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Zombies and hurricanes? Author helps Army train with mock Norfolk landfall

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Posted at 4:27 PM, Apr 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-12 16:35:01-04

The author of several best-selling zombie apocalypse novels was featured as the guest speaker of a Hurricane Rehearsal of Concept event, hosted by U.S. Army North this week.

Max Brooks, the author of “The Zombie Survival Guide” and “World War Z,” spoke to a group at Fort Sam Houston.

Brooks credits “zombies” for bringing attention to preparedness in general and noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even has a “Zombie Plan.”

“For the first time, you have young people being interested in being prepared, being ‘tricked into’ taking care of themselves, really, because even if the zombie apocalypse does not happen, they will be ready for the next hurricane or next disaster,” Brooks said.

The event included Department of Defense and Interagency partners who brought together military and federal, local and state agencies that would be tasked with responding to a hurricane disaster.

A phase-by-phase hurricane scenario was a big part of the exercise. It involved two storm systems building to hurricane level and the potential landfall at Gulfport, Miss., and Norfolk, Va., which produced corresponding flood and wind damage in each region.

A mixed civilian-military team had to anticipate the storm’s severity, figure out logistics routes to get into storm-damaged areas, and plan how to assist flooded and powerless residents before turning the reins of control back over to local governments. According to Wired, that’s not exactly unlike the task in World War Z, which is to reconstitute civilization while managing the zombie problem.

“Most people don’t really understand what separates us from the abyss,” Brooks said. “You are — you are the people who separate us from the abyss. That’s why I am so humbled to be here, and it is why I am so thankful to get to listen to what you do and watch what you do.”

Meanwhile, World War Z has been rewritten for the big screen. The movie stars Brad Pitt and is expected to be released on June 21st.