Tips for Earthquake Safety

Tips for Earthquake Safety

Updated 08/03/10 - I've just been shown this article regarding the post I've made below. You should read this as well as it suggest the following might not be great advice. I'll leave the original blog here for you to read and think about.


I thought this may be of interest to a few of us. We don't often get catastrophic earthquakes in New Zealand, but it always helps to know what to do. And perhaps you can pass this information onto loved ones living or travelling overseas.

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 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 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 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 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!

65 comments (Add your own)

1. Hayden Sanders wrote:
Have a read of this article in the Dominion Post back in 2008. It's worth reading as it's suggests my above post might not be the best advice. I'm happy to stand corrected on this as I'd rather see lives saved.

Mon, March 8, 2010 @ 9:10 PM

2. Simba wrote:
This email has been doing the rounds for a while now. This advice has been discredited by major disaster relief organisations

See Dominion Post, 5 June 2008 and this quote from the Earthquake Commission

"John Hamilton, Director of Civil Defence says that in an earthquake the best advice is to drop, cover and hold under a table or desk, so as to protect against falling objects and debris. A widely circulated email suggests incorrectly that, during an earthquake, people should shelter next to solid items to create a protective void, a 'triangle of life'. Relying on information from unrecognised sources could put you, or your family in danger. Far better to go to and click to get some good advice on how to be safe in an earthquake and how to make your home quake safe."

Mon, March 8, 2010 @ 9:13 PM

3. Hayden Sanders wrote:
Cheers Simba. Thanks for posting that. I was thinking about pulling the post down as a result of reading the Dominion post article but I think I'll leave it with your comments and my own update at the top so anyone else who happens to visit and read the article also has the Dominion posts article as well.

Mon, March 8, 2010 @ 9:17 PM

4. Chris Wood wrote:
From reading both articles it's clear that Copp is right so far as surviving a building collapse goes. However, if the building doesn't collapse you're better off following the advice of the authorities so stuff doesn't land on your head.

Wed, March 31, 2010 @ 3:45 PM

5. wrote:
Hello, Neat post. There is a problem together with your web site in web explorer, might test this...

IE still is the marketplace chief and a large component of other people will omit your great writing because of this problem.

Wed, October 3, 2018 @ 11:18 PM

6. wrote:
Can you tell us more about this? I'd care to find out more details.

Fri, November 9, 2018 @ 6:04 PM

7. wrote:
Excellent article. I am facing some of these issues
as well..

Mon, November 26, 2018 @ 9:55 PM

8. wrote:
What i don't understood is in reality how you are not really a lot more well-preferred than you might be
now. You're so intelligent. You understand therefore significantly in the case of this subject,
produced me for my part imagine it from a lot of various angles.

Its like men and women don't seem to be interested unless it's something to do with Girl gaga!
Your personal stuffs outstanding. All the time care
for it up!

Sun, July 21, 2019 @ 5:13 AM

9. wrote:
Hi there, its good paragraph about media print, we all be familiar with media is a fantastic source of facts.

Sun, July 21, 2019 @ 6:37 AM

10. wrote:
Admiring the hard work you put into your blog and detailed information you provide.
It's good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't
the same out of date rehashed material. Fantastic read!
I've saved your site and I'm adding your RSS feeds
to my Google account.

Fri, November 8, 2019 @ 4:42 AM

11. wrote:
Hi there just wanted to give you a brief heads
up and let you know a few of the images aren't loading correctly.
I'm not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I've tried it in two different internet browsers
and both show the same outcome.

Tue, December 3, 2019 @ 3:05 AM

12. wrote:
You can certainly see your expertise in the article you write.
The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid
to mention how they believe. At all times follow your heart.

Tue, December 24, 2019 @ 11:29 AM

13. wrote:
First off I want to say excellent blog! I had a quick question which I'd
like to ask if you don't mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself
and clear your mind before writing. I've had
trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out.
I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to
15 minutes are generally lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or hints?
Thank you!

Tue, December 24, 2019 @ 12:22 PM

14. wrote:
Just want to say your article is as amazing. The clearness for your submit is just great and i can assume
you're knowledgeable in this subject. Well with your permission let me to grasp your RSS feed to keep up to date with drawing close post.
Thanks one million and please carry on the gratifying work.

Tue, December 24, 2019 @ 1:08 PM

15. wrote:
Hello would you mind letting me know which webhost you're working with?
I've loaded your blog in 3 different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot
quicker then most. Can you recommend a good hosting provider at
a fair price? Thank you, I appreciate it!

Mon, January 6, 2020 @ 6:00 AM

16. wrote:
When I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments
are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the
exact same comment. Is there a way you can remove me from that service?
Many thanks!

Mon, January 6, 2020 @ 6:00 AM

17. wrote:
If you are going for most excellent contents like
myself, simply go to see this site all the time since it presents feature
contents, thanks

Mon, January 6, 2020 @ 9:49 AM

18. wrote:
Thanks for any other informative web site. Where else may I get that kind
of information written in such a perfect method? I've a project that I
am just now working on, and I have been at the look out for such information.

Mon, January 6, 2020 @ 10:27 AM

19. wrote:
Hi there friends, fastidious post and good urging commented here,
I am genuinely enjoying by these.

Mon, January 6, 2020 @ 11:07 AM

20. wrote:
These are genuinely impressive ideas in regarding blogging.
You have touched some pleasant factors here. Any way keep up wrinting.

Wed, January 15, 2020 @ 6:37 AM

21. wrote:
With havin so much content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement?
My site has a lot of unique content I've either written myself or outsourced
but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my permission.
Do you know any methods to help protect against content from being stolen? I'd truly appreciate it.

Wed, January 15, 2020 @ 8:07 AM

22. wrote:
Informative article, just what I wanted to find.

Wed, January 15, 2020 @ 9:01 AM

23. wrote:
Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging
for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web
site is great, as well as the content!

Wed, January 15, 2020 @ 9:07 AM

24. wrote:
Its such as you read my mind! You seem to know a lot approximately this, such as you wrote the guide in it or something.
I think that you just could do with some % to power the message home a little bit, however instead of that,
this is magnificent blog. An excellent read. I'll certainly be back.

Wed, January 15, 2020 @ 10:18 AM

25. wrote:
It's very easy to find out any topic on web as compared to books, as I found this piece of writing at this site.

Wed, January 15, 2020 @ 10:47 AM

26. wrote:
I like the helpful info you provide in your articles. I'll bookmark your weblog and check
again here regularly. I am quite certain I'll learn a lot of new stuff right here!
Good luck for the next!

Fri, January 17, 2020 @ 7:33 AM

27. wrote:
Somebody necessarily assist to make severely articles I'd state.
This is the first time I frequented your website page and so far?
I amazed with the analysis you made to create this particular post incredible.
Wonderful job!

Fri, January 17, 2020 @ 7:44 AM

28. wrote:
Today, I went to the beach front with my kids.
I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear." She placed the shell to
her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it
pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this
is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

Fri, January 17, 2020 @ 3:20 PM

29. wrote:
Hi every one, here every one is sharing these experience, thus it's pleasant to read
this website, and I used to visit this blog all the time.

Fri, January 17, 2020 @ 4:05 PM

30. wrote:
I just could not go away your site prior to suggesting that I extremely
enjoyed the usual info an individual supply on your visitors?
Is going to be back often to investigate cross-check new posts

Fri, January 17, 2020 @ 4:29 PM

31. wrote:
Your method of describing everything in this article is in fact pleasant, every one be
capable of without difficulty know it, Thanks a lot.

Fri, January 17, 2020 @ 4:37 PM

32. wrote:
Hi to all, since I am genuinely keen of reading this webpage's post
to be updated regularly. It consists of good information.

Sat, January 18, 2020 @ 12:59 AM

33. wrote:
Great post. I was checking constantly this weblog and I am impressed!
Extremely helpful information specifically the closing phase :) I
take care of such information much. I was seeking this certain information for a very lengthy time.
Thank you and good luck.

Sat, January 18, 2020 @ 4:15 AM

34. wrote:
What's Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I've found
It absolutely helpful and it has helped me
out loads. I am hoping to give a contribution & help other users like its aided me.
Great job.

Sun, January 19, 2020 @ 3:21 PM

35. wrote:
whoah this blog is great i love studying your posts. Stay up the great work!

You already know, a lot of individuals are hunting round for this
information, you can help them greatly.

Sun, January 19, 2020 @ 3:22 PM

36. wrote:
This page definitely has all of the information and facts I
wanted concerning this subject and didn't know who to ask.

Wed, May 27, 2020 @ 1:01 AM

37. wrote:
I know this web page gives quality based articles or reviews
and extra information, is there any other site which
provides these kinds of things in quality?

Wed, May 27, 2020 @ 1:11 AM

38. wrote:
Hello! I'm at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 4!
Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts!

Keep up the great work!

Wed, May 27, 2020 @ 1:20 AM

39. wrote:
Have you ever considered creating an ebook or guest
authoring on other blogs? I have a blog centered on the same subjects
you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my viewers would enjoy
your work. If you're even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me
an email.

Wed, May 27, 2020 @ 3:16 AM

40. wrote:
Hello I am so excited I found your weblog, I really found you by accident,
while I was looking on Aol for something else, Nonetheless I am here
now and would just like to say kudos for a fantastic post
and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have
time to browse it all at the moment but I have saved it and
also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the
superb work.

Sun, June 7, 2020 @ 9:44 AM

41. wrote:
I am really impressed with your writing skills and also with the
layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme
or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one these days.

Sun, June 14, 2020 @ 10:13 PM

42. wrote:
Hello, its good piece of writing on the topic of media print, we all be aware of media is a wonderful
source of facts.

Mon, June 15, 2020 @ 4:14 AM

43. wrote:
Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your article seem to be running off the screen in Chrome.

I'm not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I
thought I'd post to let you know. The layout look
great though! Hope you get the problem resolved soon. Thanks

Mon, June 15, 2020 @ 5:09 AM

44. wrote:
Magnificent items from you, man. I have take into account your stuff prior
to and you are simply extremely great. I actually like what you've
obtained here, certainly like what you're stating and the way in which wherein you
say it. You make it entertaining and you continue to take care of
to stay it sensible. I can't wait to read much more from you.
This is actually a tremendous website.

Wed, June 17, 2020 @ 3:00 PM

45. wrote:
Now I am going to do my breakfast, later than having my breakfast coming yet again to read more news.

Wed, June 17, 2020 @ 7:25 PM

46. wrote:
Since the admin of this site is working, no doubt very quickly it will
be famous, due to its quality contents.

Sat, June 20, 2020 @ 12:14 AM

47. wrote:
What's up all, here every person is sharing these experience, therefore it's pleasant to read this web site, and I used to pay a quick visit this website everyday.

Sun, July 5, 2020 @ 8:47 AM

48. wrote:
Howdy! I'm at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 3gs!
Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look
forward to all your posts! Keep up the outstanding work!

Sun, July 12, 2020 @ 11:19 AM

49. wrote:
Appreciate the recommendation. Let me try it out.

Sun, July 12, 2020 @ 11:19 AM

50. wrote:
What's up colleagues, how is the whole thing, and what you wish for to say
on the topic of this paragraph, in my view its genuinely awesome in support of me.

Tue, July 14, 2020 @ 5:02 AM

51. wrote:
When someone writes an post he/she keeps
the plan of a user in his/her mind that how a user can understand
it. So that's why this article is amazing. Thanks!

Tue, July 14, 2020 @ 7:13 AM

52. wrote:
Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am
a blogger, and I was wondering your situation; we have developed some nice procedures and we are looking to swap methods with others, why not shoot me an e-mail if interested.

Wed, July 15, 2020 @ 8:10 PM

53. wrote:
Terrific article! This is the type of info that should be shared
around the web. Shame on Google for now not positioning this submit upper!
Come on over and talk over with my web site . Thank you =)

Thu, July 16, 2020 @ 9:03 AM

54. wrote:
Greetings from Colorado! I'm bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunch break.
I really like the knowledge you present here and
can't wait to take a look when I get home. I'm amazed at how fast your blog
loaded on my phone .. I'm not even using WIFI, just 3G ..
Anyhow, great blog!

Thu, July 16, 2020 @ 9:40 AM

55. wrote:
I've learn some just right stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting.
I surprise how a lot effort you place to create this kind of great informative web site.

Thu, July 16, 2020 @ 10:31 AM

56. wrote:
Great article! That is the type of info that are meant to be shared around the net.
Shame on the seek engines for no longer positioning this publish upper!
Come on over and discuss with my web site . Thanks =)

Thu, July 16, 2020 @ 11:19 AM

57. wrote:
This is really interesting, You're a very skilled blogger.

I have joined your feed and look ahead to in search of more of your
excellent post. Additionally, I have shared your web site in my social networks

Thu, July 16, 2020 @ 11:46 PM

58. wrote:
It's remarkable in support of me to have a web page, which is good in favor of my knowledge.
thanks admin

Fri, July 17, 2020 @ 2:59 AM

59. wrote:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on how to lose weight. Regards

Mon, July 20, 2020 @ 5:37 AM

60. wrote:
hello there and thank you for your info – I've
definitely picked up anything new from right here. I did however
expertise some technical points using this web site, as I experienced to reload the website many
times previous to I could get it to load correctly.
I had been wondering if your hosting is OK? Not that I'm complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and could
damage your high-quality score if advertising and
marketing with Adwords. Anyway I am adding this RSS to my e-mail and could look out for a lot more of your respective fascinating content.

Ensure that you update this again very soon.

Thu, July 23, 2020 @ 5:35 AM

61. wrote:
Hi! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out
and tell you I truly enjoy reading through your posts.
Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics?
Thanks a lot!

Thu, July 23, 2020 @ 5:58 AM

62. wrote:
I like the helpful info you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your
blog and check again here regularly. I'm quite certain I will learn plenty of new stuff right
here! Best of luck for the next!

Mon, July 27, 2020 @ 8:38 PM

63. 럭키걸 Lucky girl wrote:

Thu, August 13, 2020 @ 5:28 PM

64. 럭키걸 Lucky girl wrote:

Thu, August 13, 2020 @ 5:28 PM

65. wrote:
Hiya! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I'd figured I'd ask.
Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa?
My website discusses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I feel
we could greatly benefit from each other. If you happen to be interested feel free to shoot me an email.
I look forward to hearing from you! Excellent blog by the way!

Sat, September 12, 2020 @ 11:05 PM

Add a New Comment


Comment Guidelines: No HTML is allowed. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Thanks.