The origins of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge are unclear. The details aren’t important here, other than to note that what started as an awareness raising campaign in the United States reached ‘viral’ levels in July/August 2014; even I recently joined in.
But what does any of this have to do with emergency management I hear you ask?
Well, September is national preparedness month in America. It’s an event that I’ve been keeping an eye on for the last four years but has yet to make the transition across to the UK in the same was as the Ice Bucket Challenge.
With a relatively benign risk environment and high degree of political reticence I can’t imagine the same type of event would have much traction this side of the pond. However, that doesn’t make it any less interesting to follow the activity of stateside emergency management colleagues and consider what could be appropriated!
One of my favourite elements is the 30 Days 30 Ways preparedness game, which invites members of the public to undertake 30 relatively simple readiness tasks, one for each day of the month. This year, rather than simply being a voyeur, I’ll be joining in the game and using my blog to capture how I get on!
Today’s task is right up my street…
What do you think is the best “pop culture” reference to disasters in our current culture?
My answer would have to be Zombies. In true zombie style, the undead have popped all over the place
- TV shows (Dead Set)
- Films (World War Z, 28 Days Later and Shaun of the Dead)
- Computer Games (Left for Dead, Day Z)
- Comic Books (Marvel Zombies)
- Music videos (Thriller)
- Live events (2.8 Hours Later, Zombies Run)
- Mother Monster herself (Born This Way’s Rick Genest)
- and even baking (Miss Cakehead) have embraced the zeitgeist
Pervasive across all media, if I had to choose one specific thing it would be AMC’s The Walking Dead. I still have some episodes of Season 4 to watch, but I’m hooked.
To watch from the perspective of an Emergency Manager is perhaps unique. Is it just me that sees the examples of information vacuum, constantly evolving strategy, improvised response and differences mismatch between capacity and capability? These are elements can be common in ‘real’ emergencies and therefore to see them portrayed in such an engaging television series is interesting.
The thing I think The Walking Dead teaches us the most – that people actually have a greater capacity for resilience than we often give them credit for. That Rick and the gang have survived four seasons in the face of zombies, resource constraints and other survivors is a reflection of their resilience.