WARNING: zombies included!

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This time last year we posted Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse. The blog post that took CDC from nerdy scientists to hip pop culture icons (at least that’s how we like to think of it). We’ve been amazed at all the zombie fans out there and thrilled with all the opportunities we’ve had this year to engage with folks like Max Brooks, the cast and producers of The Walking Dead, and enthusiastic fans at Dragon*Con and ComiCon. Most of all we’ve had a blast hearing from state and local organizations that have joined the zombie movement. This week we’re featuring stories from people across the country who’ve been inspired to use zombies in their campaigns or curriculums. We hope you enjoy reading our series “Zombie Nation”… 

WARNING: zombies included!

By Judy Kern, Education and Training Coordinator at Hawaii State Department of Health- Public Health Preparedness Program

That phrase is not something I ever thought I would be typing in the Subject line of an email I was sending to my supervisors. Yet that is exactly what they found when they opened an email last year, pitching an idea from staff to do a public education and awareness video that would tap into the enormously successful CDC Zombie Preparedness Campaign.  Gamely, they gave the green light, and the project moved forward.

With no budget and no film-making experience, the ad hoc Hawaii PHP Zombie Video Team doggedly proceeded with writing a script, sketching a storyboard, begging for cast members among colleagues, and shooting scenes.  In between, we took advantage of community events such as a Zombie pub crawl held in downtown Chinatown, Honolulu, to shoot some B-roll.  The colorful event turned out to be a great opportunity to do some public outreach. Team members wore their CDC Zombie T-shirts, and as we asked people to sign a video release form, we had a chance to talk about emergency preparedness and flu prevention.  Party-goers were pleasantly surprised to find government workers on the alert to stop any zombie takeovers.  (Trivia: spot the corpse bride in our video):  

While no one is quitting their day job to head for Hollywood, all agreed the project was a success on multiple levels. Despite the absence of cute babies or animals, in less than three weeks our YouTube video had over 400 hits (and counting).  Not a huge number, but more than would have heard our preparedness message otherwise.  The process itself was also a learning opportunity as fellow “actors,” recruited from non-PHP sectors including disease investigation, immunization, and the state laboratories, became engaged in the project and had preparedness messages firmly reinforced in their brains.  Mmmmmmmmm…brains!

Check out the Hawaii PHP Program’s zombie video:  (TRIVIA: What book is Guy #1 reading to get prepared? Tweet us using #CDCZombie and you may get lucky! hint, we featured a Q&A with the author)


 For more information on this video, please contact Judy Kern at judy.kern@doh.hawaii.gov

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3 comments on “WARNING: zombies included!”

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    This past April the Safety Committee at the community college I work for turned the Zombie 101 info into a pamphlet for distribution. The pamaphlet was handed out by a herd of shuffeling, drooling zombies to the students on campus. It was great to actualy get students attention. The theater students that were zombies are all excited to be zombies again next April for emergency prepardeness month.

    @Rosemarie Hansen: That’s great to hear how you’re using zombies for preparedness. I’m sure the students had a lot of fun with it!

    I’m scared to death because I have a control medication that I receive each month so what I’m going to do?

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Page last reviewed: May 14, 2012
Page last updated: May 14, 2012