Are you ready for the zombie apocolypse? These folks are

Gary Elrod of Summerville poses next to his truck, "Zombie 2." By Andy Paras/staff

In the original post, I made a joke about how there isn't a government-funded zombie outbreak response agency but, as my editor pointed out today, there kind of is. I've updated the post below to explain it: 

Some people see Gary Elrod driving around the Lowcountry in his tan pickup truck - the one with the bloody handprints marked "Zombie Outbreak Response Team" - and dismiss it as a joke. Others have asked him if it's real.

To Elrod, a 31-year-old Air Force veteran from Summerville, it's a little bit of both. It's something that started as a joke between he and his daughter but it also has a "hidden meaning."

"If you're ready for a zombie apocolypse you're ready for any calamity that might happen," Elrod said.

That's also the philosophy behind a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social media campaign that is using the world's current fascination with the zombie apocalypse as a fun way to teach people to be prepared for any disaster. 

Get A Kit, Make A Plan, Be Prepared.

There are also groups spreading awareness, such the Zombie Response Team which releases YouTube videos with training tips and encourages members to start local groups across the country.

Anyone can purchase a wide array of zombie response decals on various sites online, which is why zombie response units have been spotted all over the world. While some people might slap a decal on their Prius or junker, others have taken it to an extreme, making their vehicles almost believable.

Elrod's truck contains some custom work from a client who made it look like people are trying to get out of his caged cab.

So while there is a comical side to it there's also a serious meaning behind it for Elrod, who saw families destroyed while deployed in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

"We get really comfortable with our lives," he said. "At one point or another they were very westernized. They lost it really quick and they didn't know what to do."

That's why he's always prepared, but he doesn't consider himself a Doomsday Prepper you see on TV.

"I consider myself an American," Elrod said. "Every person should have the ability to take care of their family."

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