In 2004, Zack Snyder’s remake of “Dawn of the Dead” hit theaters.  Although there had been innumerable zombie movies before it, Snyder’s take on a zombie outbreak would launch zombies back into the popular lexicon and spark the new golden age of zombie books, movies and TV shows.  Though the craze has waned in recent years, “The Walking Dead” keeps the idea of zombies roaming the earth alive and well in popular culture.  The problem is, most of these movies and TV shows are written by someone with no practical experience in dealing with biological attacks or proper security, and as a result, we’ve been fed a steady supply of terrible ideas and poor tactics for dealing with a zombie outbreak.

While seemingly harmless, this indoctrination of zombie strategy could cost you your life in any real-world disaster scenario.  Both the Center for Disease Control and the Department of Defense have elaborate plans in place for a zombie apocalypse (or zombocalypse, as I like to call it after a few beers).  The government devoted actual man hours to the fictional scenario for one very important reason: the tactics utilized to fend off a zombie invasion would work for a number of real world scenarios.

“The document is identified as a training tool used in an in-house training exercise where students learn about the basic concepts of military plans and order development through a fictional training scenario,” Navy Capt. Pamela Kunze, a spokeswoman for U.S. Strategic Command, told CNN.

The CDC takes a similar stance on their own Zombie homepage… which you may be surprised to learn is a real thing: “Wonder why Zombies, Zombie Apocalypse, and Zombie Preparedness continue to live or walk dead on a CDC website? As it turns out what first began as a tongue in cheek campaign to engage new audiences with preparedness messages has proven to be a very effective platform.”

The U.S. Government isn’t trying to prepare you for zombies, but they see the popularity of zombies in culture as a means to get the kind of training Americans would need to survive a worldwide epidemic or an invasion of U.S. soil out to the public.  Unfortunately, they face an uphill battle because, no matter how witty the CDC may try to be, it’s hard to beat the sort of wish-fulfillment we see featured in most zombie movies.  After all, who doesn’t want to raid their local Walmart for ammo and supplies, skip work tomorrow and barricade ourselves in the basement with a DVD player and a skid full of Twinkies?

Maybe that’s just me.

So let’s take this opportunity to clear the air and identify three common tropes featured in zombie movies and television shows, and why they’re great examples of what not to do.

What not to do: