Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Jakub from Bartlett, IL. Jakub Wonders, “What is CONPLAN 8888?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Jakub!

Picture it: It’s a Tuesday morning, and your alarm clock is ringing. Barely awake, you turn off the alarm and get out of bed. You stretch, take a deep breath, and get ready to face the day. You shuffle over to the window, open the blinds, and look outside.

The scene before you could be straight out of a scary movie. People are running in every direction. Smoke is billowing from a bad car wreck down the street. And everywhere—absolutely everywhere—there are stumbling, groaning creatures that can only be described as . . . zombies!

What will you do next? Do you have a plan? How will you keep yourself and your loved ones safe? Many families make plans in case of certain emergencies: flooding, injuries, or fires. But the zombie apocalypse? Who would think to plan for that?

Well, the U.S. military would. In 2011, it published Contingency Plan (CONPLAN) 8888. This plan lays out how the military should function in the event of a zombie invasion.

Wait. All this time, we thought zombies were the stuff of science fiction. Are they actually real? Does the government know something we don’t know? Well, yes—in fact, it knows many things that we don’t. But no, zombies aren’t real (at least, not yet).

Instead, CONPLAN 8888 started as a way for government planners to practice thinking outside the box. Their job is to plan for unexpected emergencies. They imagine asteroid collisions, alien invasions, and other doomsday scenarios. Then, they plan how the government should react to each situation. Planning for the zombie apocalypse started as a fictional exercise to expand their thinking.

What does CONPLAN 8888 include? Well, that depends on what kind of zombie the world is dealing with. The plan identifies several types—such as radiation zombies, space zombies, and even vegetarian zombies. Once humans know the type of undead creature they’re dealing with, it’s time to really get to work.

CONPLAN 8888 includes five phases of response. It starts with observation. Experts will learn how zombies spread and which areas are most affected. Then, the government can choose how best to inform citizens and use the military

The U.S. government will also need to communicate closely with other nations. This will lower the risk of attack from enemies. It will also keep the country’s allies aware of the situation. Then, the government will launch military strikes against the zombies. It will also put a plan in place to keep citizens safe.

Hopefully, CONPLAN 8888 will help bring the situation under control. Then, the military will help the country go back to normal. It will organize rebuilding projects. It will also work with civilians to restore public services. 

Are you WONDERing what you can do to prepare for a zombie apocalypse? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some tips for you. It suggests putting together an emergency kit. 

This kit should include one gallon of water per person per day. You should also pack extra food, medication, and hygiene products. A good emergency kit will also hold tools, clothing, first aid supplies, and copies of important documents

It’s highly unlikely that zombies will ever roam the Earth. But why not be ready? After all, an emergency kit could help your family out in many different situations, not just a zombie invasion. Talk with the adults in your family today about how you can better plan for emergencies.

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.SL.1

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