If zombies do eventually strike in Quebec, the province's public security department wants to be ready.

Participants at an annual symposium on civil security next week will be discussing how to handle a zombie attack in the province, among other topics.

The zombies, of course, are hypothetical.

But a ministry spokesman assures the zombie exercise has a serious purpose: the living dead-themed drill is meant to illustrate a real-life catastrophic event.

The idea behind the exercise is that if you're ready for zombies, then you're probably ready for any other disaster that may strike.

Hypothetical zombie attacks have been used in exercises on emergency preparedness in the United States.

Last May, British Columbia conducted a similar exercise, offering tips on how to prepare for and fend off a fake zombie apocalypse.

The B.C. government said at the time that it hoped the exercise would generate awareness of social media tools that could help the public in real emergencies.

A 2009 research study by students at the University of Ottawa found that the spread of a zombie-like pandemic would likely wipe out the human race.

That study, based on mathematical disease modelling, found that early response would be humanity's only hope should the world be ravaged by a similar infectious threat.

With files from CBC News