Tis the season for earthquakes..what to do if you’re caught in one?

After the recent tremors in Sichuan,China there is the possibility of a few more coming (aftershocks or otherwise).

If you happen to be caught in one (God forbid), you have two choices:

1. Adopt the traditional drop, cover and hold on tactic. As the name implies, run under cover beneath the nearest bed or table.

2.Practise the triangle of life, widely promoted by self-proclaimed earthquake expert Doug Copp. Basically, he states that when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling on cars or furniture crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to these objects, forming a triangle. He advocates that people should get into these spaces rather than go underneath car-roofs or furniture. In other words, roll off the bed and stay next to it rather than under it.

The triangle of life method is not without controversy. It has been denounced by the American Red Cross as ‘not appropriate’ for US buildings, which are supposedly sturdier. The American Red Cross and most American earthquake safety bodies recommend the time-honored drop,cover and hold on technique.

It is interesting to note that the OECD Report on Earthquake Safety in schools in China published in 2005 did not specifically mention which of the two methods were more effective. Can anyone shed some light on what is being practised in China?


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One response

  1. The American Red Cross made its recommendations based on American buildings which are reinforced with steel cross-structures to make them withstand earthquakes better.
    It might be that buildings in China do not have such reinforcements – so the ‘triangle of life’ might be more relevant..

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