The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just published its official Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide, yet left out crucial information for a zombie target demographic: geeks.
Should America become besieged by undead hordes, United States Federal agency CDC ("Your source for credible health information") now has us covered. Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse officially has everything we need to know about preparedness in the event of a zombie virus outbreak.
Or does it?
Zombie apocalypse survival tips for the tech set seem to be missing.
The guide on the CDC's Public Health Matters Blog begins:
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.
The best part might just be the comments.
Clearly, the CDC has put their official, Federal stamp on a viral disaster survival guide that has enough whimsy to remind us that an official institution is in touch with pop culture, while it delivers a small sermon on making it during a crisis that has only ever existed in fiction and horror films.
My only concern is that when the real zombie outbreak happens, no one will take the CDC seriously when the real zombies come.
That the CDC has created this guide shouldn't come as a surprise, really. I mean, besides the inevitableness of the zombie virus outbreak, it seems that even the head of FEMA has been working on some kind of plan, as evidenced in a photo candidly showing the Director's choice of office reading material.
When the Washington Post ran an interview with FEMA’s Craig Fugate about the 5-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina last August, the interview was accompanied by a photo of Fugate in his office, with a caption explaining that Fugate “keeps his FEMA office sparse with Florida Gator mementos.”
A close look at the photo reveals a very interesting detail in the sparseness of the FEMA director’s office: a handy copy of the guidebook, The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead.
Well, FEMA has nothing on the CDC. If you're the kind of person that has the Zombie Survival Guide Scanner app in your iPhone, then you'll appreciate the CDC guide's attention to detail.
Helpful tips include, "Make a list of local contacts like the police, fire department, and your local zombie response team." And, "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."
What's nice is that the CDC explains their role during the zombie apocalypse. And we all know what we've learned from zombie "history" is that the first things to fail us our infrastructures - like the CDC.
The CDC reassures us,
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.
Yet you may also notice that the CDC's guide, while quite good, is missing the tech aspect of zombie survival. So far, no one has assembled a High-Tech Mobile Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide.
This is a problem.
We can only hope that the CDC revisits their excellent Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide with information for the digital era.
Besides keeping cell phones charged, I'd suggest that the CDC add night vision goggles, infrared goggles (so you can see the difference between living and the dead), and a GPS system. How about a tutorial on using Google Maps for working with Maps layers and creating shareable, distributable mobile maps with quarantine and infection zones pinned?
There may even just be an app for that - surviving the zombie apocalypse, that is. Stop by the Zombie Survival Wiki, as they're light years ahead of the CDC. Peruse their Discussion: Survival IPod/IPhone Applications.
Since there are not any specific guides for the geeks-versus-zombies showdown, we can glean resources from articles such as Tech tips for wilderness survival, Survival 101: Build a mobile preparedness kit, and Photos: High-tech survival tools.
Just remember that nowhere is the zombie threat more real than on the Internet. That's probably why the best guide online - sorry CDC geeks - is the Instructables, The Revised Zombie survival "kit".
Because really: if anyone's going to survive, it's the geeks. Data portability might be a pain in the ass, but when something wants to eat our brains, we don't mess around.
Image of tank and zombie schoolgirl via Your Ride For the Zombocalypse.