Well the CDC is at it again. Trying to cash in on their widely popular blog post from earlier this year, the CDC will be using zombies as another media stunt to gain attention. As I say this I am halve entertained and half criticizing. It’s not that I mind companies using zombies as advertizing, we’ve discussed this before, but I don’t know that the CDC specifically using zombies is a great move on their part. Yes, it will get younger people to start thinking about emergency preparedness, and that’s a good thing, but the problem is that the people that are being targeted by this kind of publicity stunt are probably already doing emergency preparedness stuff as a result of their interest in zombies in the first place. On top of this people who aren’t zombie fans may dismiss a zombie publicity stunt as childish and ignore it. Or they may look in on it with curiosity, you never know.
I totally understand why the CDC would use zombies. There is no great sickness scare going on right now (i.e. swine flu), no great natural disaster to keep people interested, and they’ve long stopped us from being scared of a nuclear attack from the Russians, so the CDC needs a vehicle to stir up interest. And what better way than to cash in on the most popular trend right now that incidentally has a direct tie in to what the CDC is all about? Only time will tell however if the zombie spin on things will continue to help bring recognition to the CDC or not.
As a zombie fan, the CDC is not always the good guys in the picture. We all know that when disaster strikes that they will have to do what they have to do to keep the general populace safe. But everyone can relate to seeing the CDC as a bad guy when they have to trap healthy people in with the monsters, like in the movie Quarantine. It’s sad, and can be seen as evil, but it may be necessary. I just hope I’m one of the ones that will be on the outside looking in when the job has to be done.
This brings me to talk about why I have sourced ColumbusLocalNews.com for part of this article. According to a story they posted on Oct. 11th, the CDC along with other emergency councils in Ohio are partnering up to host emergency preparedness drills at the Ohio Wesleyan University Campus. These drills will feature zombies as a theme and will require around 250 volunteers to dress as the living dead to assist them in their endeavors. The purpose is to test the emergency response teams on how and efficiently they can set up a mass medication clinic and emergency decontamination facility. The teams will then proceed to process the zombies through the decontamination facility and treat them in the medication clinic.
To me it looks like they’ve taken a radiation scenario and asked everyone to dress as zombies instead. The claim is that if they can be prepared for zombies, they can be prepared for anything. The problem is they are not preparing for zombies by treating the living dead, they are preparing for zombies by treating radiation exposure. In this scenario they will probably ask the volunteers to look sound and walk like the living dead, but prevent them from acting violent as a zombie would. So now you’re not treating the correct problem, and you are taking the realism out of the scenario. Way to be prepared for the worst CDC.
How they should test this scenario to me would look something like this.
Organize the volunteer zombies and tell them to show up at the stadium at a specific time. Let the teams who will be tested know the date of the test, but not the time. Then when the zombies are ready you radio in the emergency. This will simulate an environment where the teams will have to respond much like they do any other disaster. They will have to drop whatever they are doing to drive to the event. This way you test how long it will take to respond to the disaster. Then after they “diagnose” the problem as a zombie virus outbreak, they will test how long it takes them to secure and quarantine the area. You then set up your teams to go in to set up a safe zone, a medical center, and a testing area in a safe location of the quarantined building, having to deal with encounters with “violent” undead (If the undead are able to get to you without you subduing them or putting them down, you become infected and therefore cannot continue to help set up the safe zone and testing area.) After the safe zone is established and the medical and testing areas are set up you then must capture a subject to “test” for a cure and for study purposes. Here’s the catch, you can also have non-infected survivors who are looking to get out of there. This is where the medical area comes into play because the teams must then evaluate the survivors for any sign of contamination and perform the medical procedures required to clear them for extraction, including decontamination. Part of the grading of the teams would depend on how many survivors they save and safely extract (for example 10 out of 20), and correctly diagnosing their statuses (contaminated/infected/ injured/healthy). Points would also be awarded for safely setting up the working zones in a timely manner, keeping their team safe, and acquiring a specimen for diagnosis and testing. There would be no further treatment of the zombies because well they are a lost cause until you find a cure. At that point it would be up to the heads of the departments to decide wither they can keep the area quarantined and safe until a cure is found, or if they not risk it and instead destroy it all including the virus.
By making the required treatments fit he actual diagnoses, you will have teams that are better prepared If you want to still use the radiation scenario, make it a radiation scenario, but don’t put your teams in harm’s way in a real situation by having them prepare for the wrong thing.
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