Zombies can be found in movies, on TV, and in games, but so far, not anywhere in the real world. The CDC has a tips guide to help you prepare should that ever change, though.
That might read like a joke or satire, but the CDC — the real-life, federally-funded Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — legitimately has a guide for surviving a zombie apocalypse. It features some pretty handy tips too that seem useful not just for a zombie takeover, but a hurricane or a global pandemic…you know, like the one we’re in.
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“So what do you need to do before zombies…or hurricanes or pandemics for example, actually happen?” the CDC’s Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse guide reads. “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.”
According to the CDC, one gallon of water per person, per day, is sufficient and that as far as food goes, you should stock up on non-perishable items that can last while. The guide also recommends stocking up on prescription and non-prescription medications as well as things like knives, tape, battery-powered radios, and flashlights.
Although hygiene is likely to be the last thing on anyone’s mind during a zombie apocalypse — we’ve all seen how dirty Daryl Dixon gets on The Walking Dead — the CDC’s zombie survival guide says to stock up on household bleach, soap, towels, and other sanitation and hygiene-related products. Assuming the world doesn’t come to an end by way of zombies, you’re going to want a copy of all your important documents too, like your driver’s license and passport.
“Although you’re a goner if a zombie bites you, you can use [first aid supplies] to treat basic cuts and lacerations that you might get during a tornado or hurricane,” the guide reads. “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.”
Something tells us if zombies appear on your doorstep and that’s the first you’ve seen of them, things aren’t going to go well. As far as where to go, if Zack Snyder’s upcoming zombie movie, Army of the Dead, is any indication, stay as far away from Las Vegas as possible.
The CDC says a good emergency plan includes awareness of the other possible types of emergencies that could happen (although, if a tornado happens near you during a zombie apocalypse, you’ve just got bad luck), picking out a place to regroup should a zombie horde split your family up, identifying emergency contacts, and planning an evacuation route. We recommend a nice, rural farmhouse, like Rick and his crew found back in Season 2 of The Walking Dead, although be cautious of zombified family members hidden on the property.
“If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak,” the guide reads. “CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation. This assistance might include consolation, lab testing and analysis, patient management and care, tracking of contacts, and infection control.”
If video games, movies, and TV have prepared the world for anything, it’s a zombie apocalypse. Check out IGN’s list of the top 19 zombie video games and then check out this list of the 10 zombie movies you need to watch, especially if you’re looking for things not to do during a zombie apocalypse. Be sure to read IGN’s top 10 Walking Dead episodes after that.
Wesley LeBlanc is a freelance news writer and guide maker for IGN who has zero faith in himself to survive beyond maybe a day or two in a zombie apocalypse. You can follow him on Twitter @LeBlancWes.