CDC to America: How to Prepare for a Zombie Apocalypse

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Courtesy of CDC

“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,” wrote Dr. Ali S. Khan, a specialist in infectious disease, in the latest update on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Matters blog.

The first step in preparing for a zombie attack — or for that matter a hurricane or pandemic — is to put together an emergency kit. “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,” Khan wrote.

(More on TIME.com: Apocalypse Weekend: Harold Camping Says the World Ends Saturday. He’s Said that Before)

You can’t say government scientists don’t have a sense of humor — or a healthy interest in genre fiction. (Khan’s favorite zombie movie, he says, is Resident Evil.)

The CDC’s “Zombie Apocalypse” post, which was published on Monday, got so much traffic that the agency’s servers couldn’t handle it, the New York Times reported. “A typical post gets 1,000 hits,” CDC spokesman David Daigle told the Times. “We got 10,000, then 30,000 on Tuesday, and then it crashed the server.”

(More on TIME.com: 1,000 (Or So) Things to Do Before the End of the World)

But aside from being hilarious — at least for a sober public-health agency — the zombie survival information may actually help readers familiarize themselves with disaster preparedness techniques. And that was the point, the CDC says; the agency’s communications staff wanted to make their usual “prepare yourself for hurricane season” message a little more enticing this time around.

So, while flesh-eating zombies probably aren’t going to terrorize your town anytime soon, a pandemic or natural disaster might, and the CDC’s advice is straightforward and easy to heed: put together an emergency kit (see the items you’ll need here), then sit down with your family and come up with an emergency plan. Everyone should know where to meet in case of a natural disaster (pick two meet-up spots, one close to home and another farther away, in case you can’t return home); whom to call (both local first-responders as well as an out-of-state contact who can notify your family); and what route to use to evacuate — because, whether it’s zombies or a hurricane, it’s not worth staying behind for.

(More on TIME.com: Apocalypse Now: Why Believers Will Grow Stronger If the World Doesn’t End)

Read the full list of recommendations from the CDC here.

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