time until you are able to make your way to an evacuation shelter or utility lines are restored). Below are a few items you should include in your kit, for a full list visit the CDC Emergency page.

    • Water (1 gallon per person per day)
    • Food (stock up on non-perishable items that you eat regularly)
    • Medications (this includes prescription and non-prescription meds)
    • Tools and Supplies (utility knife, duct tape, battery powered radio, etc.)
    • Sanitation and Hygiene (household bleach, soap, towels, etc.)
    • Clothing and Bedding (a change of clothes for each family member and blankets)
    • Important documents (copies of your driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate to name a few)
    • First Aid supplies (although you’re a goner if a zombie bites you, you can use these supplies to treat basic cuts and lacerations that you might get during a tornado or hurricane)

    Once you’ve made your emergency kit, you should sit down with your family and come up with an emergency plan. This includes where you would go and who you would call if zombies started appearing outside your door step. You can also implement this plan if there is a flood, earthquake, or other emergency.

    • 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.
    • 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.

    Never Fear – CDC is Ready

    If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak. CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation. This assistance might include consultation, lab testing and analysis, patient management and care, tracking of contacts, and infection control (including isolation and quarantine). It’s likely that an investigation of this scenario would seek to accomplish several goals: determine the cause of the illness, the source of the infection/virus/toxin, learn how it is transmitted and how readily it is spread, how to break the cycle of transmission and thus prevent further cases, and how patients can best be treated. Not only would scientists be working to identify the cause and cure of the zombie outbreak, but CDC and other federal agencies would send medical teams and first responders to help those in affected areas (I will be volunteering the young nameless disease detectives for the field work)

    All kidding aside, the preparedness recommendations should be taken to heart and immediately implemented by those who have not yet taken the time to do any sort of emergency planning.

    One important preparedness consideration that the Assistant Surgeon General failed to mention is self defense – weapons, ammunition, barbed wire, defense perimeters, and communications. We assume this is because Mr. Kahn truly believes that the CDC, FEMA, DHS, emergency responders, et. al. will be available when millions of golden horde zombies start roaming the streets in search of food and payback. Realistically, this is not going to happen, so we recommend adding these necessary preparation supplies as soon as possible.

    For those of us who are well aware of the possibility of zombies roaming the streets, we suggest that any engagements with Zombies be dealt with extreme prejudice. For those who have seen the movie, we recommend implementing rule #2 of the 33 Rules of Zombieland, which recommends that all zombies be double-tapped – just to make sure. Additionally, you may be interested in reviewing The Zombie Apocalypse, a recently published primer on dealing with individuals and gangs roaming the streets in search of resources.


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      1. Will the zombies be chanting USA…USA…USA?
        Or maybe a slight variation of Dire Straits: Money for nothin’ and our checks for free.

      2. Smokinokie……probably be mumbling something about hope and change and wheres our check….

      3. We got to loot these ..refridgerators, we got to take these color TV’s..

        oooha ooha.

        love dire straits..

      4. U guys r good!  VH1

      5. Did we go thru Katrina VRF?

      6. This is nothing new for any leader who has military training. 

        And this should not be part of the Hope and Change that America is hoping for.

        God Bless America 

      7.    Another gubmint agency urging us all to go to the superdome.

        BTW, last night for dinner I ate a MRE from 1996 or 1997 (my purchase date, unsure of manufacture date) pork chow mein.. the potatoes were not soft enough, but tasted ok and so far no ill effects.

      8. I can see them now. Dragging one leg with T shirts that say “Eat At Joe’s” Ha Ha Ha Ha…

      9. VRF- thanks! You’ve inspired me!

        We cook our meals in microwave ovens,
        Sit on the couch and watch teevee
        We ain’t workin’ (ain’t gonna do it)
        Want our money for nothin and our checks for free

      10. And  then there’s the guy in Michigan, I think, who won nearly 2mil in a lottery. Beck says about 850thou after taxes and he’s STILL getting food stamps! WOW!

      11. So dumbed down even Obama voters can understand it.   How many of them believe in the Hollywood version of zombies?  Bueller?  Bueller?

      12. BUY LOTS OF BAR B QUE SAUCE AND BEER ; cause we’re gonna have a feast on that day! Yum Yum Long Pork extra Crispy!

      13. No VRF did not go thru Katrina

        but contibuting to the parody of the first poster

      14. Wish I was clever as you lot with your alternate lyrics…  In the immediate, you may want to watch what is happening in Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada (pop 7,000).  Between a third and 40% of town was burnt out in a forest fire earlier this week with residents able to flee out the only road open and get 3-hrs south to Edmonton or to Athabasca.  Notice was pretty short but they did get everyone out alive but most lost everything… and only one family interviewed had a BOB!

      15. I pretty much hate anything that comes from the CDC and this is no exception.

      16. Are the river residents going to be “allowed” to buy flood insurance now that they have been flooded out and what is the ass gen. surggeon trying to tell us?

        I do have a test today. That wasn’t bullshit. It’s on European socialism. I mean, really, what’s the point? I’m not European. I don’t plan on being European. So who gives a crap if they’re socialists? They could be fascist anarchists. It still wouldn’t change the fact that I don’t own a car. Not that I condone fascism, or any ism for that matter. Isms in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon: “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.” Good point there. After all, he was the Walrus. I could be the Walrus. I’d still have to bum rides off of people.

      17. I saw the remake of Day of the dead on Netflix, WOW who’d a thought a zombie could move like a spider monkey on crack? Haven’t seen that many people run since they changed the food stamp check out counter at Winn Dixie…whew!

      18. I’m still convinced that most of the govmint zombies will sit in their homes waiting for someone to come rescue them.  Generations of people have been raised to depend 100% on others for their well being.

        Once they realize that no one is coming.  They’ll be weak, hungry & thirsty.  Their invasion reach will not be far because they won’t have strength to get there.  Fighting will ensue amongst them.  They’ll wipe each other out first. 

      19. When the white man discovered this country Indians were running it. No taxes, no debt, women did all the work.  White man thought he could improve on a system like this. – Cherokee

      20. Funny how they don’t mention any kind of protection. No mention of guns, chainsaws, golf clubs, baseball bats, nuthin’. 

        But don’t worry. If you find yourself in a close quarters combat situation with an Obamazombie. Just rip their arms of and beat them with it. They pull off pretty easily. I’ve seen it in a move. Or was it a video game? In any case, preserve your right to bear arms!

        Bear arms! Get it?! Bwa ha ha ha ha ha!   See you on the other side.

      21. That didn’t hurt.  Tis but a scratch.  It’s only a flesh wound.  Bandaids don’t stick on me.  Come back and fight like a knight.

      22. “A person should not believe in an ism”  = Nihilism
        “he should believe in himself” = Individualism, possibly Objectivism

        Good luck with that test on Socialism.  Suggest you engage in a little communalism with your socialism classmates so you can finally figure out your contrarianism position lest you accidentally devolve into egocentrism 🙂


           Interesting: The US Asst. Surgeon Gemeral is publishing on a topic that has only a (very) peripheral relevence to his professional sphere of influence.

           Wonder why (with FEMA, DHS, et al) already substantially preaching the same stuff he felt it necessary.

           Glad he did, but….

      24. That’s what Ferris Bueller says Tony.  I never get a day off.

      25. Let’s start a movement against isms. We’ll call it anti-ismism. Oops…never mind

      26. I find it funny that when the govt. tells you to stock up its being prepared, when you do it with out their approval it is survivalISM

      27. Ok uh, how the hell did I NOT see this one? Damn man I guess I should have just looked at your website before asking you if you also saw a recent insane bump on the Zombie Apocalypse this would explain that perfectly!

        dramatic…sorry….damn government came an tapped in to worldwidewakeupNOW’s back end then for some reason it wouldn’t let me leave comments on Mac’s awesome webpage don’t worry everyone apparently I’m back now…what’d I miss anything good? How bout that Judgement Day everyone still alive through this hour of Sunday night? Congrats to fellow survivors you must prep like the wwwNers

      29. One life to live and its a disaster!

      30. THIS IS A LIE!!

      31. I really love how most of what you all are saying has nothing to do with the article above. And anybody who listens to Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh is a fucking idiot. I’m sorry but I just can’t believe that there are people out there who will believe just about any bullshit that is thrown their way. That has to mean that they’re not smart enough to think for themselves. Do you really think that would be allowed? Someone winning the lottery for that much and still getting food stamps? If that’s true then he found a loophole somehow. Because I’m a struggling lower class american and I can’t even get food stamps. So fuck all of you and I hope the naysayers all burn in hell or whatever you believe in. Stupid people piss me off.

        • And by the way… if you have anything to respond to that then that’s my full name up there. Hit me up on Facebook. I can’t stand to be on this page anymore.

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