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Ohio Town Solicits Zombie Volunteers to Test Emergency Preparedness Plan

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"...we need real people to realistically assess how fast and how well our mass decontamination and medication procedures would work..."

The Delaware County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Delaware General Health District wants some of its residents to die. Well, become zombies, not really die. And by becoming zombies, it means pretend to be zombies and still not really die.

In an effort to engage its community in a hazardous materials emergency preparation exercise, the Office of Homeland Security has put out a petition for 250 volunteers to done their best zombie look this Halloween. The effort will test first responders in how they handle hazardous materials exercises and, in an attempt to maintain the realism of zombie culture, first responders who come in contact with a hazardous material will become zombies themselves.

Like the Center for Disease Control, which published a guide earlier this year to survive a zombie attack, and Tom Deaderick who created a map depicting the each state's zombie survivability rate, these Delaware County groups are using the zombie craze gain interest and participation their community in a more serious emergency preparedness drill.

The local NBC affiliate, NBC4, reports 67 living have volunteered to become the undead, as of yesterday:

EMA Director Brian Galligher said “We would like to have a lot more volunteers, because we need real people to realistically assess how fast and how well our mass decontamination and medication procedures would work in an actual emergency.”

The EMA wants to make the event fun for volunteers.  Participants will get free T-shirts, and judges will award plaques to zombies with the best costumes, best makeup, and best zombie shuffle.

Volunteers as young as 8 are welcome, although everyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

NBC4 reports that the CDC suggested this "tongue-in-cheek" approach to teaching residents and emergency responders about preparedness for actual events like floods and blizzards.

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