SEATTLE — In a time of a pandemic, threats of climate change and other looming crises, it may be comforting to know that King County appears to be one of the best places to weather a certain kind of disaster — a zombie apocalypse.
Inspired by the CDC’s Zombie Preparedness 101 guide — a lighthearted way to educate people on how to prepare for emergencies and disasters — a national lawn-care company dug through data to come up with their own ranking of the best cities in the U.S. for surviving a zombie apocalypse.
The analysis by LawnLove is based on a comparison of the 200 largest cities in the U.S. across 23 metrics, including the percentage of the population in good health, the number of military bases and hospitals in the region, the proximity of marinas and ports, and the accessibility to outdoor gear and weapons.
The analysis shows the Pacific Northwest would likely fare well, with Bellevue, Vancouver and Seattle placing among the top 10 cities. Portland also fared pretty well, coming in at 11th place.
It could be because residents of the Seattle and Portland metropolitan areas tend to be young, healthy and aficionados of exercise, getting significantly more than the national average. In fact, Seattle placed third behind Arlington, Virginia, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Portland placed ninth in last year’s fitness index by the American College of Sports Medicine.
The author of the survey also noted that having two well-prepared cities next to each other creates a stronger metro area. The top of the rankings was dominated by cities within a few miles of one another:
• Bellevue (No. 2) and Seattle (No. 6)
• Minneapolis (No. 4) and St. Paul (No. 7)
• Vancouver (No. 5) and Portland (No. 11)
• Fort Lauderdale (No. 9) and Hollywood, Florida (No. 10)
Maybe you agree with comedian and Seattle native Derek Sheen that a zombie apocalypse wouldn’t pose much of a threat in the Seattle area. “We’re all retail zombies anyway, working at tech jobs, warehouses and the consumer sector. We’re already dead inside,” Sheen said.
Or maybe you think that a zombie apocalypse spells doom for all, including people in the well-prepared Northwest.
Either way, a zombie apocalypse remains an unlikely threat. Thinking about it does, however, raise important questions of emergency preparedness. The city of Seattle says our region ranks No. 1 in the country when it comes to the number of hazards we face. The city has identified 18 hazards that carry the greatest risk to the city, including earthquakes and windstorms.
And regardless of the disaster, preparation is the key to resilience, both for individuals and for communities, according to King County Emergency Management.
“Communities that are the most resilient in disasters are communities where neighbors know each other and people help one another in the recovery,” said Kate Cole, a spokesperson for Public Health — Seattle & King County.
“People helping people is more fundamental than even government assistance, especially when resources are spread thin by a catastrophe,” she said.
Cole said the county’s experience during the recent pandemic underscored the need to bolster and harness the work already being done by existing community groups.
The creation of the Pandemic and Racism Community Advisory Group, which is made up of representatives from community groups, businesses and other government branches, is one way the county has sought to build networks and strengthen ties between people and policies, she said.
One way to prepare for a zombie apocalypse — or any emergency you might find yourself in — is to assemble an emergency kit.
Here is a checklist from the CDC, which recommends the following, at minimum:
• Water: one gallon per person, per day
• Food: nonperishable, easy-to-prepare items (minimum 3-day supply)
• Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
• Extra batteries
• First-aid kit (whistle, antibiotic ointment, bandages, face masks, gloves and reference book)
• Medications (7 day supply and medicinal dispensers if necessary)
• Multipurpose supplies (wrench, pliers, plastic sheet, duct tape, scissors, matches)
• Sanitation/personal hygiene items and bleach
• Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
• Cellphone with charger
• Family disaster plan (family and emergency contact information)
• Extra cash
• Emergency blanket, extra clothes, sleeping bag (1 for each person)
• Map(s) of the area