Teachable Moments – Courtesy of The Walking Dead on AMC

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Cast of The Walking Dead on AMC By Maggie Silver

If you’ve been following our blog, you’ve probably figured out we’re big fans of zombies. While we know zombies are fictional, they tie in so well with another topic we’re deeply invested in, emergency preparedness, that it seems like a perfect match for us! Being true zombie fans, we love The Walking Dead on AMC, so much so that we’ve looked past the fact that they blew us up at the end of the first season and we assure you that our work here at the CDC continues.

Since the second season is set to premiere on Sunday, February 12, we thought we’d take a quick look back at what’s happened so far, and give the survivors who are struggling in the post-apocalyptic world featured in The Walking Dead, a few pointers in preparedness.

Re-Cap of the season so far

So, if you’ve been following this season you’ll remember it started out with the group striking out from the smoldering remains of CDC for greener pastures…well, zombie free pastures at least. The group hits their first of many snafus when they encounter a massive traffic jam which turned the interstate into a deserted car lot. A horde of walkers descend on the group while they’re scavenging the wreckage for supplies. There are some close calls and many teachable moments in these first few episodes…

T-Dog siphoning gas

Rule #1 – Make a pit stop, fill up before it’s too late

Siphoning gas…with your mouth? Gross. If you remember to always keep your tank at least half full, you can avoid having the lingering taste of petrol linger in your mouth and have enough fuel to get outta Dodge before impending disaster strikes.

T-dog holding on to car door

Rule #2 – First aid kit, never leave home without it

We felt T-Dog’s pain when he ripped open his arm on a rusty car door while trolling the wreckage and siphoning gas.  We’re assuming that you’re not scavenging for supplies on the freeway or hiding under abandoned cars to avoid walkers, but the key take away here is to always have a first kit on hand. By doing so, you could avoid having to stop the bleeding with a grimy towel and some duct tape like T-Dog did…not exactly sterile supplies. T-Dog’s luck improves when Daryl offers his brother’s stash of anti-biotics (not something the CDC recommends!) and the group stumbles upon a farm conveniently inhabited by folks versed in the medical arts. Herschel’s wife is able to stitch up T-Dogs arm (now oozing puss) and prevent further infection. Always have a first aid kit on hand. If you’re really smart you’ll keep one at home, in your car, and at work. T-Dog could have avoided a lot of pain and suffering if he’d followed this simple rule.

Disfigured walker in a wellRule #3 – Clean water is zombie-free water

Zombie down the well? You might want to find a new water source. One of the most gruesome scenes of the season was when the group found a water-logged zombie in Herschel’s well, nasty right? Contaminated water is a common concern after a disaster, zombie related or other. After an emergency, especially flooding, run-off containing livestock waste, human sewage, chemicals, and other contaminants can taint water used for drinking, cooking, or cleaning. Our suggestion to Rick and his crew – don’t drink the water! If you’re ever concerned about the quality of your water after a flood or other emergency check with local authorities about water safety, you can also make water safe by boiling, adding disinfectants, or filtering.

We’ll be glued to AMC next Sunday night (2/12 @ 9/8c) when our intrepid survivors return and we’re sure there’ll be plenty more “teachable moments.” If you can think of others from Season 1 or 2 leave us a comment we’d love to hear from you!


Video clips courtesy of The Walking Dead © 2011 AMC Film Holdings LLC. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission of AMC Film Holdings LLC.

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44 comments on “Teachable Moments – Courtesy of The Walking Dead on AMC”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    Make sure in the first aid kit you have crazy glue. YES crazy glue. It can be used instead of stitches for cuts that aren’t so massive bit still require a few stitches.

    Good tips. Should also include: Stick together, shave your head, bring blunt objects and don;t hid your kids in the woods!

    Love the CDC tie-in! Need t-shirts asap! How do you know the rusty car door isn’t what made T-Dog sick? Would have first aid kit have done any good?

    i would be horrified if their actually was a zombie take over. i have two babys and i am scared i love zombie movies but it seems like it keeps getting more popular like its going to happen soon. i think the common mistake is wen the group in whatever movie leaves the safe place they are at to go find zombie free places i plan on buying tons of water because of the contamination lots of canned foods baby frmula along with other essentials and locking my family in our master bedroom covering the doors and windows with other doors and such so they dont get through and enjoying my family while i can ill have lots of games and candles and ill love my family till the end!! if something like this actually happens there is no way that we as humans are strong enough to avoid contamination… survival is key

    I read Grease is fighting a super bug in their hospitals. Does the CDC assist in that type of work?

    Also, I would imagine the CDC’s back up generators run on natural gas, not diesel.

    How much longer do we have before another event like the Spanish flu? Something affecting 1/5th the worlds population or worse?

    Remember that aerobic exercise and a good pair of running shoes are important. You don’t have to be the fastest on foot. Just be able to outrun them at a good pace while you figure out where to hide or how to dispatch the zombies. Alternatively, you just need to be able to outrun the other people your with.

    In last night’s episode people were cutting themselves with filthy knives. shane’s even had walker blood on it! i took away the lesson not to purposely create a wound when you *know* how awful things can get if you don’t treat it properly. you may survive your immediate danger but then be in more danger later.

    Just say no to the crazy glue…. Not in first aid kits or on the skin. It isn’t what medical professionals use and it contains arsenic.

    Looking at the emergency preparedness kit items, these are some observations:
    – matches are nice, flint kit is better in that you get more sparks then match flames, plus flint kit dries faster when wet than matches.
    – a spool of utility high strength string
    – water filtration system (people can go weeks without out food but only three days without water).
    – flares, even road flares will work
    – protective eye ware. Sun glasses for bright sunny days, plastic work goggles for dusty days or working with tools (the reason is that it will be difficult to address eye damage/injury

    @ Admin, will the shirts become available again? The CDC, Zombie responce shirts.

    @Frank: CDC Zombie Taskforce T Shirts will be available again soon! Will keep you posted!

    Reading this blog. I did have a thought. having some extra sting to make candles would be a good tip. the wax can be reused many times. a spare pan, for non-food tasks also makes seance to have.

    To me, i think the best idea for survival would think just like Rick and Shane did in the “walking dead series” would be to head for the mountains and take refuge on high ground. It never hurts to have the upper hand and have clear view of your surroundings so that way there is no unexpected visitors in your campsite while u “try” to rest!!!

    Remember,if you need to get out of town/city. A 4 wheel drive truck would be nice,but even by foot the roads will be backed up you just head for the nearest rail road tracks and follow them. Yes they will be bumpy driving but they will or should be less clogged.

    You don’t need to be able to outrun them, you can Shane them! Poor Otis. 🙁

    @ CDC – Love the teaching media. While reading through this, for some reason I was reminded of the decks of cards issued to soldiers with the names and faces of high value individuals on them, would that not be a good idea also for teaching preparedness concepts? Perhaps it would be cost prohibitive. If so, could such an item (CDC approved) be made availible for purchase through regular commerical outlets? Or is it already and I haven’t been paying attention?

    Thanks for the great work!

    Zombie tip:
    1.Keep a long sturdy metal pole in your attic along with food and water.
    [This apply’s to houses with the attic hatch in the roof… zombies cant climb!]
    Just go up to your attic when they break in and bash there heads in with the metal pole until they stop coming then re-secure your house.
    2.If the zombies are in the street off a few doors and nail them down the stairs as the zombies will have trouble getting up a flat surface as they don’t think about the incline.

    @Chris…there actually is medical grade super-glue that is used in surgery and the production of medical devices. We’ve used it extensively at several of the companies I’ve worked for. It is available from companies that manufacture the different grades of super-glue. That being said, it’s probably not available from your hardware store or Walgreens.

    are you all for real? Let’s get a tighter grip on reality folks. What’s scary is people are dumb enough to think zombies exist. At least the cdc plan is working to get people prepared for real events like hurricanes and tornados. I’ve been through both of those and that will knock the crazy right out of you and teach you real survival skills real fast.

    As one has said zombies no. Zombie Like yes new virus are created every day so it could be a virus that gives zombie like spread but this was created by cdc to make people think. You should be ready for something to happen. Some people take it to the extream other will not do anything and be SOL. But this is a good thing CDC did.

    Figured I’d point out that it wasn’t Hershel’s wife that helped stitch T-Dog up, it was Patricia, Otis’s wife. We thought it was weird that Shane cut himself with a knife with zombie blood on it too.

    Both of my boys know all about zombies, i know there only a matter of time before someone does something wrong and the dead bodys start walking…. Ive been teaching them everything from how to hide really good to how to run better. Dont be scard be prepared.

    Don’t miss the point folks. The CDC is using a popular medium (zombie attacks) to demonstrate some very good and useful techniques should a disaster occur. Let’s not forget that humans are often so desperate in times of crisis that they are virtually the zombies we make believe in this blog. That being said, remember that a gun makes noise and draws the bad guy. A cross bow is as effective for protection, and much quieter.

    the idea that in a situation like this that we can sit and worry about small things like if supergle has arsenic in it. the arsenic might hurt you but an open wound can and will kill you if all youve got is crazy glue then use it. if you find an old Hangar filled with supplies and ammo but its got a big sign that says “WARNING ASBESTOS” on the door you ignore the sign everything will cause cancer if you look hard enough you eat canned food past its experation date you drink unpastuerized milk if you must you cant wash your hands before every meal all that stops in an emergency situation. i frankly would miss toilet paper most of all.

    you guys are missing the point. there will be no zombies. what you should be more worried about natural disasters. the cdc used this tie in as an example and for humor too. so spend your life waiting for zombies, tornadoes wont hurt ya or anything.

    Bob is dead on in his wisdom. I really don’t think we are going to be worried about the same issues in a crisis situation as we would in our everyday lives now. If you are hungry you will likely eat whatever you find that looks partially edible. We will not be worried if the plastic bottle or bag has BPA, for example. Humans are very good at rising to the occasion, (or sinking to new lows), when they need to. I was raised to “put things back”, as in food, water, etc. Tennessee has tornado season every year, and I have seen ice storms bad enough to keep you shut in for a couple of weeks. if we didn’t keep canned goods and other supplies on hand we would have been in bad shape.

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE…produce more T-Shirts. I just seen someone with it on and would love to get one for my kids. Please CDC, I don’t mind if my tax money is used for t-shirts.

    The Walking Dead is one of the greatest television programs on prime time television 5 out of 5. The first and fourth seasons of TWD were the best seasons in my opinion.

    I highly recommend playing The Walking Dead video game by Tell-Tale Games where you choose the outcome. It is an epic game and highly addictive.

    Could you imagine a scenario where a zombie apocalypse actually occurred, it would be frightening yet exciting and very challenging in an attempt to survive.

    I love zombies too, you should do a spot on the Walking Dead with “teachable moments” maybe even consult with the show. I love tongue in cheek stuff it’s a whole lot of fun and you tend to not forget it. And it’s true, if you’re fighting zombies or the flu there is a lot of prevention you can do if you plan ahead.

    I see lots of learning points brought out in the show.

    Not just having supplies and kits as shown in Season 1 at the rock quarry, but planning for long term preparedness as in Season 6 & 7 – growing food, scavenging for supplies. Plus, in any crisis, not just zombies (aka, “walkers,” “biters,” “rotters,” etc) type of an emergency, there will be people like Neagan and his followers, who take from others. Case in point, I saw a student of mine at a gun show and asked if his father was also a “prepper?” With a straight face he said, “No, my dad says he has enough guns that if he runs out of supplies, he’ll just go take what he needs from others.” Add in the self-centered behavior of rioters and looters, and you can realize we need to be aware that others will want what we have. Hide it, spread it out, stay quiet about your inventory to keep from losing it to a band of thugs.

    While the chances of national crisis will be Zombies, having prepared kits, supplies and developing the proper mentality for what survivors may face during any future troubling times will help improve your chances of staying alive.

    I really loved all of the comments. I ran into this story while reading about the current flu epedemic. Reading the article and the comments reminded me I may not be as prepared for a crises as I thought. Thank you everyone for your comments, though most of them are older, they are still valid. I posted the Article on Facebook, so perhaps we will get a new influx of opinions on this. God bless.

    Is CDC planning on making the Zombie TShirts available again? Mine is in tatters and I know many people who would love the opportunity to purchase one!

    Thanks for your question. We appreciate your interest, but CDC does not plan on making t-shirts available again. Kindest regards.

    (SPOILER ALERT)for the water, they should have just scavenged instead because they did not want to shoot the walker because the water would get contaminated(if not already) but when they pull it out It rips in half

    @zombies aren’t real – thank you. One of the only comments that made sense. I love zombie fiction, but a zombie apocalypse….lol
    Humor from the cdc I love it though !

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