The best way to get young people interested in emergency preparedness: zombies.

At least, that's what FEMA claims: last week, the group praised the CDC's "Zombie Preparedness" program as a great way to spread awareness of dealing with real-life disasters.

During the group's monthly webinar, FEMA's Dante Randazzo said—

Zombie-preparedness messages and activities have proven to be an effective way of engaging new audiences, particularly young people who are not familiar with what to do before, during or after a disaster. It's also a great way to grab attention and increase interest in general.

Bonus: you get to unnerve paranoid horror enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists. If the government doesn't consider zombies to be a legitimate threat, why do they keep warning us about the walking dead?

The CDC's zombie preparedness campaign began as a way to "spice up our general preparedness message." (Being ready for a disaster isn't sexy. You know what's sexy? Zombies.) FEMA believes that a similar campaign could be useful for teaching disaster preparedness and response. Copycats.

Of course, this could all backfire — too many zombie awareness campaigns and the next national disaster will be followed by a bunch of vigilantes taking up arms against their "undead" neighbors. But they'll also have an emergency kit with food and water, so maybe it's worth a little zombie panic?

Either way, let's hold off until after Zombie Awareness Month (October) before we have this debate.

[Image via AP/CDC]