Somatic Experiencing in Hong Kong and China

Walk The Talk 活學活用 身體力行 - Earthquake Safety Triangle of Life

Maggie Kline - Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:51 am
Post subject: Earthquake Safety Triangle of Life
The following is the latest findings about earthquake safety that I was referring to before the U.S. team left for China. Below is the actual article.

This information can be used as both a practical protection for aftershocks and future quakes, as well as a resource in imagining a safe place when working with to stabilize the earthquake trauma.

**** 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) Almost all who simply 'duck and cover' 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.

Cool 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 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 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.

**** End of Quote ****

My best to all of you.


Maggie K.
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