No, I'm not having a meltdown here. And while the question is a bit tongue-in-cheek, it is serious...well, sort of, anyway.
Are you getting just a bit burned out on H1N1 planning and finding that people just aren't feeling the old fire in your exercises? Here's a new approach you might try - using zombies as a metaphor for pandemic.
Scot Phelps, Associate Professor of Emergency Management at Southern Connecticut State University, did just that in a presentation titled "Zombie Attack: Applying Business Continuity Professional Practices to Attacks by the Undead" at the 2009 Continuity Insights Management Conference. Phelps based his exercise on a novel, World War Z , and considered the global impact of a virus that turned infected people into zombies. You can find an article about his session,Zombie Attack by Buffy Rojas, in the May/June issue of Continuity Insights .
Shortly after I read the article, my friend Art Taber sent me a link to research done at the University of Ottowa: When Zombies Attack!: Mathematical Modelling of an Outbreak of Zombie Infection. I'm not sure what the genesis of the paper was but it is a serious scientific paper (meaning I could understand only about a third of it!) that demonstrates the use of mathematical modelling in the biological sciences.
So what's the point of all this? It's simple - sometimes our familiarity with a problem constrains our creativity in solving it. It's one of the reasons we use varied scenarios in our exercises. Using something unusual like zombies or alien spaceships (I used to threaten my San Francisco team with this scenario) can force you to take a fresh look at how you deal with crisis and reinforce the importance of functional planning versus scenario-based planning.
If nothing else, think of the fun you'll have!