When the feet-dragging, flesh-craving hordes of the living dead descend upon your street, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants you to be prepared. The same goes for hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, or any other more common natural disaster that may also strike your community.

In an amusing and clever article on the CDC's weblog, Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan warns that a zombie apocalypse is just one of the many emergencies you should be ready for. It's all tongue-in-cheek and perhaps the most engaging way the CDC has tried to convince people that its time to put together an emergency kit.

"So what do you need to do before zombies … or hurricanes or pandemics for example, actually happen?" Khan asks. "First of all, you should have an emergency kit in your house. This includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp (or in the event of a natural disaster, it will buy you some time until you are able to make your way to an evacuation shelter or utility lines are restored)."

I might also suggest adding a flamethrower, sawed-off shotgun, and a remote-controlled car to distract the zombies while you gather the family into the minivan. Don't forget the extra fuel too — and nets. Zombies hate nets.

Khan says that the CDC decided to take this unorthodox approach to promoting survival kits simply because the old messages just weren't getting through. "We were talking about hurricane preparedness and someone bemoaned that we kept putting out the same messages."

Taking this promotion one step further, Khan dissects exactly what the CDC might do if the living dead really did start munching on us.

If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak. CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation. This assistance might include consultation, lab testing and analysis, patient management and care, tracking of contacts, and infection control (including isolation and quarantine).
Of course, fans of AMC's "The Walking Dead" series know that in Season One, the CDC in Atlanta does comes up empty — and is ultimately spectacularly disintegrated in a massive explosion. Zombies 1, Humanity 0.

It's also been largely reported that the end of the world will happen this Saturday, May 21 — so conspiracy theorists may also read Khan's timely article as a warning that doomsday is near. You might want to pre-order that flamethrower.

Remember, MNN also has your back. Once you've got that emergency kit packed, be sure to check out even more tips for surviving the zombie apocalypse.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Zombie apocalypse? The CDC wants you ready
Center for Disease Control and Prevention uses our fascination with the living dead to get everyone prepared for a real emergency.