The Triangle Of Life
Being caught in an earthquake is probably one of the most
frightening experiences anyone can have. Unless you are outside, in a fairly
open spot, you will run the risk of the building you are in collapsing on you.
For decades, government agencies have promoted the ‘duck and cover’ approach to surviving an earthquake. However, rescue experts have found too many children
squashed flat beneath their desks for this approach to be taken seriously any
The Triangle Of Life?
The Triangle of Life is the space that is formed when a roof or wall collapses
on a piece of sturdy furniture. The legs of a desk or table are just not strong
enough to withstand a heavy structure falling on them and will crumple, killing
anyone who had taken refuge there. It is a sad fact that most government
agencies are still promoting ‘duck and cover’ rather than the Triangle of Life,
and speculation has been made that the interests of the insurance companies
(which would have to pay for medical treatment of injured people) are being put
before human life.
A large chair, a sofa, a bed, the refrigerator, a car are all sturdy objects
that will not collapse completely when heavy debris falls upon them. They will
compress somewhat, but there will always be a space next to them that will
provide shelter from the collapsing structure. Do not get beneath the bed or
car, however, you could easily get crushed there. Taking shelter next to the
object, curling into a fetal position, is the best way to stay alive during an
Staying Alive During An Earthquake
Naturally, the best place to be when there is an earthquake is outside,
preferably away from buildings and trees. However, most people will be caught
inside a structure or in their car when a quake occurs, and they should take
action quickly to protect themselves.
If you are in bed or sitting on an armchair or the couch when a quake strikes,
simply roll off into the space next to it. If the ceiling does collapse, you
will be safe in the Triangle of Life. If an earthquake has so disrupted the
landscape while you are driving that you must stop the vehicle, do not remain
inside it – get out immediately and sit or lie next to the car. If debris falls
on the car, say from an overpass, the car will compress somewhat, but not
enough to crush you (the only exception being if a column falls directly onto
the vehicle). Staying inside the car will mean that you will be crushed if
something falls on the car, the car roof is not sufficient to protect you.
New ideas always come in for a great deal of criticism, and the Triangle of
Life is no exception. However, judging from what happened in Haiti and New
Zealand, I think that I, personally, would take my chances next to my couch
rather than ducking and covering beneath my kitchen table.