This article is being sent to you in your interest as part of public
awareness campaign by Hum Fauji Initiatives. This has been extracted by an
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Remember that stuff about hiding under a table or standing in a doorway?
Well, forget it! This is a real eye opener. It could save your life someday.
EXTRACT FROM DOUG COPP'S ARTICLE: 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
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. I was the United Nations
expert in Disaster Mitigation for two years, and have worked at every major
disaster in the world since 1985, except for simultaneous disasters.
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.
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 - NOT under 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) Most everyone who simply 'ducks and covers' when building collapse are
crushed to death. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are
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 bed, 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
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 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.
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