(NaturalNews) Blasting hordes of attacking zombies to bits is the stuff of fantasy movies and video games, right?
Apparently not, according to recent reports which say that a California-based security firm called the HALO Corp. will incorporate training on how to fight the undead during a counter-terrorism summit Oct. 29-Nov.2 that is expected to draw 1,000 participants from the military and law enforcement agencies, as well as medical personnel and government workers, NBC News reported.
"The Zombie Apocalypse is very whimsical," said Brad Barker, president of HALO, who said the addition of zombies to the curriculum is intended to add a little levity to otherwise extremely important, and more dire, scenarios, MilitaryTimes.com reported.
The company was founded by former special operations, national security and intelligence personnel. The five-day annual summit will be held at the firm's 44-acre Paradise Point resort island off San Diego's Mission Bay.
No 'Zombie Apocalypse' but pandemics are real
The summit this year will also include more realistic tactical training in an environment using "Hollywood magic" in live-action demonstrations and realistic tactical training scenarios - all accompanied by classroom education as well.
The immersive, creative Hollywood-type sets will include a pirate's haven and a Middle Eastern village, according to reports. More than 30 courses cover everything from maritime and border security to modern warfare and cyber terrorism, according to promotional material put out by HALO.
A number of high-profile officials, including retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, a former CIA and National Security Agency director, as well as Mexico's interior secretary, Alejandro Poire Romero.
Barker's "Zombie Apocalypse" scenario comes from a phrase which became popular last year following a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention campaign "aimed at underscoring the importance of being prepared for major emergencies, natural disasters and pandemics," MilitaryTimes.com said.
In the CDC program, fictional zombies (are there any other kind?) are utilized to make the point that Americans should be ready for any emergency, even the kinds of emergencies that, hypothetically, could result from a brain-eating virus pandemic.
Fun subject addressing serious subject - Preparedness
Zombies are also featured in a 40-page, CDC-produced comic book which takes a lighthearted look at a serious scenario: A mutated virus which spreads quickly, forcing the government to send out the military to maintain order while infectious disease specialists search for a vaccine.
Not to be outdone, Navy Times got into the act as well; the service branch has published an equally comedic "zombie war deployment guide" in its Aug. 1, 2011 issue, in which the paper examined various gear and tactics that "experts" said were essential to successfully target the undead.
Despite the addition of zombie scenario contrasts with more serious ones featured during the summit, Barker noted. There will be incidents featuring active shooters inside a hospital, as well as downed pilots who are trapped behind enemy lines - but the pandemic medical nightmare scenario is almost guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser among attendees, he believes.
"They are going to see a lot of stuff go down. It is a Hollywood production," Barker said.
Real-world situations are, of course, the highlight
During the scenario, zombies will roam the island harassing troops, first-aid teams and other medical responders who are participating, said the HALO chief, though he declined to give out details. He would only say that the idea is aimed at challenging local officials and authorities as they respond to extreme, real-world conditions in which people are likely to become violent, crazed and out of control, creating widespread fear and chaos.
Obviously, zombies are not real, HALO notes, but the emergency situations introduced and taught at the summit certainly are. The event will feature lessons learned from real terrorist attacks and real disasters, such as attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan and the deadly bombings and attacks in 2008 in Mumbai, India. Cyber terrorism will have a leading role during the event, Barker said.