“What if a pandemic hit Maine? Who would respond? What would they do? Where would they get vital resources that likely would be in short supply? What if there wasn’t enough antidote to go around?” That’s not a teaser for a zombie book or movie (courtesy The Bangor Daily News). “These are just some of the questions that about 100 emergency responders from eight Maine counties grappled with Thursday during “Zombie Apocalypse,” a daylong preparedness exercise conducted by the Northeastern Maine Regional Resource Center at Spectacular Event Center.” That would be the same NMRRC that recently received a federal grant to purchase 1000 Armalite AR-10s, assorted HAZMAT gear and a new secure radio system. Just kidding. Or am I? In fact . . .
During the exercise, representatives from several hospitals and nursing homes, public safety and emergency management agencies, the Maine National Guard, amateur radio operators and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention gathered to think about how they would respond to a worldwide outbreak of an infectious disease — in this case a “zombie” pandemic that originated in Jamaica and spread throughout the globe by bites from zombies.
Bang! There goes my holiday to Ochos Rios, man. As for the idea that this “simulation” was a light-hearted way to prepare for some other, less flesh-eating-by-the-undead-oriented infectious disease, I don’t think so. Check out the protocol . . .
Participants who were “bit” by zombies had stickers affixed to their name tags.
“If they don’t receive the anti-zombie drug, they progress to stage two and then on to the ‘undead’ stage,” [director of the Northeastern Maine Regional Resource Center Kathy] Knight said . . .
During the exercise, people responsible for the well-being of others in their communities also were thrown the occasional curveball, including stolen antidote, vigilantes and zombie infections among their own.
Knight said the idea was to get responders to “think outside the box. They need to figure out what they need, how they’re going to respond and how they are going to share their resources to respond to the disaster. They need to know who to go to outside their community to find the resources they don’t have, so it’s a different twist.”
No mention of guns, ammo or tactics. At least not that we know about. And one more thing:
The Zombie Apocalypse scenario was the idea of Jordan Buck of Brewer, a nurse who graduated from the University of Maine in May and now is employed at Eastern Maine Medical Center. Buck also is a science fiction buff who recently returned from a holiday in Jamaica. [Note: I added that last bit. Checking on it now.]
“I did my community rotation with Kathy Knight and she asked me what I wanted to work on and I told her I like the whole zombie thing and then she decided to use it for this,” Jordan said.
In the exercise, Jordan portrays the first person in the region to be bit by a zombie.
Zombie infiltration of an exercise on zombie response. What’s the bet that the Zombie Apocalypse starts happening for real once the incubation period is finished? Could Maine, sleepy old Maine, be ground zero for the undead to come? Ah-uh.