[Remember being told to hide under a table or stand in a doorway during an
earthquake? This guy has a completely reverse, very interesting opinion -
different from what we were all taught. Doug Copp is the Rescue Chief and
Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI), the world’s
most experienced rescue team. Having crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, and
founded & worked with rescue teams from 60 countries, Doug ensures us that this
article will save lives in an earthquake...]
Extract from Doug Copp’s Article on “The
Triangle of Life”
“I was the United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation for two years. I 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 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. 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) 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
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 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 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.”
Spread the word and save someone’s life...
The entire world is experiencing natural calamities, so be prepared!
‘We are but angels with one wing, it takes two to fly’
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