5 Emergency Drills That Went Horribly Wrong

The moment you stop preparing for the inevitable Mothra raid is the moment the inevitable Mothra raid starts preparing for you. So it's understandable when a school asks its students to participate in a fire preparedness drill, just in case they ever encounter the real thing. However, teaching them how to deal with a fire by setting their asses aflame would be ... somewhat less understandable. Here are five examples of what happens when people take the "pants on fire" approach to emergency preparedness.

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5
Russian City Stages "Death Cloud" Drill; News Forgets the "Drill" Part

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Siberia is the premier vacation spot for White Walkers and inattentive travelers who thought they booked a nice sunny trip to Iberia. It's also home to the industrial capital of Tyumen, which in 2013 was the site of an emergency response drill carried out by the Emergency Situations Ministry -- which is not from that George Orwell book, but an actual department of the Russian government.

Russian Federation
The full name, which we are not making up:
Ministry of the Russian Federation for Affairs for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters

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The plan was to test the nationwide emergency notification system by announcing a fake chlorine leak at a waterworks plant. Of course, in order to prevent Tyumen's 3.6 million inhabitants from completely losing their respective shits, the Ministry notified local news outlets of their plans to conduct the drill in advance.

So How Did It Go Horribly Wrong?

Said local news outlets took one look at the report, saw the word "drill," and tossed it aside in favor of more exciting stories about bear orgies, or whatever makes the news in Russia. The national media was a bit more on the ball: They noticed right away when the Emergency Situations Ministry posted details of the "incident" on their website ... with precisely zero mentions that it was only a drill. The online report gave every indication that this was a legitimate event, including the revelation that 55 people had already been killed, and that an enormous murder cloud was now making its way toward Tyumen to usher in a citywide apocalypse.

Igor Pivovarov
"Where are your bear orgies now, citizens of Tyumen?!"

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Now, none of us here at Cracked are licensed medical experts (or even licensed drivers, for that matter), so we looked up what inhaling chlorine gas does to you, and it's not "makes your breath poolside fresh." Somewhere around the point where your own organs dissolve in your xenomorph-like acidic blood, we clicked away to watch puppies snuggle.

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Social media exploded with panicked citizens. Here are a few Tweets that we ran through Google Translate:

Retweet PLEASE! As a result of the release of chlorine in Tyumen killed 55 people. People need help!

Tyumen spewed chlorine. According to estimates by [emergency ministry] killed about 55 people !!!

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Brains, there is no?! Tyumen rescuers fun: killed 50 people and let the chlorine in the regional center

Yuri Rusin
Translation is hard. The hashtag is a Russian vowel.

The Emergency Situations Ministry eventually updated their press release to include the little fact that nobody's lungs had exploded like blood pinatas. But we're laying odds that it was too late for at least one Siberian family when, not wanting to die a liar, some poor panicked Russian confessed to his wife that he had always felt like a khaki man trapped in a tracksuit body.

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4
A School Stages Their Own Shooting Spree

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Just eight days after the nation learned that a gunman had shot and killed six people at Northern Illinois University, Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina decided that they should host a school shooting of their own, as one would a Tupperware party. So they outfitted a campus police officer with plain clothes and a fake assault rifle, then had him storm into an American foreign policy class for a little real-time demonstration on what American foreign policy looks like to foreigners. Of course, they sent out an official school email a few days prior to the drill which warned everyone that this was going to happen.

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You know how those college kids love to carefully read those official school emails ...

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"Author speaking Indian dance performance Shooting demonstration Comedy night Construction be-- Ooh, kegger at Gamma Nu!"

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So How Did It Go Horribly Wrong?

You'd think that, at the bare minimum, the college would have informed the professor of the targeted class about the drill so that he could monitor the situation, if for no other reason than to avoid liability for a cartoonishly long dry cleaning bill. You would be wrong; On the afternoon of the drill, neither he nor his students had any reason to believe that what was happening was anything other than 100-percent real. When an armed intruder crashed into his classroom and started lining students up against the wall execution-style, the Professor said that he was "prepared to die at that moment."

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The security guard -- presumably super stoked to finally have something to do aside from playing Candy Crush on his phone -- pressed on, announcing that he was in need of a lung transplant and that one of the students was about to become his involuntary donor -- specifically, the one with the lowest GPA. Maybe that was his subtle way of tipping everyone off, but shockingly, no student had the balls to laugh and say "good one, potential gunman!"

Elizabeth City State University police
"But now y'all won't take things so seriously when an actual shooter strikes, so it's all good!"

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Ten minutes after the drill began, campus police barged in and restrained the "attacker." Soon after that, counseling bills fell upon the college's offices like dandruff on a freshman's worn black hoodie.

3
A Nursing Home Stages an Armed Invasion

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Avoiding violent confrontations in a nursing home generally means not standing in the way of the TV while Mrs. Peterson's "stories" are on, and security is more likely to involve an adult diaper than an armed gunman. But if you run a geriatric care facility and believe that boredom is killing your residents, go ahead and sign them up for a seniors' karate class or something. Youth is but a successful crane kick away.

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"That snapping sound is either the board or my tibia, but I don't care, this is fun!"

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But for the management of one Colorado nursing home, that simply wasn't good enough. To make sure that their staff and residents knew what to do in the event of an emergency, they simulated an armed invasion ... in a nursing home.

So How Did It Go Horribly Wrong?

Once again, the management neglected to mention the drill to the staff. So imagine nurse Michelle Meeker's surprise when she approached a suspicious-looking gentleman in the waiting room, only to have him flash a gun and force her into a back room. Michelle began sobbing and begging for her life -- generally a man forcing a woman into an out-of-the-way location under threat of violence isn't planning to sell her a timeshare -- at which point the "attacker" (in reality, an undercover police officer) revealed that it was all a ruse.

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"That dampness is either sweat or pee, but I don't care, this is fun!"

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Good thing they all quickly realized what a bad idea this was after the first staff member the attacker encountered had a mental breakdown and nope!

The gunman recruited Michelle into the scam, and forced her to help him take more hostages. One employee did manage to place a call to 911, but it didn't matter, because the dispatchers had been told to disregard any calls from the nursing home. Those are some serious balls, nursing home directors!

"Hey, 911? Could you go ahead and ignore any calls from this home full of fragile old people as we simulate a stressful emergency and hope none of them fall down or have a heart attack? Super! Now patch me through to the fire department. We're also gonna light this b***h up -- don't worry, I've already filled up the Super Soaker."

Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images
"And my kids aren't picking up either! I guess you warned them, too!"
"Uh ... yeah."

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Around 40 minutes after the drill had begun, the gunman led his hostages into the Executive Director's office, where the entire management staff revealed the ploy, then spent the next 20 minutes chiding them for everything they'd done wrong during the drill.

Hey, nursing home directors: You know who tend to become crazed gunmen? Disgruntled former employees.

2
Soldier Ordered to Impersonate an Unruly Guantanamo Prisoner, Gets Treated Like an Unruly Guantanamo Prisoner

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You probably don't equate the name "Guantanamo Bay" with fuzzy slippers and warm baths. Specialist Sean Baker certainly didn't when, in early 2003, his squad leader ordered him to don a prisoner's jumpsuit, stow away in a cell where the prison's most dangerous detainees were kept in isolation, and wait for a team to come practice "extracting" him. For the first time in his (by all accounts, model) Army career, Baker found himself questioning the orders of a superior.

In Army parlance, that means he said, "S-sir?"

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"That's 'S-sir, SIR,' maggot!"

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His superior told him: "Trust me, Spc. Baker. You will be fine."

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Spoiler: Nope.

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So How Did It Go Horribly Wrong?

Normally, when one participates in a training exercise, all of the participants in said training exercise are well aware that they are, in fact, participating in a training exercise. In this case, however, the other soldiers were told that Baker was a prisoner who wasn't cooperating, and that he had already assaulted a sergeant.

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Here's what happened next, in Baker's own words:

They grabbed my arms, my legs, twisted me up and unfortunately one of the individuals got up on my back from behind and put pressure down on me while I was face down. Then he -- the same individual -- reached around and began to choke me and press my head down against the steel floor. After several seconds, 20 to 30 seconds, it seemed like an eternity because I couldn't breathe. When I couldn't breathe, I began to panic and I gave the code word I was supposed to give to stop the exercise, which was "red." ... That individual slammed my head against the floor and continued to choke me. Somehow I got enough air. I muttered out: "I'm a U.S. soldier. I'm a U.S. soldier."

CBS
"And they just said, 'Ain't no soldier named Zayn Bakir' and reached for the hose."

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That's when the other soldiers finally noticed that Baker was wearing an Army uniform beneath his jumpsuit. He was immediately sent to a military hospital, and then on to Walter Reed Army Medical Center after he suffered the first of many, many seizures. A spokesperson for the military's Southern Command initially claimed that his hospital stint had nothing to do with injuries sustained during the training drill, but the Army's Physical Evaluation Board noticed that, seeing as how he was in the army and all, he probably didn't have a history of seizures before the incident. And that his seizures were not likely due to offending a witch doctor on a wacky Scooby-Doo-esque romp, but probably from the face-slamming into steel business.

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1
Indian Police Use Children as Mock Protesters, Shoot Them

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The city of Tumkur in India had a novel idea: celebrate Crime Prevention Month by having riot cops practice crowd control techniques on children posing as protesters.

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We said it was novel. Nobody said it was good.

CDC
India also has its own McGruff. He likes kids and has rabies.

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So How Did It Go Horribly Wrong?

How couldn't it?

The police fired live rubber rounds straight into the air -- because as anyone who's taken science class can tell you, bullets get absorbed by the clouds and come back down as snowflakes.

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Wait, no, they came straight back down as bullets, because until our hoverboard prototypes prove otherwise, we are all gravity's bitches.

Jedraszak/iStock/Getty Images
"We shouldn't have used rubber bullets. Of course they'd bounce off the sky."

The police fired three volleys into the air, and rubber shrapnel ripped through the crowd of children. Five had to be hospitalized with fractures and other injuries, and others were left in a "semi-conscious state." If stupidity were a crime, the law enforcement of Tumkur would ... probably be exactly as they are now, actually.

We're pretty sure shooting children is already a crime, and they didn't go to jail for that.

For more terrible attempts at teaching, check out 7 Spectacularly Crazy Lessons Taught by Real Teachers and The 6 Most Horrific Lessons Ever Taught in Elementary School.

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