# Thread: Earthquake Triangle of Life

1. I received this email. Does anyone know if this sounds right? I've always heard that you should get in a doorway if an earthquake hits. According to this, it's the wrong thing to do.

This article is a very informative read. An explanation is presented on how the "triangle of life" method is much more effective than the traditional "duck and cover" method that most of us have been taught to use during a disaster such as an earthquake.
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Earthquake survival 'TRIANGLE OF LIFE'.

EXTRACT FROM DOUG COPP'S ARTICLE ON THE: 'TRIANGLE OF LIFE'

My name is Doug Copp. I am the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI), the world's most experienced rescue team. The information in this article will save lives in an earthquake.

I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue teams from 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries, and I am a member of many rescue teams from many countries.

The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under its desk. Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones. They could have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene, unnecessary and I wondered why the children were not in the aisles. I didn't at the time know that the children were told to hide under something. I am amazed that even today schools are still using the 'Duck and Cover' Instructions - telling the children to squat under their desks with their heads bowed and covered with their hands. This was the technique used in the Mexico City school.

Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them. This space is what I call the 'triangle of life'. The larger the object, the stronger, the less it will compact. The less the object compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability that the person who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next time you watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the 'triangles' you see formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, in a collapsed building.

TIPS FOR EARTHQUAKE SAFETY

1) Almost everyone who simply 'ducks and covers' when buildings collapse ARE CRUSHED TO DEATH. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are crushed.

2) Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. You should too in an earthquake. It is a natural safety/survival instinct. That position helps you survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.

3) Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquake. Wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less squashed bodies than concrete slabs. Concrete slab buildings are the most dangerous during an earthquake.

4) If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels can achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes, simply by posting a sign on the back of the door of every room telling occupants to lie down on the floor, next to the bottom of the bed during an earthquake.

5) If an earthquake happens and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.

6) Almost everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed!

7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different 'moment of frequency (they swing separately from the main part of the building). The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads. Horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn't collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even if the stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is not damaged.

8) Get Near the Outer Walls Of Buildings Or Outside Of Them If Possible - It is much better to be near the outside of the building rather than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.

9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway. The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and lying in the fetal position next to their vehicles. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All the crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.

10) I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.

In 1996 we made a film, which proved my survival methodology to be correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul , University of Istanbul Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this practical, scientific test. We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten mannequins did 'duck and cover,' and ten mannequins I used in my 'triangle of life' survival method. After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble and entered the building to film and document the results.

The film, in which I practiced my survival techniques under directly observable, scientific conditions, relevant to building collapse, showed there would have been zero percent survival for those doing duck and cover.

2. Originally Posted by SaintLouieWoman
I received this email. Does anyone know if this sounds right? I've always heard that you should get in a doorway if an earthquake hits. According to this, it's the wrong thing to do.
Great article but I most likely need a tornado one!:D

3. AF Safety always told us to get in the door jambs in Japan. I'm gonna go with them. I'm always leery of anyone who says "My movie proves my theory."

4. I don't know if its true, but if i remember, we used to have to hide under our desks during nuclear bomb drills!

They had alot of faith in them desks!

5. Originally Posted by djones520
AF Safety always told us to get in the door jambs in Japan. I'm gonna go with them. I'm always leery of anyone who says "My movie proves my theory."
Yeah, but not sure of that door jamb thing. They're finding too many people in Haiti in those little pockets.

The door jamp advice might be another example of government think.

I wish someone from California living in the earthquake areas would chime in here. Living near the New Madrid fault in the lovely Midwest, have a vested interest in finding out. Obviously the best move isn't going down the stairs to the basement.

6. Originally Posted by SaintLouieWoman
Yeah, but not sure of that door jamb thing. They're finding too many people in Haiti in those little pockets.

The door jamp advice might be another example of government think.

I wish someone from California living in the earthquake areas would chime in here. Living near the New Madrid fault in the lovely Midwest, have a vested interest in finding out. Obviously the best move isn't going down the stairs to the basement.
Like I said, I spent almost 8 years in Japan. Been hit by numerous 4+'s even a 6.8. Door jamb is where I'd go. A well constructed one though. A flimsy one will do just as he says.

99% of us who will ever be in an Earthquake prone area will be either in the US, or a developed country who required that buildings are built to withstand such things. I lived in an 9 story apartment complex in Japan. The place was built on giant springs to absorb the quake. The door jambs were reinforced, and wouldn't collapse if a missile hit them. We had that 6.8 directly under us, and there was no structural damage.

If your living in a place like Haiti, no place inside is going to be safe for you most likely. Your best bet is to get outside and into an open area as quickly as possible.

7. Originally Posted by djones520
Like I said, I spent almost 8 years in Japan. Been hit by numerous 4+'s even a 6.8. Door jamb is where I'd go. A well constructed one though. A flimsy one will do just as he says.

99% of us who will ever be in an Earthquake prone area will be either in the US, or a developed country who required that buildings are built to withstand such things. I lived in an 9 story apartment complex in Japan. The place was built on giant springs to absorb the quake. The door jambs were reinforced, and wouldn't collapse if a missile hit them. We had that 6.8 directly under us, and there was no structural damage.

If your living in a place like Haiti, no place inside is going to be safe for you most likely. Your best bet is to get outside and into an open area as quickly as possible.
I've sold to the federal government in the St Louis Metro Area for almost 30 years. I remember when they were retrofitting the VA at Jefferson Barracks to withstand an earthquake. I'm not sure about regular housing here, particularly my house, that was built in the late 70's.

It makes sense that a frame house probably would be safer than a brick one, particularly an older brick house.

Can definitely see why they'd give the door jamb instructions in Japan, if they're strongly reinforced.

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