In the 2012 remake of “Red Dawn,” America wakes up to find that the national power grid has been crippled by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) strike and Russian-backed North Korean troops have invaded Spokane. Such a doomsday movie scenario may seem unlikely, but Hawaii came too close for comfort on January 13 when the state government sent out a ballistic missile alert. After 38 minutes, the alert was called off and reported as an alleged false alarm, raising questions about disaster preparedness which the U.S. Senate is currently investigating, CNBC reports.
As the Hawaii episode illustrates, scary movie scenarios can happen in real life, and you can’t necessarily rely on officials to protect you and your loved ones. While movies may be fiction, they can serve as useful thought exercises for how to respond in a similar situation. Here are three scary movie scenarios that serve as useful training exercises for practicing preparedness.
Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse
If you think zombie apocalypses only happen on “The Walking Dead,” think again. The zombie apocalypse scenario, first envisioned in “Night of the Living Dead,” is one of the contingencies the U.S. Department of Defense has planned for. The Counter-Zombie Dominance Plan, known as CONPLAN 8888-11, is used by the Pentagon as a training exercise to train troops how to survive against a potential incursion of unconventional enemies in real-life hotspots.
The military’s counter-zombie plan pursues a three-step strategy: protect humanity from zombies, eradicate the zombie threat and restore law and order. For civilian purposes, surviving a zombie-type threat starts by following the Rule of Threes, says the Zombie Research Society. The Rule of Threes for survival states that you will die in three minutes without air, three days without water and three weeks without food. Make sure you have a supply of clean drinking water and nonperishable food to sustain you through a potential disaster. Know how to purify water through means such as boiling, distillation, UV light devices, solar water disinfection, iodine tablets, or bleach. Keep a supply of survival foods and nutritional supplies such as powdered drink mixes, freeze-dried meat and poultry, canned fish, grains, nuts and dehydrated fruits. Water and food should be part of a more comprehensive disaster supplies kit.
Surviving American Horror
In the seventh season of “American Horror Story,” the episode Charles (Manson) in Charge recreated the Tate killings, one of America’s most notorious murders. The killings saw a group of Charles Manson cult members led by Tex Watson murder bystander Steven Parent and Hollywood home occupants Sharon Tate, her unborn child Paul Richard Polanski, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger and Voytek Frykowski.
In the real-life incident, Watson, who had previously been in the residence, cut the home’s phone wires. He then had driver Linda Kasabian park the group’s car at a distance before climbing an embankment near the property’s gate, fearing the gate might be electrified or guarded by an alarm. At this point, the group was surprised by Parent’s headlights. Watson ordered Parent to stop, slashed him with a knife, and shot him to death. Watson then cut the home’s window screen and let accomplices Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel in through the front door.
Once inside, Watson besieged a sleeping Frykowski on the living room couch, kicking him in the head, while Atkins and Krenwinkel rounded up the other victims and brought them into the living room to tie them up. When Sebring protested their captors’ rough treatment of Tate, Watson shot him, then stabbed him to death. Frykowski managed to free himself and put up a tremendous struggle before being brought down by two shots, multiple gun butt blows to the head and 51 stab wounds. Meanwhile, Folger managed to escape out a bedroom door and made it as far as the front lawn before she was tackled and stabbed 28 times. The group then stabbed Tate 16 times.
The Tate killings illustrate the nightmare that can follow from a home security breach. The first line of defense against a break-in is a home security system. While wired security systems can be cut, just as Watson cut the Tate home’s phone lines, wire-free security cameras have no vulnerabilities in this area, and can be placed anywhere on your property to provide surveillance which you can monitor remotely. In conjunction with motion sensors, lights and alarms, this can provide you with an early warning of intrusions and help summon authorities sooner than later. A complete home security set-up should also include deadbolt locks, interior door hinges, metal bolts for sliding doors and window protection. Window locks, burglar-resistant glass and small panes of glass instead of large ones can keep burglars from slipping in through windows as Watson did.
Four decades ago, Michael Myers waded through Haddonfield, Illinois, leaving 14 bodies in his wake in his quest to kill his sister Laurie Strode, played by Jamie Lee Curtis in the horror classic “Halloween.” Myers lured Strode into a neighbor’s home, where he slashed her shoulder and injured her leg. He then chased her down the block to break into another home and corner her before she was able to temporarily fend him off with improvised weapons long enough for armed aid to arrive. Six point-blank shots sent Michael over the balcony, where he disappeared into the night to continue his rampage.
This year, Michael’s back for another sequel, and Laurie isn’t taking any chances: she’s been practicing to shoot with a .357 Magnum. In the event an intruder does breach your home perimeter, a firearm is your best protection. The NRA recommends learning point shooting for self-defense situations where there is no time to aim carefully. In the event you’re unable to reach your firearm, learning hand-to-hand fighting skills and use of improvised weapons is also recommended.
Storing up for emergencies, installing a security system, and practicing self-defense skills are three strategies that can help you survive real-life scary movie scenarios. You may never have to deal with a real-life zombie apocalypse, break-in, or self-defense situation, but in the even of a worst-case scenario, your best protection is to prepare.
Roy Rasmussen, coauthor of Publishing for Publicity, is a freelance writer who helps select clients write quality content to reach business and technology audiences. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies and bestselling authors. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing, and career planning.