The CDC Shared Tips for How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse—Here's Why

The CDC guidance applies to others disasters too.

You're all set, you have a bowl of snacks, are settled into that comfy corner of the sofa, and have a cozy blanket pulled over you. It's time to binge-watch some television, how about a full season of The Walking Dead? You've seen it on TV or in the movies: zombies walking down empty streets looking for a human to snack on. Ever wonder what you would need to do to survive a zombie apocalypse?

Well, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had you covered. As part of the CDC's efforts to encourage preparedness on an everyday basis, they created "Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse." The site was active between 2011 and 2020 when it was taken down. But, don't despair, you can still download the 5Mb file.

The CDC Doesn't Think There'll be a Zombie Apocalyse

OK, so no, the CDC doesn't actually think that there will be a zombie apocalypse. But as TV shows like The Walking Dead have risen in popularity, and as more people began wondering what they should do if zombies were to start roaming the streets, the CDC decided to create a "Zombie Preparedness" page where they could go for answers.

"As it turns out what first began as a tongue-in-cheek campaign to engage new audiences with preparedness messages has proven to be a very effective platform," according to the CDC. "We continue to reach and engage a wide variety of audiences on all hazards preparedness via 'zombie preparedness.'"

Turns out, the CDC first developed its "zombie apocalypse" guidance in 2011. But the page resurfaced in 2021 thanks to a prediction that French philosopher Nostradamus is believed to have made all the way back in the 1500s. Nostradamus was known for making bold prophecies with potentially large-scale, life-altering impacts, and recently there's been widespread reports that one of the predictions he made suggests that there will be a zombie apocalypse in 2021.

A study published in Public Health Reports journal found that while the site was popular, it did not provide long-lasting retention of preparedness information.

How to be Prepared for Unforeseen Disasters

As the original 2011 post explains, the CDC guidance isn't only for how people can prepare for a zombie attack, but also for how to ready themselves for other disasters, such as hurricanes or pandemics.

"Bottled water, flour, disinfectant spray, toilet paper…a year ago [2020], it didn't matter how much money you had. You couldn't get your hands on certain things," John Sellick, DO, a professor in the Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, told Yahoo Life. "Having a stockpile at home could have helped carry some of us through. Clearly, most of us did not have adequate supplies of things."

So how can you properly prepare for a natural disaster; pandemic; or, OK, a zombie apocalypse? One of the main ways is to have an emergency kit at the ready. The water, food, and other supplies that are in the kit could be used to get you through the first couple of days of the disaster before you regain power or are able to get to a safer shelter. According to the CDC, some of the things that should be included in the kit are:

  • 1 gallon of water, per person, per day
  • Non-perishable food
  • Prescription and non-prescription medications
  • Tools and supplies, like a utility knife, duct tape, and a battery-powered radio
  • Sanitation and hygiene supplies
  • A change of clothes for each person
  • Bedding
  • Important documents, including copies of your driver's license, passport, and birth certificate
  • First Aid supplies

The CDC also lays out how you and your family can develop an emergency plan so that you know what to do if/when a disaster occurs. This plan should name a location where you and your family agree to meet once disaster strikes and also include a list of emergency contacts and an evacuation route.

This past year has shown us that anything is possible. Still, "zombie apocalypse" will most likely not be crossed off your 2021 BINGO card. But in case it does, know that the CDC is ready. "If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak," according to the CDC. "CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation."

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles