Earthquake Season – What To Do If You’re Caught In One

Following close on the heels of the Christchurch quake 2 weeks ago, the current disaster in Sendai,Japan is far more severe especially since the quake started on the sea-bed which resulted in a tsunami (giant forceful waves) wreaking probably more damage than the quake itself.

While it is reasonable to assume that most will panic and try to run for open space (if time permits) in the event of a quake, most international rescue outfits recommend that, in the event of a quake, people should adopt the  traditional drop, cover and hold on tactic. In fact, the Red Cross strongly advises not to try to move (that is, escape) during the shaking of an earthquake. The more and the longer distance that someone tries to move, the more likely they are to become injured by falling or flying debris, or by tripping, falling, or getting cut by damaged floors, walls, and items in the path of escape.

What the  drop, cover and hold on tactic basically means is that DROP to the floor, Take COVER under a sturdy desk or table(if no table- cover your head with your arms), HOLD ON to the table/desk- even if it moves!

In the last decade, another method made the rounds that purportedly was more effective. This is the triangle of life, widely promoted by self-proclaimed earthquake expert Doug Copp. This method proposed that one should not shelter under tables but rather next to it because tables and other solid items will collapse and provide support for an open space just next to it.

The Triangle of Life - widely denounced by most authorities

More aptly, preventive measures form the mainstay of earthquake safety measures and I was quite taken up by the colorful booklet issued by the Tokyo city authorities on 10 Ways To Prepare For an Earthquake., which goes to show the level of preparedness the Japanese have against natural disasters.

Our sympathies go to Japan and her people and the next few weeks will test the resoluteness of the Japanese character as well as the willingness of the international community to assist.

4 responses

  1. I think there’s some merit in the Triangle of Life approach, especially in the less-developed countries where the buildings are more flimsy than in the US or Japan.

  2. Yeah,
    Our hearts go to the victims of the recent quake in Japan..

  3. […] Earthquake Season – What To Do If You’re Caught In One (doctor2008.wordpress.com) […]

  4. I think that the first thing that one must do should be to avoid ALL possible earthquake prone areas.
    However, if one were to be caught up in one, then make a run for it.
    To get cover under a table and get trapped by mountains of debris is no joke!!
    To say the least!
    If no one finds you or even if you’re found but they’re unable to dig you out, you are literally buried alive!!
    To die of thirst and hunger which may take days.
    What’s your take on this, doc?
    Doctor2008 says: It is said that if one tries to make a run for it, the dangers of falling debris, collapsing buildings and runaway traffic far outweighs staying put.

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