On the One Hand, This is Completely Off Topic

On the other hand… If you are interested in using hydrogen peroxide for cleaning and household chores, you are most likely interested in staying alive as well!

So. To digress for a moment…

Since we just had a vivid reminder that we live in earthquake territory, I thought it was time to once again remind my family and friends of the “big myth” of earthquake survival. Seems it’s still prevalent and even I, who know it all too well, am prone to forgetting, in the “heat of the moment” what I am SUPPOSED to do to stay alive!

So what’s the myth? The myth is that the proper response to an earthquake is something known, euphemistically as “Duck and Cover”.

Turns out “Duck and Cover” is an almost sure-fire prescription to end up dead in a serious earth quake… Go figure.

I know, I know, everyone says “Why would folks who are in the business of saving lives be teaching the exact wrong thing to do in the event of a disaster like an earth quake? Well… turns out it’s just “one of those things” that happens over time.

Most of today’s adults have lived through the “cold war era” where we learned this amazingly simple (and thoroughly useless) response during our childhoods. We were told that when the sirens sounded to tell us that the bombs were going to fall, we should “duck
and cover”. Well, I don’t know the truth of that as far as bombs go, honestly. Maybe it WOULD do something useful other than flatten you under your school desk… I honestly do not know.

But what I do know is that if you use this same technique in an earthquake your chances of survival are from nil to none. Like, zip. Nada. Nothing. You’re dead.

And please, let’s forget the old “a doorway is the safest place to be in an earthquake” routine as well. Not true. Unless guillotine is your preferred merciful method of transition to the afterlife…

So once again it’s time to whip out the real answers to some pretty darn serious questions and from someone who actually KNOWS what they are talking about…

Here you have it. My suggestion is to copy the text. Put it in a notepad or other program, and PRINT IT.
Print it big enough to post somewhere in your house where you can see it. The back of a door or the inside of a kitchen cupboard, for instance. And READ IT until you KNOW what it says.

As an example of why this is a good idea, I offer myself: I have known this information for several years. When Seattle shook and all those bricks came crashing down, I sent it out to my Northwestern friends as a reminder. Yet, the other night as the house began to dance, without thinking for a moment I went straight to the doorway! And then, as it dawned on me that this was the wrong move, I stepped out into the back yard. Duh.

Later that night, on the phone with one of my kids, I admitted my folly, and was met with a resounding “MOM!!! Triangle of LIFE MOM! Not Doorway of Death!” oh my. Nothing like one of your own to drive the point home!

So here it is again, to (hopefully) remind us all of what we really SHOULD DO when an earthquake strikes.

Print it, share it. Pass it on. You never know who might still be thinking “duck and cover” is anything other than a death sentence in an earthquake.

EARTHQUAKES – What to do.

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 earthquake.

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
(UNX051 -UNIENET) for two years. I have worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985, except for simultaneous disasters.

In 1996 we made a film which proved my survival methodology to be correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul, University of Istanbul, Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this practical, scientific test. We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten mannequins did “duck and cover,” and ten mannequins I used in my “triangle of life” survival method. After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble and entered the building to film and document the results. The film, in which I practiced my survival techniques under directly observable, scientific conditions, relevant to building collapse, showed there would have been zero percent survival for those doing duck and cover.

There would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my method of the”triangle of life.” This film has been seen by millions of viewers on television in Turkey and the rest of Europe, and it was seen in the USA, Canada and Latin America on the TV program Real TV.

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. They are everywhere. I trained the Fire Department of Trujillo (population 750,000) in how to survive, take care of their families, and to rescue others in earthquakes.

The chief of rescue in the Trujillo Fire Department is a professor at TrujilloUniversity. He accompanied me everywhere. He gave personal testimony: “My name is Roberto Rosales. I am Chief of Rescue in Trujillo. When I was 11 years old, I was trapped inside of a collapsed building. My entrapment occurred during the earthquake of 1972 that killed 70,000 people. I survived in the “triangle of life” that existed next to my brother’s motorcycle. My friends who got under the bed and under desks were crushed to death [he gives more details, names, addresses etc.]…I am the living example of the “triangle of life”. My dead friends are the example of “duck and cover”.


1) Everyone who simply “ducks and covers” WHEN BUILDINGS COLLAPSE is crushed to death — Every time, without exception. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are always crushed.

2) Cats, dogs and babies all naturally often 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. The reason is simple: the 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 while you are watching television 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) Everybody 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. They are 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 screaming, 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, says the
author. 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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