http://hub.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071024/NOISE05/710240310 Published October 24, 2007 When zombies attack Christian Czerwinski | NOISE Imagine waking up tomorrow, switching on the news and hearing the anchor say that Lansing -- or even the world -- is being overrun with brain-eating zombies. No, we're not talking about the Halloween variety. The real deal. That means you won't be stopping at QD for that doughnut on the way to work. In fact, you probably won't be going to work ever again - well, unless your current job involves splitting zombie skulls. Forget filling out reports, you're probably going to spend your days either running away like a wuss or going toe-to-toe with reanimated mounds of flesh. Advertisement Do you know where your crowbar is? If your best buddy, your neighbor or your mail carrier came lurching toward you with a soulless look in their eyes, would you have what it takes to ice them? If the zombies attacked today, would you be ready? Would Lansing? Prepared for an invasion Lansing police and fire crews say they're ready for any attack on our fine city. Officials said Lansing wouldn't be taken by surprise and in a few hours could be armed to the teeth. "We have been doing mock disasters and cross training for several years," said Lansing Police Lt. Bruce Ferguson. "People can feel confident, if zombies start invading, we'll know how to close the streets. We can get chainsaws too. "If a swarm comes in on I-496 westbound, we'll block off the exits so they miss the city." City officials would not say if they've run zombie-attack scenarios. Mayor Virg Bernero could not be reached for comment. If the undead did attack, you'd have three options: come up with a detailed escape plan; cower in your basement and wait for help to come; or head out to the nearest store, buy a machete and .357 magnum, steal an SUV and start cracking craniums. Lansing resident Jen Wagner, 23, who says she's a "pretty good shot," said she'd probably go with the third option and spend her time putting bullets in brains. Despite their claims, Wagner has no confidence in city or state officials protecting her brain from being devoured by some undead vagrant. "Gauging how the Legislature had problems putting together a budget, they probably can't put together a plan to fight zombies," she said. Getting ready for the big one When the brain-hungry hordes come, you need to live by one rule: always be thinking. Max Brooks, author of "The Zombie Survival Guide" (and son of filmmaker Mel Brooks and the late actress Anne Bancroft), said you're never really safe. "You're not safe, you're just safer. You don't want to pick up your feet and pop a cool one," he said. "Use your head; cut off theirs." Brooks said it's wise to have a plan in place or you're probably as good as dead. Plan "A" includes not being a pro-active zombie killer ... at first. "Law enforcement will be the last to know, so you don't want to go out and start putting down zombies. You don't want a cop to come up to you standing in a pile of corpses with severed heads. Then you have to convince him that you're standing in a pile of zombies," Brooks said. Where to turn With the dead stinking up the place and lumbering down the streets in their tattered clothes, Lansing will activate the Emergency Operations Center or EOC, to serve as a central location for direction and control of the incident. That means there would be instructions on the radio and TV. If that didn't work, the police would drive around neighborhoods (provided the cops haven't been eaten yet) blaring instructions on a loudspeaker. Although you might not be able to stop the first zombie onslaught, you can prevent some of the outcomes, said Trent Atkins, Lansing's emergency management chief. "We would bring the seat of government and other agencies together to review the situation and make decisions of our tactics and strategies and what the long-term goals would be for full recovery," he said. Atkins estimates the National Guard could respond within a few hours, and federal troops could be on hand within six to eight hours. Contrary to what you might expect, officials probably wouldn't herd you into a bomb shelter, mainly because someone is bound to scream like an idiot and give away your location. "We'd probably tell people to shelter in their homes or nearest building with a low point," Atkins said. Man with a plan Peter McShane Lewis, 33, of Lansing, has had a zombie attack plan in place for 18 years. His 18-member group, the Zombie Attack Coalition, (ZAC, for short) is spread around the Michigan and Ohio area and has both short-term and long-term attack plans. And they're prepared for any variety of zombies, whether they move fast or slow. Lewis -- who has a cadre of weapons from an AK-47 to various shotguns and handguns -- already has his safe spot picked out if the zombies are runners: the Lansing Wastewater Treatment Plant. "The wastewater plant is perfect. It has only five employees, (has) caverns underneath and it's easily defended," he said. If everything deteriorates, 10 members of the group even have a suicide pact. "If it's fast zombies, it's every man for himself. When they're fast, things go down south fast," he said. Taking a stand According to Brooks' book, zombies are a result of a virus called "Solanum," which reanimates the brain of a dead body. Once everyone is aware of the threat and your neighbor is limping around repeating the word "brains" and trying to eat your uncle with the bum leg, Brooks said you shouldn't panic but be prepared to survive. "Your best defense against zombies is to get up to the second floor and destroy the staircase. You can always jump from the second floor. But don't expect help to arrive. Standing on a rooftop holding a sign is not going to do much if history has taught us anything," he said. Second order of business: don't try to play the hero and go around shooting the undead. All you need is a good machete anyway, Brooks said. "You don't want to be a gun-toting yahoo, but we need those," Brooks said. "We need the yahoos because they'll keep the zombies busy while we flee. When the dead rise, I'll be fleeing while Ted Nugent keeps them busy." Sarah Cruz, 22, of Lansing doesn't have a plan yet, but plans on taking up arms and smoking as many ghouls as she can. She's just not down for living in a city reeking of funky zombies. "I'd shoot them in the head and pretty much take all my angst out," she said while making the devil horns sign with her hand. So what else can you do to prepare? You can lobby. Brooks urges Michigan residents to write their congressional reps to get back the state's manufacturing base. "In a zombie outbreak, we can switch from cars to tanks overnight," he said. "We're not gonna be in good shape if we sell each other hamburgers. A generation ago, GM workers would come out swinging." More questions with zombie expert Max Brooks Q. If your friend gets bitten, should you just kill them right away? A. It depends on how much you like them and if they’re still useful until they die and turn. You probably want to take them out ASAP or send them on a dangerous mission so that way you’re not a murderer; you’re just letting them go first. Q. How long before you can come out of hiding after a zombie attack? A. It’s gonna be a long time. You better find a quiet spot in the Arctic and make your compound. Choose your group well. Unlike movies, the A-hole doesn’t always die. Q. If you’re bitten, do you just kill yourself? A. Do yourself a service or depending on your beliefs, just handcuff yourself to a radiator. Q. What are the signs you’ve been infected? A. A bite is a red flag. Despite what you see on Fox News, you can’t get the virus from a toilet seat or the air. You could get it from an open-mouthed kiss, but if you’re kissing a zombie, you have bigger problems. Q. If you have you a lot of firepower, will you survive? A. We have firepower but it’s a question of having enough. It has always solved our problems. We won Vietnam, we are winning now overseas (in Iraq) and it really helped against Katrina.