At the onset of September being Emergency Preparedness month, Homeland Security issued a ZOMBIE alert on September 6 because if zombies attack, the government wants you to be prepared! The Zombie Apocalypse campaign was introduced in May 2011 by the CDC, as a way to creatively encourage people to be better prepared for emergencies. The clever campaign started cautiously, though it has become one of the CDC’s most effective ways of communicating emergency preparedness.
The government’s strategy suggests if people are prepared for the walking dead, they’d be prepared for most disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, fires, tornadoes, or terrorist attacks. Could this tongue-in-cheek zombie campaign be a way to prepare people for the unknown events leading up to end of the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012?
Not too long ago I met someone who built a 3000 gallon pond in her backyard. She mentioned that it was her emergency water supply for doomsday 2012. I’ve wondered if this woman’s emergency planning was a bit over the top but I guess we won’t know until December 21.
While many are suggesting that 2012 will bring about cataclysmic events, other people are suggesting that the year 2012 is about the re-birth of humanity and humankind’s spiritual awakening. A third group suggests that the two aren’t mutually exclusive, and that there will be crises which impact us on a spiritual level which influence evolution.
As a believer in the universal Law of Attraction, I’m always cautious about what I think and how to prepare for things. Perhaps working for a PR firm specializing in crisis communications has influenced my thoughts in this area though, because I’ve come to believe it’s irresponsible not to prepare for natural disasters, terrorist acts or even zombie invasion (tongue in cheek)! It doesn’t mean I have to believe 2012 will bring catastrophe, but it does mean if a disaster hits my family will be better prepared.
There is a wealth of information about preparing for emergencies on FEMA’s www.ready.gov site. A simple Family Emergency Plan (FEP) is available to download which will guide you through collecting important information before an emergency ensues. It forces you to consider how will you communicate with your loved ones should a disaster occur.
FEMA also recommends each family build a basic emergency supply kit and I have included a list of emergency supplies recommendations below. It can also be downloaded and printed here.
There are also emergency survival kits that can be purchased online. Amazon has a wide assortment; however, should you be in a cold climate, Safety One International offers premium personal kits as well vehicle kits, that can be kept in your car when you’re traveling. If time is not an issue, it’s certainly less expensive to buy the components and make your own kits.
While FEMA’s list suggests that we plan for enough food and water for 72 hours, a recent article in Emergency Management suggests that three days is unrealistic, and we should plan a minimum of two weeks with a preference of four weeks.
From FEMA’s website:
Water, food, and clean air are important things to have if an emergency happens. Each family or individual’s kit should be customized to meet specific needs, such as medications and infant formula. It should also be customized to include important family documents.
Recommended Supplies to Include in a Basic Kit:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation (Just an observation that other sources recommend planning up to three gallons per day)
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First Aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Infant formula and diapers, if you have an infant
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Dust mask or cotton t-shirt, to help filter the air
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
Clothing and Bedding:
If you live in a cold weather climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that the power will be out and you will not have heat. Rethink your clothing and bedding supplies to account for growing children and other family changes. One complete change of warm clothing and shoes per person, including:
- A jacket or coat
- Long pants
- A long sleeve shirt
- Sturdy shoes
- A hat and gloves
- A sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
Below are some other items for your family to consider adding to its supply kit. Some of these items, especially those marked with a * can be dangerous, so please have an adult collect these supplies.
- Emergency reference materials such as a first aid book or a print out of the information on www.ready.gov
- Rain gear
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
- Cash or traveler’s checks, change
- Paper towels
- Fire Extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container*
- Signal flare*
- Paper, pencil
- Personal hygiene items including feminine supplies
- Household chlorine bleach* – You can use bleach as a disinfectant (diluted nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to treat water. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Medicine dropper
- Important Family Documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container