Zombie Preparedness for Educators: English

Writing Prompt: Preparing a Community

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Students will create a local community preparedness plan and use evaluative processes to determine the best course of action during an emergency situation.


From the Common Core State Standards: English

  • Logical argument based on substantive claims, sound reasoning, and relevant evidence
  • Informative, explanatory text
  • Narratives (real or imagined) that are descriptive and in sequence.


Prompt: The zombie apocalypse threat is imminent. The mayor’s staff has been compromised, and it is up to you to write a speech for the mayor advising the community about what actions to take. What do you tell the community to do?

Write the speech in a logical, chronological order discussing the steps citizens should take in this emergency situation.

Think about the following:

  • Where do you tell people to go? Is there a good place in the community for shelter? Will they be protected there? Should they evacuate?
  • What service would break down first and what would you do without them (police, fire, internet, phones, power)?
    • It’s time to use emergency kits, but how long would it take for the essentials to run out? What do you tell the community to do next?
      • What is your plan for evacuating/sheltering the disabled?
      • What about pets?
      • How will the mayor’s office communicate with the citizens without electricity?
      • How will you transport people without vehicles?
      • What to do when they encounter an infected individual? What is the best way to prevent infection?
    • It is important to convey a strong warning to make people act, but not too strong as to make people freeze or How would you alleviate fears?

Follow Up

Have the students discuss their plans and messages and consolidate into one class message.


From Common Core State Standards:

  • Informal discussions
  • Collaboration to answer questions, build understandings, and solve problems


Background and Concepts


  • Emergency Kits: Items needed for personal survival for at least 3 days. Emergency kits include: food and water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, spare batteries, first aid kit, can opener, local maps, sanitation and personal hygiene items.
    *emergency kits should be made based on the specific needs of your family. Remember to plan for medication, baby, and pet needs as based on your individual needs
  • Evacuation: When conditions become so severe as to threaten to your health that you are ordered to leave your home or disaster area.
  • Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites, that are not normally present within the body.
  • Outbreak: The occurrence of a large number of cases of a disease in a short period of time. Preparedness: Being able to prevent, respond to, and rapidly recover from threats and emergencies. Prevention: Precautionary actions to reduce damage and harm to your health and the area around you.
  • Quarantine: applies to those who have been exposed to a contagious disease but who may or may not become ill.
  • Response: The actions taken post-disaster to react and recover from an emergency. These should be steps toward restoring a normal balance and routine.
  • Shelter: A designated safe place. Shelters may include basements or interior rooms with reinforced masonry construction. (The safest place to be depends on the disaster you are facing. A tornado requires shelter in an interior or basement room, whereas a flood shelter is on higher ground away from rising water.)

Community Preparedness

 Before assigning the prompt, discuss the basics of preparedness from the CDC website (www.external icon emergency.cdc.gov) or FEMA websiteexternal icon (www.ready.gov.) Explain the importance of community planning for emergencies and why plans differ depending on the emergency.

Being prepared means planning in advance of an emergency. When you have your supplies ready, have a plan of action for when disaster strikes, and are informed of the situation, you will be ready to take care of yourself and others in an emergency.


The government is in charge of emergency operations plans or “EOP.” An emergency operation plan is an organizes and coordinates agency activities before an emergency. It describes how the community will function in an emergency. The emergency plan:

  • Assigns responsibility to organizations and individuals for carrying out specific actions at projected times and places in an
  • Organizes lines of authority, coordinates organizations and how they will work
  • Describes how people and property will be protected in emergencies and disasters
  • Identifies personnel, equipment, facilities, supplies, and other resources available — within the jurisdiction or by agreement with other jurisdictions — for use during response and recovery operations.

Community leaders

Community leaders from the private and civic sectors have a responsibility to participate in community preparedness. Their responsibilities include:

  • Participating on the local planning council to provide insights and perspectives reflecting their industry or the constituency they service, for example, people with disabilities, local schools, communities with language or cultural differences, small businesses, the economically disadvantaged, communities of faith
  • Backs up the plan with proper resources (funding, people, facilities).
  • Ensuring facilities are prepared and citizens are trained and practiced in preparedness

The public

The public also has a responsibility for preparedness. All members of the community should:

  • Learn about community alerts and warnings, evacuation routes, and how to get critical information
  • Take training in preparedness, first aid, and response skills
  • Practice skills and personal plans through periodic drills in multiple settings
  • Meet your Plan how the neighborhood could work together after a disaster. Know your neighbors skills (medical, technical, home repair) and how you could help neighbors with special needs (like the elderly or disabled).
  • Report suspicious activity
  • Volunteer

Potential Threats Discussion

  • What hazards might affect your community?
  • What possible hazards have the most severe impact?
  • What are the most recent emergencies that the community has faced? What are some historical disasters that have impacted the community today?
    • What parts of the community are most at risk in an emergency situation?

School Preparedness Discussion

  • What drills do you practice at school?
  • Do you know where to go in a fire? Severe weather warning?
  • Make sure your emergency contact information is updated.

Be Prepared!

Here are some ideas to help your students feel prepared:

  • Discuss your emergency evacuation plan from your home in case of fire or other disaster, and a specific location to meet.
  • Make sure students memorize important phone numbers.
  • Learn the location of the nearest police and fire stations and their phone numbers. Know the route to the nearest hospital emergency room.
  • Have the students ask their parents where the utility shutoffs are and how to shut them off. Go through the items found in an emergency kit.

Community groups

There are organizations in your community that host community-planning meetings, provide preparedness information and volunteer opportunities to community members and when in need, are available to respond to a disaster.

For more information about groups in your community, contact CERT, the Red Cross, or Citizen Corps.

Page last reviewed: October 8, 2020, 04:45 PM