Zombies now part of Red Cross readiness

Gag website aims to reach youths

The Red Cross assists people in all sorts of emergencies. So why not the zombie apocalypse, when the undead are staggering around the streets?

That is the premise behind a tongue-in-cheek website launched by the Red Cross that has the twin goals of having a little fun and getting people more prepared for natural disasters.

"Everyone should be prepared, the elderly, the young, those with different ability," said Kat Powers, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts, emphasizing the importance of "go bags" or self-made kits that contain emergency equipment in case of an evacuation or other situations. "If you need to evacuate for any reason, tsunami, zombies, hurricanes, you should have a go bag."


Powers said although everyone's "go bag" will vary, it should still have the basics: food and water, medications, flashlights, batteries, cash, as well as copies of medical, military, and legal records.

After hearing about urban legends detailing the end of the world in December as predicted by the Mayan calendar, the national Red Cross launched its SavingZombies website, which contains information on what do in various emergencies, a "go bag" video contest, and a "survivor's journal." The site is ­savingzombies.com.

Red Cross officials say they hope the site will catch the eye of a younger demographic.

"We have a wonderful organization that was founded in the 19th century, but we're still working to find our way in the 21st century," said Jarrett Barrios, regional Red Cross chief executive. "We need to figure out how to get millennials to engage with our mission at the Red Cross."

Both Barrios and Powers said that it is important to get young people involved so they can carry the organization into the future.

"We want people in their teens and 20s to be as excited for the Red Cross as people in their 50s are," Barrios said, adding that in the last six months, the organization has made bringing in volunteers one of its top priorities.


Sarah N. Mattero can be reached at sarah.mattero@globe.com.