21 February 2018

Triangle Of Life – Disaster Or Fact?

Posted on 1 March 2010 by in Society

Triangle Of Life  – Disaster Or Fact?

Controversy rages over the email that has been circulating known as the ‘Triangle of Life’, as a means of surviving an earthquake.

Studies of injuries and deaths caused by earthquakes over the last several decades indicate that you are much more likely to be killed or hurt by flying objects, such as TVs, lamps, glass, bookcases etc., than to die in a collapsed building.

Earthquakes, which often last only seconds, occur without warning and can be so violent there is no time to run or crawl. More often than not people are simply knocked to the ground.

The recommended method is that immediately when the earthquake begins:

  • DROP down onto your knees (before the earthquakes knocks you down). This position makes you a smaller target but allows you to still move if necessary.
  • COVER your head and neck (or your entire body) under a strong table or desk. If there is no table to get under, get down near an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands. Outer walls have windows that can break and spew glass everywhere.
  • HOLD ON to the furniture or to your head and neck until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.

Tthe ‘Triangle of Life’ suggests lying beside furniture, or stopping the car and lying down beside it. Official rescue teams, emergency managers, researchers and school safety advocates all agree that the ‘Triangle of Life’ method is considered dangerous and the credibility of the main advocate has been challenged.

Experts say that the ‘Triangle of Life’ theory is based on several wrong assumptions:

  • Buildings always collapse and crush all the furniture
  • Residents can always anticipate how their building might collapse
  • Residents can anticipate the location of survivable void spaces
  • Residents can move to a desired location
  • The car you get out of and lie down beside is going to remain stationary.

All agree, the old method of racing for a door frame was alright if you are in an adobe house with a heavy ceiling, where the frames were the strongest part. Today with stricter building codes, the doorframes are no stronger than any other part of the building.

Experts firmly believe that the tried and trusted method of ‘Drop Cover and Hold On’ is still the safest method of surviving an earthquake.


No Responses to “Triangle Of Life – Disaster Or Fact?”

  1. Tyrone Branard 6 May 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    hi im a student at St Georges school nz for scence are teacher would like us to find out info and see what we think is best triangle of life or duck cover hold i was hopinh you could help me out

  2. Doug Copp 30 October 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    The comments above regarding duck and cover are just plain stupid and have no basis in reality. Those flimsy little desks couldn’t hold up a person’s weight let alone a ceiling.


    Go to this link to read the California newspaper article any desire to actually survive an earthquake then read the following and go to http://www.amerrescue.org and to the Doug Copp blog link. Also read the California newspaper expose of Lang and these scum.


    doug copp

    founder of ARTI ( the world’s most experienced rescue and disaster mitigation/management organization) and the Discoverer of the ‘triangle of life’ to take building collapse survivability from 2% using ‘duck and cover’ to 90% using the ‘triangle of life’
    ARTI is All Unpaid Volunteers willing to stand up to and fight USA insurance companies and bureaucrats who consider it cheaper and less trouble if victims die rather than survive with possible trauma and sue ( less profit for insurance companies and higher premiums for bureaucrats)

    “Now, that my 911 injuries have made it impossible for me, to crawl into collapsed buildings, I thank God for allowing me to continue saving lives. I am willing to sacrifice my life, my health, my reputation and endure any attack, slander, burden or harm to fulfill this life purpose. PERIOD.”

    see http://www.amerrescue.org for hundreds of pages of testimonials, videos, docs. Complete information to survive major disaster, learned from doug’s searching 896 collapsed buildings and witnessing 1+ million collapsed buildings, at more than 100 major disaster events; throughout the entire world… amerrescue@aol.com http://www.amerrescue.org
    1-902-567-1227 home

  3. Dave 29 April 2011 at 10:12 am #

    The “triangle of life” method is a dangerous internet myth that has appeared in recent years. What’s dangerous is it will lead to more deaths than necessary during earthquakes. The “drop and cover” method is still the best method in the US and many other nations because: a) most buildings won’t collapse b) falling debris kill far more people c) moving around to locate a “triangle of life” is more likely to get you killed than if you had followed “duck and cover”. I recall watching a earthquake show on discovery about 5 to 10 years ago. It covered the san francisco earthquake where the bridges had collapse. It did comment on how cars had been crushed under rubble from above and how drivers might have been saved if they had been outside their car rather than inside. However, this was a very unique and special circumstance that’s just not very common. I’d recommend you “duck and cover” because experts know the details a lot better.


  1. Is The Triangle Of Life Disaster Or Fact? - 1 March 2010

    […] Those who have studied injuries and deaths caused by earthquakes, over the last several decades, say that you are much more likely to be killed, or hurt, by flying objects, than to die in a collapsed building. Experts firmly believe that the tried and trusted method of ‘Drop Cover and Hold On’ is still the safest method of surviving an earthquake. Read the numerous wrong assumptions in the ‘Triangle of Life’ email… […]

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