Sunday, June 12, 2011

Is your council prepared for zombie outbreak?

A lot of fun has been made out of the fact that a "Concerned Citizen" put in a Freedom of Information Act request to Leicester City Council in England, asking to be told "what provisions [they] have in place in the event of a zombie invasion?" Understandably everyone laughs, and the BBC article linked to above quotes an individual who runs a "zombie website" mocking the concerned citizen's state of mind. I suspect if I were to make a similar request of my local council, the outcome would be the same.

Nevertheless, there is a real question here,(*) and it is possible to ask it in such a way as to receive a sensible answer: how well would your local government react to something as unlikely, unplanned, and catastrophic as a zombie infection? Here are some concrete issues we might ask about:
  1. medical supplies and emergency plans in place in case of mass break-out of unforeseen infectious epidemic;
  2. emergency measures for a breakdown of public services, food/water/power supply, communications, etc.;
  3. public control measures in case of pandemic of random individual and group violence;
  4. procedures for emergency services to follow in the case that public officials have not been able/willing to admit the nature of the outbreak--can we do something about it without admitting it's a "zombie invasion"?
  5. communication: how to inform everybody of the danger and the administration's official response to it in the case of power cuts, satellite/cell reception failure, etc.
  6. quarantine plans: when do we decide the danger is over?
  7. citizen defence plans: how should individuals be advised to protect themselves/their homes/families?
What have I forgotten?

(*) Consider this a thought experiment for more generalized disaster planning if you like; or, as I do, as thinking through a problem that you might write a story about some time.

1 comment:

  1. The same point I was making in the above seems to have been made by the CDC in their Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse campaign. "If you're ready for a zombie apocalypse, you're ready for any emergency."