Crazy Prepared: Real Life

  • Zombie Squad is a disaster preparedness organization that uses the Zombie Apocalypse concept as a metaphor for the importance of preparing for a natural disaster, on the precept that if one is prepared for the total collapse of civil order due to an invasion of the living dead, one is prepared for anything. People being prepared for a zombie invasion is completely justified, since no rational human being could scrape together a plan of action while being chased by the ravenous undead, and thought experiments like this can help people think on the fly for when real unplanned trouble starts. Leicester City Council could learn a lot from them.
  • The Center for Disease Control, a part of the U.S. government, just launched a zombie preparedness campaign.
  • High school debaters. They have to know their case inside and out, and be ready to deal with anything and everything the opposing team can and will throw at them. The most common flaw in these teams is expecting their opponents to be too clever, which leaves them less prepared to deal with the basics. Truly prepared debaters carry rolling file cabinets with them containing research on the topics that might come up (usually major news items).
  • Alpha Disaster Contingencies a.k.a: The Rubicon take a more Cozy Catastrophe approach to disaster preparedness. Even the basic guides on the publicly available part of the website are impressive in terms of demonstrating a lifestyle which is reasonably comfortable, yet still viable in the event of a major disaster.
  • This is sort of Truth in Television: the U.S. government does in fact pay people to come up with plans for any possibility — global flooding, alien invasion, etc. One of their contingency plans addresses the possibility of an attempted takeover of the United States of America by the Girl Scouts. Seriously... how would you plan to convince an army to start firing on elementary school girls, even ones that are undeniably murderous?
  • All modern militaries will do this (perhaps not for the most extreme examples, but still). Well into the 20th Century the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom maintained plans for war between Canada and the U.S., the U.K. and the U.S., or the U.K. and Canada against the U.S., even when the actual possibility of anyone actually considering such a war seemed stupid. On the other hand, the Pacific War in World War II largely proceeded in accordance with plans the U.S. had in place since the 1920s for just such a situation. To a large extent, these are the results of training courses in various military command colleges, since the best way to teach officers how to draw up plans is to have them draw up plans, and the best way to teach them to think outside the box is to confront them with highly unlikely, or even completely absurd scenarios. Once you have the plans, well, it doesn't cost anything to hang on to them, and you never know; even if the specific event is ludicrously impossible, there might be aspects to it that turn out to be useful. Also, the plans for the U.S. going to war with Canada most likely weren't done so much because they anticipated it, but to make the more seriously-made plans (those involving Germany and Japan) less controversial.

    The US had gone to war with Canada (or, rather, some bits under the rule of the British Empire that would become Canada later on) in 1812, and burnt its capital to the ground. Due mostly to a failure to plan, prepare, and consider who and what was really on the opposite side, the US failed in the invasion, and the US itself was subsequently invaded by British regulars who did surprisingly well (including burning down Washington, D.C. and attacking Baltimore and New Orleans). However, Admiral Sir David Milne wrote to a correspondent in 1817 that should the US declare war again, the British couldn't afford to even try to defend Canada.
  • In the 1890's or 1900's one British officer decided to combine a cycling holiday in France with some amateur spying in case war ever came between Britain and France. His preparation ended up being useful in defence of France in World War I.
  • While researching for World War Z, Max Brooks consulted with a great number people in various areas of emergency planning, and to his surprise nearly all of them had in mind at least some type of zombie contingency plan (even if not official). More in the "Literature" section above.
  • As referenced in Wikipedia's page on Scotland, the plan to invade Canada evolved during a time when Canada was still part of the British Empire. It was feared that a successful conquest of the British Empire would require an occupation of Canada to prevent an invasion by a hostile military force.
  • There are training exercises involving an assault by ghosts. The purpose is to encourage out-of-the-box thinking and to teach command initiative in a surprise situation where no one has any idea what to do by the book.
  • One example of the "alien invasion" preparations was shown on a Discovery Channel special. One federally-issued emergency services manual includes directions on how firemen and paramedics should respond to a flying saucer crashing into a kindergarten. The manual also apparently warns about psychic assault, radioactive materials, etc.
  • However, NASA has not created a plan for dealing with the impact of a large meteor, which even they have admitted is relatively likely (compared to other entries on the list). More like they haven't settled on any one plan. They're certainly discussed numerous possible methods of dealing with one, they just know they can't possibly determine which response is appropriate until they actually know something about such a hypothetical meteor's structure or trajectory.
  • Freeman Dyson's son has however been in contact with people in NASA that keep the knowledge on Orion systems around. Turns out a project he was working on compiling interviews and data from the now mostly dead scientists had over 2,000 pages of documents purchased by NASA just in case. Project Orion was a project to use nuclear bombs, several per second, to propel a space craft. In theory, the ideal ship is a hemisphere-and-a-half mile in radius with six feet of solid steel. It's considered our only real hope in taking out a killer meteor or hostile alien spacecraft. Nuclear bombs, plural. Carl Sagan noted it to be the best possible use for our current stockpiles of weapons.
  • This is actually official policy of the United States Coast Guard, mainly due to their extremely-broad set of responsibilities: Everything from enforcing pollution restrictions and inspecting vessels for safety compliance to fighting heavily-armed drug smugglers and responding to shipwrecks, hurricanes, and every other conceivable maritime emergency. And that's just its peacetime responsibilities; in wartime, it can be made part of the Navy. It's all summed up in their Badass Creed Semper Paratus, Always Ready.
  • An extended discussion on what to do if you went back in time and had to prove your identity to your past self was held on E2, and the consensus was to, at that very moment, think of a password. Your future self will then tell you it, since he is from the future, and probably remembers that day people from the future showed up. That only works if time travel runs as a Stable Time Loop. Otherwise the appearance of your time traveling future self changes history; any password you think up after he appears is not part of his own past.
  • The motto of the Boy Scouts of America, as well as several other Scouting organizations (up to and including U.S.S.R. Pioneers), is "Be prepared." — derived from the original British Organisation's motto. The founder of the Scouting movement, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, was once asked "Be prepared for what?" His reply was "Why, for any old thing." Hence, many troops will occasionally have the odd scout that is prepared for anything. Ran out of lighter fluid for the camp stove? Don't worry, this guy brought another lighter. Did a boy break his arm while playing on the rocks? Don't worry, this guy happens to have splints and gauze in his day pack.
  • Norway has taken this to heart with the construction of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which stores seeds of various plants in the event of a major regional or worldwide catastrophe. Wall-E would be proud.
  • The moon as a backup drive for human civilization.
  • There's a book out there that details how to deal with a robot uprising, with information from experts in robot technology.
  • Asimov actually created the three laws of robotics and mandated that they be used in his fictional repertoire to eliminate the possibility of this. Said possibility of robotic uprising is discussed many times in the course of his many books and short stories.
  • In World War II, the British government had Clan MacLeod prepare to summon a magical army of wish-granting fairies to save the world in the event of amphibious German invasion. Because why not?
  • In the same vein, the British Government had a load of witches go up above the cliffs at Dover and perform a ritual known as a Pyramid Of Power to (somehow) stop the expected sea-borne invasion. It can't hurt, right? And letting people who are inclined to believe in such things take such measures ensures they're not panicking or spreading morale-destroying rumors, instead.
  • "Portable" applications for flash drives seem like a digital version of this trope. While hauling around an anti-virus, computer diagnostic tools, web browser, and IM messaging software is sensible if you use public computers often, the full app catalogue includes a digital planetarium, web server, and a DVD menu authoring tool "on a stick."
  • Portable Apps is not Crazy Prepared enough. How about a full operating system with all that plus diagnostic software, password recovery and all other hacking tools? Slax is all you need.
  • Explorer Roald Amundsen was famous for his preparations, which tends to make his part of the "race to the pole" seem a little dull. In addition to carrying and stashing far more supplies than he would need (and setting out flags ten miles to either side of his depots), before he ever left Norway he developed a recipe to use "just in case" he had to feed his dog's food to his men. He also had a plan to feed his dogs themselves to his men (and the other dogs); this, unfortunately, was not "just in case," but was his intention all along and he did eventually carry out the plan. Hey, don't look at his Other Wiki page like that. Dogs are a good source and biological factory of certain vitamins, since they produce them naturally while humans need an external source. By intending all along to eat the dogs, you need to bring along less supplies (but still, apparently, an excessive amount) and also provides extra insurance against scurvy (vitamin C deficiency). Both of these helped Amundsen succeed where those before him had failed, died, or, usually, both. It's also worth noting that most of the expedition was made with what sums up to a stolen ship and a kidnapped crew (he had both on the condition of going to the opposite pole and changed course underway).
  • Robert Falcon Scott on the other hand, did not prepare as well. Well, he prepared, but he was carried away by the romantic ideals of the gentlemen explorer and sincerely believed that at the end of the day, it would be his indefatigable British spirit and on-the-fly thinking that will carry him through to victory. What really came back to bite him during his fatal trip was that he somehow felt that the expedition would be considered invalid if he and his men did not bodily haul most of their gear: that having too many pack-animal was cheating. Amundsen, who presumably has taken note of Shackleton's voyage, had no such ideas and simply planned for survival. Nowadays, Scott's case is generally taught as what not do do when planning a mission.
  • Turned on its head in the real life anecdote of King Mithridates. Fearing poisoning, Mithridates began systematically dosing himself with every known poison, a little at a time until he could eat and drink in ease as his would-be assassins looked on. Unfortunately, he was eventually deposed and imprisoned, where he tried to commit suicide by, you guessed it, poisoning. As the poem goes, "Mithridates, he died old."
  • Many Australian 4WDers are crazy prepared when it comes to fuel and repairs, often making space for a decent chunk of a new engine should the need arise. Justified when you consider that the last vestige of civilisation was last week, and you're still a day from the nearest fuel stop.
  • Also seen in places in the Canadian and Alaskan Arctic. It's not unusual to see someone heading out of a community for a quick fishing trip to a lake 45 minutes away with their all-terrain vehicle loaded down with a rifle or shotgun, or both (cause, y'know, bears), a tent, extra fuel, food, a satellite emergency beacon, change of clothes, GPS... and this is going to a place with no trees and terrain flat enough that you can still see the community from whence you came. Although, in the Northwest Territories you're expected to be at least a little Crazy-Prepared. To the point where if you are stuck without gas a "reasonable" distance from a community, you have to cover the costs of emergency services to save your lazy self. "Reasonable" distance can be a couple of hours drive. Also in these regions, a storm can blow up from nowhere and keep you pinned down for days at a time. You'd BETTER be prepared to tough it out wherever you happen to be.
  • Catholic priests are trained to be prepared for anything that happens during Mass. There are guidelines on every eventuality, from what to do in case of gunfire to what to do in the event of an insect plopping itself into the Precious Blood. Probably a consequence of Seen It All. Also probably in part because priests are expressly forbidden to pause a Mass once it's progressed past a certain point for any reason until it's over. It makes perfect sense to give them some idea of what to do should case of events like the above occur. Or, in the case of medical emergency in the Church, the priest is permitted to pause the Mass for such time as is necessary to administer the Last Rites. If the priest himself is the subject of the medical emergency, the Mass will be paused until another priest can finish it.
  • These. Hey, you never know when a couple dozen feet of rope will come in handy!
  • Most American states now have "shall-issue concealed carry" laws, allowing ordinary people to get a license to carry a concealed handgun. Every day there are tens of millions of regular folks in the U.S. walking around in grocery stores and shopping malls with loaded guns, just in case.
  • This guy taught himself how to play his favourite piano piece with only two fingers, should he ever lose any in an accident. Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • During Q&A after a book reading, Patrick Rothfuss was asked about his views on circumcision. happened that he had an article he'd written years ago as a university student.
  • Walt Disney had the first seven seasons of Walt Disney Presents filmed in color, even though ABC only broadcast in black and white at the time. After color television became more common, networks could air the color versions of these episodes when showing reruns.
  • This is the aim of the survivalist movement.
  • Fortification is by necessity a discipline that is practically the Ur-Example of this trope.
  • The U.S. Food & Drug Administration, in charge of food safety in the U.S., is remarkably more prepared for all sorts of things than one might initially expect. MythBusters discovered this when they went to test the myth that one could use explosives to tenderize meat. Not only had the FDA heard of it, but they approved a method of doing so, with precise proportions of explosives, meat, and size of a water tank in which to perform this.
  • This trope is why everyone who lives in areas susceptible to natural disasters and/or far from population centers advocate having a survival kit.
  • The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems lists diagnostic codes used for medical billing. The 10th revision (ICD-10), due to go into effect October 1, 2014, includes unprecedented levels of specificity, including a code for being attacked by an orca.
  • To become an official London cab driver, one must pass "The Knowledge" - a test of every street and building within six miles of Charring Cross. Completing this test usually takes multiple years. It's been called the hardest test of any sort. To study for it, applicants spend hours daily riding on London's streets on scooters with mounted maps, taking in every landmark they can. When applicants take each of the three tests, they are asked to call out the best possible route between several sets of locations, with illegal actions (making an illegal turn, going the wrong way down a one-way street) being an automatic fail. Even Sat-Nav (GPS) systems pale in comparison with the navigational prowess of an official London cabbie.
  • Laws, in general, need to cover every possible variation of events that might occur, which is why most laws are so long. The United States Copyright law, for example, includes a section specifically addressing works created by animals or deities. (In short, they won't copyright such works, but the fact that they have a plan in place in case someone tries to register one is impressive.)
    Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition: The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants. Likewise, the Office cannot register a work purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings...