You may already know all this stuff, but in case you don't, I'm sending it

to my nearest and dearest. It's worth reading in case the 'big one' comes,

"not if, but when", that's always being promised lately. Love, Judy. xxx



Edited by Larry


Linn for MAA Safety Committee brief on 4/13/04.

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



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



In 1996 we made a film which proved my survival methodology to be

correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul, University of

Istanbul Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this practical, scientific test.


We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten mannequins did "duck and cover," and ten mannequins I used in my "triangle of life" survival method. After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble and entered the building to film and document the results. The film, in which I practised my survival techniques under directly observable, scientific conditions, relevant to building collapse, showed there would have been zero percent survival for those doing duck and cover. There would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my method of the "triangle of life." This film has been seen by millions of viewers on television in Turkey and the rest of Europe, and it was seen in the USA, Canada and Latin America on the TV program Real TV.


The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City

during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under their 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. They are everywhere.




1) Most everyone who simply "ducks and covers" 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



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. Ifthe 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 and 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.


8) 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 of 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...