Though it seems like a recent phenomenon, the popularity of zombies in North American and European Folklore dates back to the 19th Century. Originally a Haitian Creole/North Mbundu term used for a hypnotized person who is yet ambulatory and able to respond to stimuli, Haitian Vodou and New Orleans Voodoo have had such a significant influence on the zombie myth, transforming it into the reanimated human corpse immortalized by George A. Romero’s 1968 film ‘Night of the Living Dead.’

Taking advantage of the rise of zombies in pop culture as it struggles with the vampires for dominance at the box office as the star of the monster movie, the Center for Disease Control has released an Emergency Preparedness guide for surviving the initial outbreak of a zombie pandemic.

“So what do you need to do before zombies…or hurricanes or pandemics for example, actually happen? First of all, you should have an emergency kit in your house. This includes things like water, food, and other supplies – visit the CDC Emergency page for the full list – to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp (or in the event of a natural disaster, it will buy you some time until you are able to make your way to an evacuation shelter or utility lines are restored).”

All in all this has got to be one of the better ways I’ve seen a government agency raise awareness about Emergency Preparedness. Here in Canada there’s the Get Prepared campaign, but isn’t the same sort of attention getter that a zombie survival guide is.