Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fairfax County CERTs Trigger Zombie Outbreak at NVCC Annandale

The United States government wants people to prepare for a zombie apocalypse, with their alleged reason being that if people are prepared for zombies, they're prepared for any disaster.   
Blood-spattered zombie on the NVCC Annandale campus. All photos by Donna Hosek (except where noted)

Whether you believe this is sound advice, or merely a cover story for an inevitable zombie outbreak masquerading as sound advice, we know that zombies catch people's attention and imagination, and can spur them to take preparedness measures in a way that warnings about more "mundane" disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes might not.

With this in mind, Northern Virginia Community College's (NVCC) Annandale campus enlisted the Fairfax County CERT Moulage (wound makeup) Team to provide zombie makeup for actors raising preparedness awareness on campus.

Moulage Lead Susy Ledgerwood applies zombie makeup to a participant.

Under the guidance of CERT Volunteer Instructor and Moulage Lead Susy Ledgerwood, the moulage team did its homework on the types of zombie makeup seen in popular shows like The Walking Dead and Dawn of the Dead, then adapted the supplies in their moulage kits (normally used to simulate injuries suffered by disaster victims) to create realistic zombie effects.

The results speak for themselves:

Once made up, the zombies shuffled across campus to participate in activities designed to raise awareness for National Preparedness Month.

In addition, members of the Fairfax County CERT Outreach team set up a booth to give participants and onlookers preparedness information, including how to build 72-hour emergency kits and develop disaster communication plans.

CERT Gary Nisker at the CERT Outreach booth at the NVCC Zombie Day event. Photo: Char Silberstein
CERT Outreach Lead Char Silberstein reports that they were nearly overrun by NVCC staff and students interested in learning more about the free preparedness and disaster response training offered by Fairfax County CERT.

With zombies still at the forefront of popular culture, and with Halloween fast approaching, CERT organizations looking to help raise awareness for preparedness might want to consider jumping on the zombie bandwagon and using their moulage skills to promote their CERT programs.

For more photos and videos from the campus zombie invasion, check out the Northern Virginia Community College Facebook page.

Update -- September 26: The zombie outbreak widened on Thursday, this time striking the Loudoun Campus of NVCC. Once again, Susy and Ginny of the Fairfax County CERT Moulage Team were on the scene. A reporter from FOX 5 DC captured video of the zombie invasion:

Joe Loong, volunteer Social Media Specialist for Fairfax County CERT, is an editorial content and community engagement consultant. You can email him at

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