Whether you're a teacher wanting to know how to protect students during an earthquake or simply want to protect your own family, you should be aware that the "Triangle of Life" survival method is not the response of choice according to many disaster experts. Earthquake rescue experts still maintain that the safest response is to duck, cover and hold during an earthquake. Lives can be saved by using appropriate disaster preparedness, supplies and kits, but many people are confused about the way to respond. Let's consider these two methods and why there is such a controversy.
The "Triangle of Life" theory has been widely circulated in e-mails from Doug Copp, a self-proclaimed rescue expert. Unfortunately, Mr. Copp has had no formal training in the area of Urban Search and Rescue, and although his ideas seem to make sense to the average person, they can actually be life-threatening.
Under the "Triangle of Life" theory, Mr. Copp suggests that victims should not duck and take cover under furniture, but rather get down next to the furniture. He suggests that school children should lie in the aisles rather than underneath the desks in their classes. The theory is based on the fact that a void space is created when ceiling or wall structures collapse and land on the furniture. This is a triangular space where a victim can crouch into and survive.
Though Mr. Copp's theory about the void space is accurate, following this method leaves victims extremely vulnerable to flying debris and particularly flying glass. Think about it...classes in school buildings generally have a lot of glass due to the many windows in a classroom. The glass from these windows may implode during an earthquake, with pieces flying at high speeds toward the exposed children. With the children taking cover underneath the desks, which are usually made of solid wood with steel legs, they will be protected from much of the flying debris.
In the U.S., buildings are made of lightweight construction materials such as wood, unlike third world country structures, which are often made of un-reinforced concrete. Multiple pieces of furniture in a room help to distribute the weight of the load from fallen structures. Being under the furniture protects from the fallen structure as well as flying debris.
Some Sound Advice
Drop, cover and hold are still recommended by most reputable earthquake rescue experts. It is recommended that you take cover within three seconds or less after you feel the first vibrations or shaking. Do not try to run to a safer place, but get under the nearest sound structure or piece of furniture you can find to avoid injury from flying debris and glass. Trying to move on your feet also exposes you to the danger of being thrown violently by the seismic force of the earthquake.
You can easily research "Triangle of Life" on the Web to see why so many major agencies refute this disaster response method. It is refuted by a host of authorities, including the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the California Office of Emergency Services, the Earthquake Country Alliance, and others. So if you receive an e-mail on this topic, hit the delete button and don't forward it to anyone. The advice could endanger someone's life should an earthquake occur.
Disaster preparedness is crucial to save lives. If you live in an area that's prone to seismic activity, you should also keep disaster supplies and kits on hand. Schools should train teachers in CPR, first aid and emergency response so they will know how to handle an emergency if one were to occur. Knowing what to do before, during and after an earthquake can save lives. You can easily find information about disaster preparedness, supplies and kits on the Web. Start planning today for a safer tomorrow!
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Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies.
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