Some Earthquake Information Worth Considering
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.
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. There
would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my method of
"triangle of life." This film has been seen by millions of viewers on
television in Turkey and the rest of Europe, and it was seen in the USA, Canada
and Latin America on the TV program Real TV.
The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City
during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under their 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
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, and 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
TEN TIPS FOR EARTHQUAKE SAFETY
1) Most 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. You can
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.
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) Most 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
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 sitting or lying next to
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.
Spread the word and save someone's life!