Zombies invaded campus Thursday morning, but there were no fatalities.
UNC Campus Safety hosted a Zombie Preparedness Festival in the Pit, during which students learned how to be prepared not only for a zombie attack but also for any type of emergency.
A range of campus safety departments and student groups spoke to students about the various resources available in case of emergency.
A local professional makeup company, the Original Hollywood Horror Show, transformed several volunteers into zombies, bringing the theme of a zombie attack to life. Students received informational cards about how to ultimately be prepared.
Each year, the University takes the opportunity to promote preparedness to the campus community in different fashions. Past themes have included hurricanes and severe weather preparedness. This year’s theme of zombies was inspired by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2011 graphic novel “Preparedness 101.”
Darrell Jeter, director of emergency management and planning, said the University decided to put its own spin on emergency preparedness. He added that Justin Miller, UNC's emergency management coordinator, has been interested in bringing the theme of zombies to campus for the past few years.
Jeter said with the resumption of in-person activities on campus, the theme had the opportunity to finally come alive.
“People have different comfort levels discussing unpredictable activity or disasters or unfortunate human-caused emergencies or incidents that either they have faced personally, a loved one may have faced or we witness around the nation but they are necessary conversations to have because if we’re not informed, we don’t feel empowered to take action if we are faced with some emergency situation,” he said.
The event included 12 hands-on demonstrations where students could learn life-saving skills — including simulating driving under the influence, cooking meals with emergency food supplies and bandaging zombie bites.
Caroline Williams, a member of the South Orange Rescue Squad, ran a swift water rescue demonstration, which included teaching participants CPR.
"We always try to teach CPR to as many people as we can anywhere we go because we know that if bystanders don’t start CPR right away," Williams said, "we aren’t as able to help when we get there in our ambulance."
Hayley Black, a UNC sophomore, said she appreciated that the event took place in the Pit because it drew the attention of people who might not have already known it was happening.
Black said the event taught her that being prepared for any situation can help mitigate problems as they arise.
"I think that I’ve just learned that I should be aware of my resources and kind of have an idea of what I would do in different natural or human-made disasters," she said.
Kelly Drayton, assistant chief of emergency management at the Chapel Hill Fire Department, ran the department’s booth and talked about fire safety and fielded questions from students.
She said the festival had a great turnout and she appreciated the opportunity to participate.
“There’s also a really tangible practical element that it’s just a chance for (students) to come out and see all the resources, all of the different tools they have access to and hopefully learn a little bit about various organizations they didn’t maybe know about,” she said.
Those who wish to learn more can visit the Campus Safety website.
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