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 theAmerican Rescue Team International (ARTI), the world's most experiencedrescue team. The information in this article will save lives in anearthquake.
I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue teamsfrom 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries, and I am amember of many rescue teams from many countries...
I was the United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation for two years. Ihave worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985, except forsimultaneous disasters.
The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico Cityduring the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under its desk. Every child wascrushed to the thickness of their bones. They could have survived by lyingdown next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene, unnecessary and Iwondered why the children were not in the aisles. I didn't at the time knowthat the children were told to hide under something.
Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings fallingupon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a spaceor 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 theobject compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability that theperson who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next timeyou watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the "triangles" you seeformed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, ina collapsed building.
TIPS FOR EARTHQUAKE SAFETY
1) Most everyone who simply "ducks and covers" WHEN BUILDINGS COLLAPSE arecrushed to death. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, arecrushed.
2) Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. Youshould 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 voidnext to it.
3) Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during anearthquake. 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. Brickbuildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause manyinjuries but less squashed bodies than concrete slabs.
4) If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply rolloff the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels can achieve amuch greater survival rate in earthquakes, simply by posting a sign on Theback 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 thedoor or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to asofa, or large chair.
6) Most everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse iskilled. How? If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward orbackward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam fallssideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you willbe killed!
7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different "moment offrequency" (they swing separately from the main part of the building). Thestairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each otheruntil structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get onstairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads - horriblymutilated. Even if the building doesn't collapse, stay away from thestairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even ifthe stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse laterwhen overloaded by fleeing people.. They should always be checked forsafety, 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 theinterior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of thebuilding the greater the probability that your escape route will beblocked.
9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls inan earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happenedwith the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway... The victims ofthe San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They wereall killed.. They could have easily survived by getting out and sitting orlying next to their vehicles. Everyone killed would have survived if theyhad been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All thecrushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars thathad columns fall directly across them.
10) I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices andother offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Largevoids are found surrounding stacks of paper.