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How to Survive an Earthquake -- Tips From a Pro

February 25, 2010 | 57,664 views
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earthquakeDoug Copp is the rescue chief and disaster manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI). Here is his advice on how to survive an earthquake.

Copp's advice is as follows:

  1. Almost everyone who simply 'ducks and covers' when buildings collapse may be 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.

    That position helps you survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa or other large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.

  3. Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquake. If a wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks, and will cause injuries but fewer squashed bodies than concrete slabs. Concrete slab buildings are the most dangerous during an earthquake.

  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.

  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. Almost everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. 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.

  7. Never go to the stairs. The stairs swing separately from the main part of the building, so the stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. 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.

  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 the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.

  9. People inside of their vehicles can be crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles. Get out and lie in the fetal position next to your vehicles.

  10. Paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.

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Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Normally, I do not comment on entertainment articles such as this one. I simply post them as general self-help, or for your enjoyment.

In this case, however, I realize that may have been a mistake, as Doug Copp's advice has been disputed by the American Red Cross and other organizations.

These organizations have questioned the methodology of his tests, and pointed out that his advice is based on observations made in Turkey, where engineering and construction standards may lead to more building collapse than in the U.S. 

The Red Cross continues to recommend the 'Drop, Cover, and Hold On' system as the best method for earthquake survival.

In addition, Snopes.com, for example, points out that some question Copp’s level of expertise, and although they don’t dispute all of the points above as being bad or wrong advice, they do caution readers to keep in mind that the building codes of the US may render some of it more or less useless.

It may be worthwhile, if you live in the US, to review the advice from other local sources such as the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

While you’re at it, you may want to print out an earthquake preparedness list, since knowing what you can do BEFORE to prepare, and what to do AFTER the quake may be just as vital as knowing what to do during. Here’s one from the American Red Cross, and a more in-depth emergency preparedness ebook from the Los Angeles Fire Department.


[+] Sources and References

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