They say the end of the world is near—which is why it’s a perfect time to start thinking about what you should pack when zombies take over the earth and you’re forced to survive in a post-apocalyptic New England.
On Friday, The American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts launched a new website, SavingZombies.com, boasting helpful tips to get you through the Mayan-predicted last days of the world, and safely to the other side, where the dead roam the roads.
Is this real? Well, no, they admit, but it’s a good way for the American Red Cross to engage a younger audience and get them ready for serious disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes (they can happen, you know)and floods.
“We all think preparedness is a big deal. We don’t know what the future holds. It could be flooding, it could be zombies—we don’t know. But we want everyone to be prepared and this is about everyone being prepared,” said Kat Powers, director of communications at the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts.
Powers said the campaign came out of the American Red Cross of Massachusetts, but it will be launching nationally.
She said they worked with Wellesley-based d50 Media on the campaign.
“Out of the goodness of their hearts they took an idea from the Red Cross and created the whole campaign that you see,” said Powers.
The site has a countdown clock on it, tracking the days until the Mayan Apocalypse, which is rumored to happen on Dec. 21, 2012.
It also has journal entries from Boston “survivors” for each day leading up to the end of the world.
Along with the new website promoting emergency preparedness, the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts is sponsoring the Zombie Apocalypse Go Bag Video Contest.
Contestants are encouraged to submit a video showing what they would carry with them in a “go bag” in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
A “go bag” is what you need to live for three days until it is safe to return—whether that’s a copy of the “Zombie Survival Guide” and a flashlight, or your weapon of choice for fighting the flesh-eating former humans is up to you.
“The lowest level of preparedness is a go bag. Literally throwing together what you will need for being out of town for a couple of days…if you have anti-zombie serum, we suggest you include that too,” said Powers.
The two-minute video submissions should portray apocalypse preparedness against floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, but take on a personal twist relevant to each participant’s method of dealing with the end of the world and the walking dead.
A panel of familiar faces from the zombie-knowledge crowd, including Fred Reinecke, a former investigative reporter and editor who moderates the Facebook discussion board “Signs the Zombie Apocalypse Has Already Begun,” will judge each submission.
The judges will review the videos, which should be submitted by Nov. 18, before doling out a bunch of prizes to the person with the best survival kit and methods.
Three winners will be announced on December 12, according to the Red Cross.
The zombie-themed website follows the footsteps of other federal safety and volunteer organizations in the United States, which captured the essence of “survival methods” with the boom of popularity for the subject of zombies.
In Septmeber, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encouraged natural disaster preparedness groups to use a zombie-themed message to get the attention of the masses while simultaneously injecting their brains with relevant survival information.
“Zombie Preparedness messages and activities have proven to be an effective way to engage new audiences, particularly young people who may not be familiar with what to do before, during or after a disaster,” said FEMA’s Danta Randazzo during a monthly webinar last month. “[It’s] also a great way grab attention and increase awareness about emergency preparedness.”
Hundreds of personnel tuned in to a webinar called “Zombie Awareness: Effective Practices in Promoting Disaster Preparedness,” a public discussion about integrating pop culture references into emergency readiness campaigns to get a younger audience interested in serious issues and life-or-death situations like what you should do in case of a natural disaster.
FEMA took cues from the Center For Disease Control and Prevention, who in May put together “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse” to pique readers’ interests.
“The campaign generated an enormous amount of publicity at a very low cost,” said Randazzo.