Zombies Are So Hot Right Now!

We think it’s a safe bet that many of us plan our Sunday night around AMC’s The Walking Dead.  SPOILER ALERT! Do you think Andrea is really going to take out the Governor?

The Walking Dead_1

TV shows, movies, games and flash mobs celebrating the macabre of the living dead have integrated zombies into our social fabric. 

But as life usually goes, there can be too much of a good thing.  Case in point, earlier this month there were several episodes of emergency alert system (EAS) equipment being hacked in different states, with the devices being used to send out false information; one of the most egregious being from a local news station in Montana announcing a “Zombie Attack” through its EAS system [Attention getting? Yes. Helpful? No.]

Protecting the integrity of the emergency alert system is extremely important as the emergency management community relies on this system to share life saving information.  If the public doesn’t take notice when EAS systems are used, then the public is vulnerable to risk.  That said, it is a serious matter when EAS systems are abused (or hacked, which is what happened in Montana).

A zombie flash mob. Photo courtesy of www.news-gazette.com.

A zombie flash mob. Photo courtesy of http://www.news-gazette.com.

Now back to the important stuff: zombies.  Rest assured, your friends at the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management would activate in full force and coordinate resources … Okay, let’s be real.  We do not expect a zombie-related emergency to ever happen!


San Francisco’s Resources to withstand a Zombie Apocalypse:

    • AlertSF: San Francisco’s text and email based alert and warning system, which DEM uses to issue public information messages about emergencies that may impact the safety of those who live and work in San Francisco.
    • 72hours.org: San Francisco’s emergency preparedness website with instructions on how to be ready for just about any emergency.
    • SF Heroes: San Francisco’s award winning smart phone app that is designed to educate about emergency preparedness in a fun, and game-driven way.  Check out our promo video:


Austin or Bust!

binary2_01Sure, the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (SFDEM) is a government agency, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t into social innovation. As early adopters of social media, we hold true to a cultural value that technology and how we as a society use it, should be integrated into the principles of emergency management  methodology (to meet the masses where they are).

This principle is why we are are going to Austin where we will participate in THE place for technology meet ups–the SXSW Interactive.  And this year SFDEM is hitting the Austin streets to stage our own meet up.

On Sunday, March 10 – SFDEM staffers will host Sh*t Happens: Technology and Disasters Meet Up. It’s an opportunity to catch the eye of technologists interested in civic technologies that aid populations during disasters. And don’t worry if you can’t make it – send us a tweet @em4sf or @UrbanAreaAlicia, use #diztech or just drop a comment on this post. We are happy to bring your thoughts to the group at large.  And be sure to let us know if you will be going, too!

Thank you for making this an opportunity to share and grow in the intersection of technology and disasters.