Zombies are big business and have been for the better part of a decade already. A lot of folks use the "Zombie Apocalypse" as their own personal inspiration for their emergency preparedness strategy. It can be a fun way to get yourself motivated, your adolescent kids involved and create good learning opportunities for everyone.
Zombie cake pops mean life in any disaster.
...there are a few major drawbacks in using the "Zombie Apocalypse" as a call to action for emergency preparedness when discussing the issue with extended family, friends and colleagues. Two of the primary problems is how it fosters incredulity and apathy.
Incredulity - "There are no such things as zombies..."
This is a big one. For a large segment of the population, when you conflate emergency preparedness with zombies their eyes glaze over. Suddenly you've taken what should be a serious dialogue about protecting your loved ones and community and turned your point of view into a wild-eyed survivalist fantasy (in their eyes). Of course you can explain to them that "zombies" merely represent a worst-case-scenario that's worth using as a goal to blah blah blah blah. By that time you're already fighting an uphill battle because you've already removed any sort of personal stake for them.
Sometimes I tell people what I do for a living and they laugh and start talking about zombies unprompted.
Advice: When you talk to people about the importance of emergency preparedness, talk about recent, real world events. It shouldn't take too much of a leap of imagination for them to realize that they too could be caught by unexpected flooding (Houston) or trapped on a frozen highway for 48 hours(Atlanta) with no food, no water and no help.
Apathy - "Well if it's the end of the world what am I going to do about it?"
If you start throwing around words like "apocalypse" it heavily implies a situation that is completely out of our control. So why even bother? At times I'm even reluctant to use the term "Disaster" because disasters seem so seldom and intractable. People fail to realize or just don't stop to think about the real possibility of the basic, personal emergencies that we can find ourselves in. Talking about the worst case scenario makes the problem seem too large to tackle and maybe it should be left to professionals.
Advice: Take it easy on the fire and brimstone. Again, make it personal. What happens if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and you're getting no bars on your cell phone? At the wrong time of year that could quickly become a life or death personal emergency that's completely unrelated to the end of the world.
Some folks just won't come around.
At the end of the day, whether or not zombies are involved, some people just aren't interested and that's ok. Maybe during the holidays you can give them an affordable starter kit to show them how easy getting started can be (such as a Runner or a Compact Survival Kit).
Otherwise, someday you might be making smores in your back yard with your family while the unprepared get herded around like an animal in the local sports complex turned shelter.
FEMA? Never heard of her.