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Bombproof Appliance

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A bomb shelter on a budget.

A bomb is about to go off while the hero is indoors. Where does he find refuge? Usually, either the bathtub or the fridge. Think about it as a completely different kind of Fridge Logic. This has been tested by MythBusters. Even taking cover behind a wooden table at 5' will prevent instantaneous death from the pressure wave, though death by shrapnel or other injuries are still on the table. For a similar fallacy, see Concealment Equals Cover. Of course, most of the time almost any cover will still be better than no cover — it's just that fiction often presents it as more effective than it's really likely to be.

If the explosive device is small, such as a hand grenade, the hero can throw it in a fridge. This has been tried by Mythbusters as well, and proved to be at least partially false: while the sides of the fridge offer some protection, the front and back will just turn into so much deadly shrapnel.

Subtrope of Artistic License Explosives. See also Bomb Disposal.


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    Film—Live Action 

  • Subverted in one short story where a child during the Cold War hears jetfighters flying low overhead and assumes that a nuclear war has started. He hides in an abandoned fridge and gets trapped there.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Inverted in Bones, where it's the bomb that's in the fridge instead of the heroes (Booth and Brennan)and it goes off when Booth opens the door.
  • The ol' cast-iron bathtub is used again in Castle, where it also serves as a Chekhov's Gun: a seemingly gratuitous shower scene establishes that Beckett is within diving distance of the tub.
  • Endeavour: Not exactly an appliance, but in "Harvest", Morse dumps a grenade inside a lead-lined drum intended to hold nuclear waste. The heavy drum acts as a sump and funnels the blast upwards.
  • In F/X: The Series, the good guys find the bomb inside the fridge, and stuff it in a cannon prop to direct the blast away from themselves.
  • Malcolm stuffs a grenade into the fridge in an episode of Malcolm in the Middle. It ends up destroying the kitchen, roof, and the refrigerator anyways.
  • Adrian Monk in an episode of Monk stuffs a grenade into the fridge, then opens up the fridge again to straighten the grenade.
  • MythBusters showed a clip of Monk and investigated the myth. They proved that the fridge offered some protection against the blast, but the front and back turn to deadly shrapnel. Later tests showed that such common items as a fish tank and a bed could potentially save one's life in the right circumstances.
  • On one NCIS, Gibbs survives a bomb blast that shredded the other person in the room because he was crouched down behind an industrial washing machine. Although he is seriously injured, the doctors conclude that the washer is the only thing that kept him from being killed.
  • Spooks. A briefcase bomb is delivered to the home of an SIS agent, but a malfunction in the security system prevents the family from leaving the house. In the end, they take shelter in the bathtub and survive the Cliffhanger explosion that apparently destroys the house.
  • In an episode of Stargate Atlantis, a bomb-disposal technician is seen dragging a chimney-like device on a trolley to take care of a tumor-bomb. Unfortunately, the bomb explodes seconds before it can be put inside.

    Video Games 
  • Played straight in Fallout 4's infamous "Kid in a Fridge" quest: a ghoulified child managed to survive 200 years trapped in a refrigerator, and is rescued (or sold to slavers) by the Sole Survivor.
    • The 4th game also has the Pulowski bomb shelters scattered around Boston; Large refrigerator-sized tubes with enough space to hold one person, mounted into the sidewalk. They aren't very effective. Some of them hold ghouls waiting to strike, and most of them have skeletons in them. Either they're totally worthless as budget fallout shelters, or they do work fairly reliably, but since radioactive fallout lasts a long time, the inhabitants will be trapped and die anyway.
  • Played for Laughs in Fallout: New Vegas: if one takes the "Wild Wasteland" trait, they can find a refrigerator just outside the starting town of Goodsprings that contains a skeleton with a fedora and a revolver as a Shoutout to the Indiana Jones example.
  • Heavy Rain. A bomb-analogue is about to go off in an apartment, and you can choose to hide in a fridge. It works. And you get a trophy for doing it.
  • In Spider-Man (2000), criminals realizing their attempt to rob a bank has gone pear-shaped attempt to blow up everything with a large bomb. Spidey realizes the nearby safe is tough enough to withstand it, thus tosses it in and runs for cover. It works.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Fruit of Grisaia: In Makina's route both her and protagonist Yuuji hide in a big refrigerator, not just from the agents raiding the building, but from the dust explosion trap that Yuuji set up.

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: A fridge survives an explosion that levels Doc's office, though no one was hiding inside it. The Alt Text for that page makes snarky reference to the Indiana Jones example, above.
  • Homestuck: When marooned on a moon that's about to get blasted, Jane takes advantage of the Felt's arrival to have everyone hide in Biscuits' oven.
  • The Order of the Stick lampshades this trope in Comic #900 after playing it straight.note 

    Western Animation 
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, Batman once hid in a safe to escape the Riddler's Death Trap. The Riddler couldn't figure out how he'd survived, Batman refused to tell him, and the final scene shows him back in Arkham obsessively demanding an explanation.
  • The Simpsons: In "Summer of 4 Ft. 2" when Homer buys illegal fireworks for the 4th of July, he accidentally shortens the fuse of an already-lit, massive one. He initially shoves it into the fridge, but then gasps, realising that the beer would be destroyed, so he moved it into the dishwasher, where it detonated.

    Real Life 
  • There are bombproof trashcans, designed to minimize the damage caused by a terrorist dropping a homemade explosive device into one by focusing the blast upwards, away from bystanders. They were a common sight in the UK during The Troubles and are still a common sight at likely terrorist targets like sports stadiums or railway stations. Inverted by the modern approach, which involves doing away with trashcans altogether in favour of transparent plastic bags on a hook; in theory, anything that looks like it might be a bomb is easily noticeable and the area can be evacuated in the event of a suspicious item being spotted. How well this works has yet to be put to the test.
  • Similarly, something you might include when digging a foxhole or some similar defensive fighting position is a Grenade Sump. It's a deep, narrow hole in the middle of your foxhole, working on the same principle as the bombproof trashcan. Bad guy tosses a grenade in your foxhole, you kick it into the hole. (Then hug the wall.)
  • There are also blast-proof refrigerators, used for storing volatile chemicals that may blow up even when refrigerated. note 
  • In the 1980s, the US Air Force bought and installed a $7,000 coffee maker on a jet. The reason the coffee maker cost that much? It was designed to withstand a crash that would wipe out the whole crew. In addition, the Air Force also has over a hundred fax machines that are built to survive an atomic bomb blast.
    • That last part isn't nearly as silly as it sounds. A nuclear detonation creates a massive electromagnetic pulse, powerful enough to fry integrated circuits and other electronic components that are outside the blast radius. (For example, the Starfish Prime high-altitude detonation disabled telephone systems in Hawaii, 900 miles away, and knocked out ten satellites.) In order to withstand such effects, much military communications gear and other electronics are EMP-shielded.
  • Bathtubs USED to be made out of heavy cast iron. If you're dealing with handgun fire or shrapnel/fragmentation and you jump into one of those tubs, you're golden. If you dealing with rifle fire... it can get dicey.
    • Makes a great backup option in case of a tornado. Naturally, a cellar is a better choice, but if it's a cast-iron tub or nothing, rub-a-dub-dub.
  • Adolf Hitler (along with most of the other people in the room) survived an assassination attempt by a bomb thanks to a solid oaken conference table leg in between. It was properly positioned by the bomber to kill, but one of the people present for the meeting felt it was unseemly the way the suitcase with the bomb was sticking out, and shoved it further under the table to put it out of sight.


Video Example(s):



Alex spawns a fridge, thinking it is a bomb, only for him and Ledger to deduce it is meant to be for protection FROM bombs.

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