A zombie outbreak in Douglas County isn’t likely to happen anytime soon, but local volunteers got a taste of what that would be like Thursday night.
About 50 victims — played by area Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and their parents — helped re-enact a disaster scenario to complete this season’s training of the Community Emergency Response Team.
Officially, the disaster scenario was a tornado, but the victims were allowed to walk around as zombies for a few minutes at the end of the exercise.
There were children with wounds painted on their heads and arms. Some had makeshift splints given to them by CERT volunteers. Others had triage flags marking them. Green for walking wounds, yellow for slight injuries, red for severe injures, and black for those who probably won’t make it.
The zombie angle was a way to get the children excited to help out, said organizers. It was also in homage to the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, which cheekily named October Zombie Preparedness Month.
“It makes a huge difference for our volunteers to have victims, especially noisy victims,” said Kate Dinneen of Douglas County Emergency Management. One victim in particular stood out. Morgan Shockley received a round of applause for her performance after the exercise, where she put the trainees through their paces. Shockley would scream for help, then scream at volunteers to go away. She tried her best to make volunteers lose their cool.
“She was calm compared to what you actually see,” said her father, Will Shockley, who has seen some tough situations as a volunteer with Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical.
CERT, a volunteer-based organization, coordinates with emergency response crews when disaster strikes. Those who received a certificate Thursday completed eight weeks of training, with the aim of making them ready to help if an emergency occurs in their neighborhood.