Zombie Squad, frequently abbreviated to ZS, is a community service and disaster preparedness organization that uses the metaphor of a "Zombie Apocalypse" or "Zombocalypse", as ZS calls it, for any natural or man-made disaster (hurricane, terrorism, earthquake, etc.). Horror fans who combined their shared interests of zombies and experience with disaster preparedness. It describes itself as an "elite zombie suppression task force ready to defend your neighborhood from the shambling hordes of the walking dead." Due to this and other tongue-in-cheek references to popular culture zombie movies and video games which are frequently military in nature, the organization is often mistaken for a semi-militant or satirical paramilitary organization .
Zombie Squad was created in St. Louis, Missouri in the summer of 2003. After watching the British horror movie 28 Days Later, a group of friends began discussing how they would prepare for a viral pandemic which turned massive segments of the global population into zombies, which in turn led to a discussion of other zombie movies and what these friends would have done differently in the same situations. This was the initial inspiration for Zombie Squad. 
The stated goal of the organization is to present disaster preparedness in a manner which allows for serious exploration of multiple worst-case scenarios, while still maintaining a sense of humor and remaining grounded in non-disaster life. ZS combines a large online presence via its internet discussion forum with community service and charity event participation to spread its message.
Since the initial conception of the organization in 2003, ZS has grown into a small cult phenomenon with thousands of members all over North America and members in countries all over the world, including the UK, the Netherlands, the Philippines, and Serbia among others. The success may be due in part to the synergy between two phenomena that have emerged in the new millennium: A resurgence of zombies in pop culture, with hit video games (Resident Evil franchise, Dead Rising, Stubbs the Zombie) and films (28 Days Later, Resident Evil series, Dawn of the Dead '04, Shaun of the Dead, Land of the Dead) combined with a renewed interest in disaster preparedness in the wake of natural disasters (2004 Tsunami in Indonesia, Hurricane Katrina) and high profile terrorist attacks (failed 2000 millennium attack plots, 9/11, 3/11, and the 7 July 2005 London bombings).
Zombie Squad's strict organizational refusal to adopt any one ideological stance has also helped to create a community which is open to people from all backgrounds and walks of life. This has also helped draw members who see the value in some measure of disaster preparedness but did not relate well to other survival enthusiast organizations.
Despite Zombie Squad's tongue-in-cheek nature, the members of the organization bring a surprising amount of experience ranging from civilian American Red Cross disaster response volunteers and emergency ham radio enthusiasts to professionally trained paramedics, firefighters and military personnel. 
The basic concept behind Zombie Squad is that zombies are a useful metaphor for a worst-case scenario; if someone is prepared to survive the complete societal collapse due to an uprising of the living dead, then he or she will be prepared for almost any real-world disaster or emergency conceivable. Or stated more simply, "If you can survive a zombie apocalypse, you can survive anything." The zombie metaphor was chosen for humor, originality, and as a bait and switch for horror movie fans, science fiction fans, gamers and others who otherwise may not be drawn to the idea of disaster preparedness or community involvement. Thus the claim on Zombie Squad's website that they are "an elite zombie suppression task force ready to defend your neighborhood from the shambling hordes of the walking dead" is to be taken in the playful spirit of the site and not literally. Site traffic for both the main page and the forums increases noticeably when high-profile zombie movies such as 2005's Land of the Dead are announced or released, attesting to the effectiveness of the zombie-metaphor as a narrative hook.
The bulk of Zombie Squad's disaster preparedness and survival information can be found in its forums. Additionally, some of this information makes its way to the main page and the Zombie Squad RSS (file format). The content of the forum is predominantly user-generated, and consists of a combination of information gathered from outside sources and personal experience. Collaboration between forum members transcends the forums proper, with members frequently joining together to perform "real life" activities related to preparedness (camping, mock "bug out" exercises, shooting range outings, etc.), take part in fundraisers, socialize, or team up in MMORPG such as Eve online and Urban Dead. The forums have an age limit of 18 to avoid the potential problems of having minors on the boards. Upon discovery that any new members are minors, their accounts are promptly disabled.
Zombie Squad has fifty-one official chapters at this time:
ZSC001 - St. Louis, MO ZSC002 - Pennsylvania ZSC004 - Northwest Arkansas ZSC005 - Washington ZSC006 - Southwest Virginia ZSC007 - Northern New York State ZSC008 - University of Pittsburgh at Bradford ZSC009 - Las Vegas, NV ZSC011 - Portland, OR ZSC012 - Colorado ZSC013 - West Texas ZSC014 - Gulf Coast Texas ZSC015 - San Francisco Bay Area ZSC016 - Metro Atlanta ZSC017 - Florida ZSC018 - Arizona ZSC019 - Northern Texas ZSC020 - Chicago, IL ZSC021 - Southern NJ/South Eastern PA ZSC022 - New England ZSC023 - Southern Michigan ZSC024 - Nashville, TN ZSC025 - Western Carolinas ZSC026 - Central North Carolina ZSC027 - South Central Alaska ZSC028 - Central Maryland ZSC029 - Northeast Ohio ZSC030 - Central Texas ZSC031 - Central Oklahoma ZSC032 - Southern Illinois ZSC033 - Louisville, Kentucky ZSC034 - Kansas City ZSC035 - Central Iowa ZSC036 - Northern Utah ZSC037 - Southern Maryland ZSC038 - South East North Carolina ZSC039 - Lexington, Kentucky ZSC040 - Greater New Orleans Area ZSC041 - Albuquerque ZSC042 - North Eastern Nebraska ZSC043 - Central Indiana ZSC044 - Greater Los Angeles Area ZSC045 - Central South Carolina ZSC046 - Southeast Virginia ZSC047 - Southwest Florida ZSC048 - Eastern Tennessee ZSC049 - Twin Ports MN/WI Area
ZSC003 - Southern Ontario
ZSC010 - United Kingdom
One of the first major events that ZS participated in was Archon in 2004. They hosted a seminar that dealt with basic disaster preparation under the guise of how to "survive a zombie apocalypse" which included the creation and use of a bug-out bag (or BOB), which they have continued to host annually at the convention.
Since its inception in 2003, ZS has organized charity events for organizations such as Meals on Wheels, American Red Cross , Youth In Need, Feed My People, Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean County, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Project S.H.A.R.E. and they have raised thousands of dollars for Hurricane Katrina relief and they've raised thousands of dollars for Greensburg, Kansas relief after the tornado on May 4th 2007.
They have participated in several flash mob-like events known as Zombie Walks to raise awareness for blood drives for the American Red Cross and local food banks. Their contributions to these charity organizations and events include the aforementioned zombie walks, zombie movie nights, trivia nights, Hotwheels car races, food collection, and holiday parties.
Other Community ActivityEdit
Zombie Squad's principal event is a convention known as ZombieCon. The first annual ZombieCon took place in June of 2005, and was staged in the style of a camping/hiking trip in Irondale, Missouri. ZombieCons consist of survival seminars, trips to a local shooting range, watching zombie movies and canoeing. A similar event called Wintergeddon  is held in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee, the first of which occurred on January 5th, 2006.
Due to the tongue-in-cheek nature of the ZS concept, someone who has not taken the time to read over the main page/forums in depth may mistakenly believe that Zombie Squad members are cosplayers or somewhat delusional, self-styled mercenaries, or even a militia group which believes in the existence of the walking dead. This has led to multiple instances of internet trolls spamming the forums with messages that zombies are fictional and that ZS members were suffering from mental illness.
- Brian is the official ZS mascot. He is a line art zombie featured on the red ZS T-shirt, one of the downloadable shooting targets and the ZS Neighboorhood Watch flyer. "Brian" is an anagram of "brain", as according to movie lore, zombies crave the brains of the living.
- HAPPY!!! Team! was a practical joke that was played on the ZS forums on April Fools Day. This resulted in the ZS logo being replaced by a giant animated smiley .gif. The words "Zombie" and "Squad" became the words "HAPPY!!!" and "Team!," respectively due to the wordfilter. Many people were amused and slightly disturbed by this when they first logged on.
- HAFU or "Human Advocates For Undead" has protested Zombie Squad at Archon. The group, who employs a similar tongue-in-cheek sensibility to ZS, is modeled after human rights groups, and fights to protect "the rights of those who have been denied the privilege of fully cognizant life" insisting that "zombies are people, too". Their members comprise friends of the Fear The Boot podcast. Fear The Boot conducted an interview with HAFU about the 2006 Archon protest.
- ZS Fleet. ZS has a fleet of vehicles, many of which have been modded and armored, like founding member Will's truck and a van. They also have several cars which are not modded, like this Crown Victoria, and this Mustang. These vehicles are a popular attraction at ZS events.
- Somethingawful featured Zombie Squad on its The Weekend Web in January, 2007. ZS was lampooned as being a role playing website whose members have not yet faced the fact that the zombie fad is over.