Triangle of Life

Triangle of Life

The Triangle of Life is a controversial theory advocated by Doug Copp about how to survive a major earthquake. It is intended to replace the traditional "drop, cover, and hold on" tactic. Copp recommends that, at the onset of a major earthquake, building occupants should seek shelter near solid items that will provide a protective space, a void or space that could prevent injury or permit survival in the event of a major structural failure -- a "pancake collapse". Such failures are rare in western communities where opponents argue the "drop, cover and hold on" tactic will prevent the vast majority of gravity-induced injuries that occur more frequently. [ Earthquake Country] "Drop, cover and hold on"]

As described in the links below, Copp's assertions that he has seen people who died from not using his method are not corroborated, and Copp's beliefs are not supported by independent sources. His criticism does call attention to the need to follow the most current authoritative advice, as detailed below. Part of the issue is determining the extent of the danger in any earthquake. Copp's "triangle of life" recognizes that the weight of falling items may be great enough to crush objects like table legs or non weight-bearing partitions, but not so great as to completely crush more substantial partitions or nearby structural items.

A number of claims Copp has made about his experience as a rescue worker have been called into question. [ [ Albuquerque Journal - New Mexican's Claims of Ground Zero Rescue Work Called Into Question ] ]


In 1996, Copp made a film to prove this methodology. He recreated a model school and home, filling them with 20 mannequins. He collapsed the buildings, with half the mannequins in 'duck and cover' position and the others in what Copp calls the 'triangle of life' position. When buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside tends to crush them, but the height of the object that remains acts as a kind of roof beam over the space or void next to it, which will tend to end up with a sloping roof over it. This space for survival Copp terms the triangle of life. The larger and stronger the object, the less it will compact; the less it compacts, the larger the void next to it will be. Such triangles are the most common shape to be found in a collapsed building. When Copp and his crew re-entered the simulated earthquake scenario after the blast, they calculated that there would have been no survivors amongst the mannequins in 'duck and cover' positions, as against 100% survival for those hiding in the triangles beside solid objects. Copp is categorical about the importance of this technique: "Everyone who simply ducks and covers when buildings collapse is crushed to death - every time without exception".

However, according to the scientific community Copp's statement may, even when interpreted most liberally, only be considered for pancake-type collapses, which are rare in the developed world.


External links

* [] Official Triangle of Life website.
* [] Earthquake Country Alliance's response to the 'Triangle of Life'.
* [] Response from the American Red Cross.
** [,1082,0_583_,00.html American Red Cross] earthquake preparedness advice.
* [] Triangle of life compared to Drop, cover & hold.
* [] Urban Legends Reference article on Triangle of Life.
* [ Albuquerque Journal Series] Albuquerque Journal Newspaper extensive series about Copp detailing potential fraud.
* [ Albuquerque Journal] Article regarding Doug Copp's 9/11 health claims.
* [ Petal on Copp] Opinion on Copp's assertions.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Triangle (disambiguation) — A triangle is a geometric shape that has three straight sides. Triangle can also refer to: Mathematics * Spherical triangle * Sierpinski triangle * Pascal s triangle * Triangle wave * Triangle inequality Objects * Triangle (instrument), a musical …   Wikipedia

  • Triangle Pictures — Triangle Film Corporation (alias Triangle Pictures ou Triangle Motion Picture Company) était une importante société de production et de distribution de cinéma fondé en 1915 par Harry et Roy Aitken à Culver City en Californie. Il fut imaginé pour… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Triangle Film Corporation — (a.k.a. Triangle Motion Picture Company ) was a major American motion picture studio, founded in the summer of 1915 in Culver City, California, and envisioned as a prestige studio based on the producing abilities of filmmakers D. W. Griffith,… …   Wikipedia

  • Triangle de kobon — Le problème des triangles de Kobon est un problème de géométrie combinatoire non résolu qui fut énoncé pour la première fois par le mathématicien Kobon Fujimura[1]. Le problème pose la question suivante : quel est le nombre maximal de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire — Coordinates: 40°43′48″N 73°59′43″W / 40.730085°N 73.995356°W / 40.730085; 73.995356 …   Wikipedia

  • Triangle (Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode) — Infobox Television episode Title=Triangle Series=Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series) Season=5 Episode=11 Airdate=January 9, 2001 Production=5ABB11 Writer=Jane Espenson Director=Christopher Hibler Episode list=List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer… …   Wikipedia

  • Triangle, Virginia — Infobox Settlement official name = Triangle, Virginia settlement type = CDP nickname = motto = imagesize = image caption = image mapsize = 250x200px map caption = Location of Triangle, Virginia mapsize1 = map caption1 = subdivision type = Country …   Wikipedia

  • Triangle Transit — The Research Triangle Regional Public Transportation Authority which is known by the name Triangle Transit (formerly Triangle Transit Authority or TTA) provides regional bus service to The Triangle region of North Carolina in the counties of Wake …   Wikipedia

  • Triangle Fraternity — Infobox Fraternity letters = name =Triangle Fraternity crest = founded =birth date and age|1907|4|15 birthplace =University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign type =Social emphasis =Engineers, Architects, and Scientists scope =National mission =… …   Wikipedia

  • Triangle of reference — The triangle of reference (also known as the triangle of meaning[1] and the semiotic triangle) is a model of how linguistic symbols are related to the objects they represent. The triangle was published in The Meaning of Meaning (1923) by Ogden… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.