03-18-2005, 11:08 AM #1
Building Collapse and Earthquake Safety
They have had it wong for a long time it seems.
EXTRACT FROM DOUG COPP'S ARTICLE ON THE: "TRIANGLE OF LIFE"
Edited by Larry Linn for MAA Safety Committee brief on 4/13/04.
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...
There would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my
method of the "triangle of life." 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 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.
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
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. T he 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...-Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
-Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.
-Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.
-Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.
03-19-2005, 01:25 AM #2
- Join Date
- Dec 2000
You would appear not to have done your homework it seems!Please no e-mail. Public replies only. Thank you!
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