Many metazoan cells inhabit mechanically stressful environments and, consequently, their plasma membranes are frequently disrupted. Survival requires that the cell rapidly repair or reseal the disruption. Rapid resealing is an active and complex structural modification that employs endomembrane as its primary building block, and cytoskeletal and membrane fusion proteins as its catalysts. Endomembrane is delivered to the damaged plasma membrane through exocytosis, a ubiquitous Ca2+-triggered response to disruption. Tissue and cell level architecture prevent disruptions from occurring, either by shielding cells from damaging levels of force, or, when this is not possible, by promoting safe force transmission through the plasma membrane via protein-based cables and linkages. Prevention of disruption also can be a dynamic cell or tissue level adaptation triggered when a damaging level of mechanical stress is imposed. Disease results from failure of either the preventive or resealing mechanisms.