Three Ways to Survive An Earthquake

How to respond to an earthquake!

Earthquake? Act NOW to save your life.

If you exchange personal emails with family or friends and you live in any earthquake-prone corner of the world, you no doubt have heard various recommendations for surviving an earthquake.

1.  Triangle of Life.

Doug Copp’s “Triangle of Life” method for surviving an earthquake has become pretty well known.

Before I get into this controversial subject, though, a confession is in order.  Like a lot of people, I hold pretty strong opinions about earthquakes, and like a lot of people, I can be passionate – even animated — about expressing them.  Before deciding to open this “can of worms,” I considered just reprinting the Wikipedia treatment of it.  The problem is that Wiki takes four pages of solid small print to treat the subject . . . enough to test anyone’s attention span quotient.

So for the reader who hasn’t been subjected to this idea – or the urban-legend discussions around it – the Triangle of Life (ToL) method for surviving an earthquake is approximately as follows:

  • Find a solid object to cozy up to, such as a piece of heavy furniture, an interior wall, staircase, etc.  That way, when the building collapses or pancakes, there is a good chance that you will be in a void or open space.
  • Copp’s theory is best exemplified where a structural or roof collapse results from the quake.
  • Copp also contends that getting under a table, for example, actually puts you in more danger of getting crushed in a collapsing structure.

2.  Drop, Cover and Hold On.

Now Copp’s suggestion seems to make sense if you are in a collapsing building. The real problem comes in Copp’s criticism of any other recommendations by any other people.

Reputable agencies like the American Red Cross, US Geological Survey and others, for example, recommend the Drop, Cover and Hold On method for surviving an earthquake.  This is what is currently taught in California schools. This method assumes that in the U.S. you are more likely to be hurt by falling debris, broken glass, toppling bookcases, etc. than by building walls actually collapsing, since building codes here provide stronger structural protection than might be found in other countries without such codes.

So what’s the third option?  And which one is best?

Stay tuned for more on this subject . . .

Joe Krueger
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team



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