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NOVA's Zombie Invasion highlights importance of disaster preparedness

Make a Kit. Make a Plan. Be Prepared. This was the message of the Zombie Apocalypse events held at Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale and Loudoun Campuses Sept. 24 and 25, respectively. The events were well attended despite damp weather and overcast skies.

Professionally-made-up Zombies lumbered across the campuses leading students to a central location where a festival-like atmosphere included free pizza and sodas, zombie-themed music, prizes, and students even had the opportunity to take Selfies with Zombies--including their provosts, Dr. Barbara Saperstone, Annandale, and Dr. Julie Leidig, Loudoun, dressed as the brain-eating monsters. They could also receive information on how to prepare for any disaster.

“Emergency Preparedness is one of the most important messages we have to give them,” Dr. Julie Leidig told Fox 5’s Beth Parker. “So even if I have to go this far to get their attention, I will do it.”

The important message of the event was not lost in the fun, however. Many students at NOVA are too young to remember the horrors of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 or had to endure the losses of a catastrophic storm. This helped raise awareness and make disaster preparedness a priority for them. It is so simple to just create a kit in case you might need it.

It is critical to make sure you know how to make a kit with non-perishable foods, medications, clothing items and other supplies you would need to carry you through a disaster; to make a plan of where your family should meet after an event or establish a single out-of-area point of contact in case of an isolated regional disaster; and to be prepared with a crank or battery-powered radio and flashlight, cash, copies of important papers you might need, etc. then you can survive many types of disasters.

“The main idea of the event was to let participants know if you’re prepared for a Zombie Apocalypse, you’re prepared for anything,” said Will Flagler, NOVA’s Director of the Office of Emergency Management and Planning. Flagler and the team worked for months putting together every detail of the very complex, multi-campus event, and it was a huge success.

For more on preparedness and the Zombie events watch portions of the events via NOVA’s YouTube Channel. Also look for the separate YouTube video of the Zombie Flash Mob!

Partners for this event included the American Red Cross, Barnes & Noble-College, Blair Dance Studio, Coca-Cola, Fairfax County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Fairfax County Department of Public Safety Communications (9-1-1 Center), Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, Fairfax County Health Department, Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management, Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Department, Loudoun County Office of Emergency Management, Loudoun County Animal Services, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Lisa Jett Creature Concepts and the Fairfax County Community Emergency Response Team Moulage Team.

Media Contact: Kathy Thompson | 703.764.0896 | kthompson@nvcc.edu

Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.