- Triangle of Life
The Triangle of Life is a controversial theory advocated by
Doug Coppabout 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 shelternear solid items that will provide a protective space, a void or space that could prevent injuryor 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. [http://www.earthquakecountry.info/dropcoverholdon/ 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. [ [http://www.abqjournal.com/terror/ 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.
* [http://www.amerrescue.org/triangleoflife.htm AmerRescue.org] Official Triangle of Life website.
* [http://www.earthquakecountry.info/dropcoverholdon/ EarthquakeCountry.info] Earthquake Country Alliance's response to the 'Triangle of Life'.
* [http://www2.bpaonline.org/Emergencyprep/arc-on-doug-copp.html BPAonline.org] Response from the American Red Cross.
** [http://www.redcross.org/services/disaster/0,1082,0_583_,00.html American Red Cross] earthquake preparedness advice.
* [http://www.kahl.net/action/triangle_of_life.htm Kahl.net] Triangle of life compared to Drop, cover & hold.
* [http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/triangle.asp Snopes.com] Urban Legends Reference article on Triangle of Life.
* [http://www.abqjournal.com/terror/ Albuquerque Journal Series] Albuquerque Journal Newspaper extensive series about Copp detailing potential fraud.
* [http://www.abqjournal.com/terror/199912fire07-18-04.htm Albuquerque Journal] Article regarding Doug Copp's 9/11 health claims.
* [http://www.earthquakecountry.info/dropcoverholdon/Petal_on_Copp.pdf Petal on Copp] Opinion on Copp's assertions.
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