Earthquake Survivals Tips!


Please share this with your children (especially if they practice earthquake drills at school) and family members!


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. I am amazed that even today schools are still
using the 'Duck and Cover' instructions- telling the children to
squat under their desks with their heads bowed and covered with
their hands. This was the technique used in the Mexico City school.

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.


1) Almost 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. That position helps you 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. Concrete slab buildings are the most dangerous
during an earthquake.

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) Almost 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 lying in the fetal position 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.

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.

Spread the word and save someone's life... The entire world is
experiencing natural calamities so be prepared!

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