What can you learn from a zombie apocalypse? A central Ohio county is hoping that their community can learn a whole lot about how to deal with emergencies.
Inspired by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which posted a blog urging people to be prepared for a “zombie apocalypse” as a way to bring attention to emergency preparedness, Delaware County (north of Columbus, Ohio) will have more than than 225 volunteers dressed as zombies perform in a drill on Monday for officials who would deal with real-life emergency situations. Emergency responders will practice standard decontamination procedures to “treat” the zombies, making them “human” again during the exercise, which will take place at Ohio Wesleyan University.
Jesse Carter, a spokesman for the local health district, said, “People got zombie fever here in Delaware,”
The exercise (and dozens of similar efforts nationwide) were inspired by the online post from the CDC. It used the zombie theme to teach basic emergency preparedness — have a plan, have an emergency kit with food and water, etc. The posting got 30,000 hits in one day this May, and still draws thousands of visitors daily, according to Maggie Smith of the CDC’s public health preparedness office.
Smith also the idea has spread to other agencies (rather like a zombie plague). Officials around the country have been requesting copies of the CDC “zombie posters.” Officials in Kansas named October “Zombie Preparedness Month” and held a “zombie walk” on Saturday in Topeka.
Cindi Blair, a Delaware County human resources employee, claimed that the exercise gave her a reason to talk with her sons (1o and 11 years old) about emergency preparedness. She even plans to dress up with her sons for the exercise. She said, “I think it’s very creativeI think it puts a little bit of fun in with a serious drill.”
The Ohio Emergency Management agency reports that Delaware County is the first in Ohio to hold a zombie exercise, but other emergency officials around the state are observing the potential success of it. Organizers are hoping that this drill attracts more volunteers than previous simulations. They’ve ”sweetened the pot” with prizes for the most outstanding costume and makeup as well as the best zombie walk.
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