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In Case of X, Break Glass

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Picture this: Alice and Ben are trapped in a panic room and Carl is having a nervous breakdown, Ben finds something sticking in a wall, a red box saying: "In Case of Crisis within a panic room, break glass." Naturally Alice and Ben oblige and break the glass with the tiny hammer.

Two different events can happen at this point:

The thing inside the glass is just what Alice and Ben were looking for to have Carl calm down. The panic attack within the panic room has been averted. And there was much rejoicing.

Or, the thing turns out to be totally useless, but it doesn't stop Alice and Ben from using it anyway. Somehow. And it either works or just makes the situation worse.

Has nothing to do with breaking glass sections of a boss enemy to destroy it.


In case of examples, read below:

    open/close all folders 

  • In Sonic the Hedgehog in Castle Robotnik after a power-cut Sonic and Tails are stuck in an Elevator and after ages of trying to pry off the emergency hatch with their hands they notice a box with a spanner in it designed to remove the bolts fixing the hatch closed.
  • Titan Empire: The Acolytes were made by Avalon in order to have a failsafe if the Empire turned against them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy's high school actually had a fire axe in one of these emergency glass cases by the door of the school. In the episode "School Hard", Spike actually broke the glass with *the face* of one of his own minions in order to get the axe.
  • Doctor Who: In "Fugitive of the Judoon", Ruth Clayton's Chameleon Arch is disguised as part of a fire alarm system in an old lighthouse. When she follows her Trigger Phrase instructions and breaks the glass, she is restored to her true self.
  • In the BBC Edutainment series Jigsaw, the O-Phone, which was used to summon incompetent superheroes The O-Men, was in a glass case labeled "In Emergency Break Glass". There was no hammer. The way to break the glass was to open the case, use the phone to smash the glass, then put the phone back before using it.
  • The Red Green Show episode "No Duct Tape" features an emergency supply of duct tape in a windowed box, complete with sign "in case of emergeny break glass". Unfortunately, when Red breaks the glass, the 50-year-old roll of duct tape crumbles in his hands.

  • A prison has a fire extinguisher in a glass cabinet labelled: IN CASE OF FIRE, BREAK. Next to it is a gun cabinet labeled: IN CASE OF JAILBREAK, FIRE.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Magic: The Gathering, Flavor Text for Boros Cluestone: "In case of fire, treachery, citywide riot, political upheaval, or worldwide societal collapse, break glass."

    Video Games 
  • In Icarus Needs, a key needed to progress is found in a box with a sign next to it that reads as follows: "Break Glass In Need of Key".
  • In Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, the duo finds a new wrench and a rock encased in glass next to each other. The wrench has a label stating "In case of emergency, break glass with wrench"; while the rock's states an complex logic puzzle that Clank is eager to solve before Ratchet breaks the glass and takes the wrench.
  • Thief II features an amusing variant: "In time of peril, breaketh glass."
  • Zork: Grand Inquisitor has a glass case marked, "In case of adventure, break glass." It contains a sword, map, and hammer. You can't just take the sword and map; you have to open the case, take the hammer, close the case, break the glass, then take the items.
  • At the very beginning of Unreal, there's a glass box with two medpacks inside of it below the end of the Vortex Rikers level, with the "Break Glass" text above it.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Doodle Toons episode "Fast Food Follies", Pip and Goldie feed a customer a burger that causes him to breathe flamesnote . To extinguish the flames, Goldie grabs an axe from in a nearby box labeled "In case of fire, break glass."

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • RedLetterMedia: After a Best of the Worst episode in which Max Landis made a guest appearance and brought Double Down, a Neil Breen film, as one of the three movies to review, the RLM crew kept another Breen film under a glass container in the studio marked with "In Case of Max Landis, Break Glass." After sexual assault allegations were leveled at Landis, the RLM channel de-listed Double Down, and the glass case was quietly relabeled "In Case of Emergency, Break Glass." The crew eventually did break the glass and watch the film when another film they had scheduled to review proved unwatchable.
  • The Review Team has this tippet in "Alone Against Snippit": 'In case of any sort of disaster, break the friggin' glass!'

    Western Animation 
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Decisions", Darwin swims to the door that leads to the water valve, but it is locked. Next to the door, he sees a case containing an axe in case of emergencies. Instead of breaking the glass to retrieve the ax, Darwin just uses the whole case to break open the lock.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: In one of the Cold Opens, Batman has to defend Abraham Lincoln from a steampunk-power-enhanced John Wilkes Booth (It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context). Blink and you'll miss Abe grabbing the axe from the rack marked IN CASE OF EMERGENCY OR CONFEDERATE CYBORG ATTACK.
  • In Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show, the Eds are trying to find a way out of Eddy's Brother's room when this happens:
    Ed: Look! (showing Edd and Eddy a red box)
    Edd: "In Case of Movie, break glass"?
    Eddy: Bingo! (breaks the glass with the tiny hammer) My bro's always prepared! (proceeds to reach for... a peanut; Eddy starts looking confused) A peanut?
    • Fortunately, the peanut contained the key to Eddy's Brother's car. The key did open the doors, but it failed to start up the car indicating there was no gas in it, or the battery died, etc.
  • Kenny and The Chimp: Professor XXXL's office has a box labelled "In Case of Swine Flu". It contains a chef sizzling bacon which scares away the flu.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Double Subverted in The Hardship of Miles Standish, John Aldin (played by Elmer Fudd) finds a glass case reading "In Case of Indians, Break Glass". He simply lifts the glass up and takes out the gun behind it... then he breaks the glass.
    • In Kitty Kornered, Porky takes out a gun from behind glass when he thinks he's being attacked by men from Mars.
    • And again in Bewitched Bunny, when Bugs Bunny finds himself cornered by Witch Hazel in her house, he finds a conveniently-placed wall-mounted box labeled "MAGIC POWDER" with the glass front reading "IN CASE OF EMERGENCY BREAK GLASS" complete with a little hammer on a chain attached to it. Bugs uses it, revealing a sort of small bomb or grenade which he hurls at Hazel, turning her into a female rabbit!
    • In "To Hare Is Human", Bugs has another mounted box around his bed marked In case of coyote, break glass. Inside the box is a Banana Peel, which he throws in front of the ladder that serves as the stairway to his hole. Once the coyote steps on the peel, his next stop is the Coyote Disposal and a date with gravity.
    • And finally, the later cartoon "3 Ring Wing Ding" has Cool Cat, who had been posing as a great fire eater while trying to evade hunter Colonel Rimfire at a circus, be forced to swallow fire at gunpoint, and in his rush to put out his smoking head, Cool Cat runs up to a case labeled "IN CASE OF FIRE BREAK GLASS", smashes the glass... and gets a bucket of water tossed at him, dousing the internal fire.
  • Brickleberry: In Case of Connie, Break Glass.
  • Family Guy:
    • In "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein", when a group of nuns get word of Peter entering a synagogue, they rush toward a case reading "In Case Of Heresy, Break Glass" and smash it to reveal rulers inside.
    • In "No Giggity, No Doubt", Quagmire worries that Courtney, a teenage girl he's about to have sex with, is actually his illegitimate daughter and breaks open a case to fetch an emergency DNA test (it's next to a case for an emergency HIV test).
  • In The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror V, Homer goes insane after being forced to go a long time without TV or beer. Marge runs across a glass case that says, "In Case of Spousal Insanity, Break Glass", where she finds a baseball bat.
  • An episode of CatDog has the titular character travel into an exotic land to suddenly steal the throne from Rancid Rabbit. Rancid goes back to a case that says, "In Case of Emergency, Break Grass".
  • In the ReBoot episode "Nullzilla", Phong has an extended Crazy-Prepared-plan for a godzilla-sized null monster ramapging through the city. This includes a large weapon in a case that reads "IN CASE OF GIANT NULL MONSTER THREATENING CITY — BREAK GLASS".
  • Rick and Morty: In "The Vat of Acid Episode", Rick's second vat of acid has a gun next to the oxygen tank with this label that Morty could use if someone were to use a ladle to test the acid.
  • In the Casper the Friendly Ghost short "Ghost Writers", there is a glass case at the Paramount cartoon studio reading "In Case If You're Fired—" and containing a gun.
  • In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Chester V has a box next to the FLDSMDFR that reads IN CASE PLAN FAILS BREAK GLASS. That box contains a large hammer used to.... break the glass containing the FLDSMDFR so he can grab it and escape.
  • Inverted in one episode of Ben 10, in which a giant lightbulb containing and powered by a swarm of Megawhatts is labeled with "In case of emergency, do NOT break glass".
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Bossy Boots", after Mr. Krabs passes out after hearing SpongeBob "fire" Pearl, SpongeBob breaks an emergency case containing a dollar bill to wave under Mr. Krabs' nose like smelling salts.
    Mr. Krabs: Is that a twenty?
  • A host segment from the Quick Draw McGraw show, Snooper and Blabber has the show's cast as volunteer firemen. Blabber is seen destroying windows with an axe. When Snooper asks what he's doing, Blabber replies "It says 'In case of fire, break glass,' Snoop!"

    Real Life 
  • In the olden days, fire extinguishers were often contained in cabinets like these in public buildings, equipped with a metal breaker on a chain to break the glass pane with. It's less used in new installations though, due to the dangers of broken glass shards, and such cabinets are now usually designed with a glass door on the front that can be pulled open.
  • In Europe, Australia, the United States, Canada and several other countries, fire alarm break-glass "call points" are still in wide use, designed so a small button or lever right behind the glass will be pressed when the glass is smashed, sounding the alarm.


Video Example(s):


In Case of Swine Flu

Professor XXXL's office has a box labelled "In Case of Swine Flu". It contains a chef sizzling bacon which scares away the flu.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / InCaseOfXBreakGlass

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