1) “Drop, cover & hold on” is still the recommended action to take
during the shaking according to all major
and credible earthquake
2) You are more likely to be killed or injured from building contents and imploding glass than from
structural collapse. To protect yourself from these hazards,
a) Contents of homes, offices and schools should be braced or secured with proper seismic restraint
devices, AND …
b) You must also take protective cover within three seconds or less during an actual earthquake.
3) Getting under a table is not always necessary, but cover should always be used when it is available,
if it is available within the three-second rule.
a) Contrary to Copp’s claims that cover will “always” crush the victims, numerous
actual post-earthquake studies show clear evidence that cover helps to protect the victims from injury from flying building
contents and imploding glass, AND…
b) Cover can provide crucial support in the event of structural collapse. For instance, in one earthquake, one building had student desks that consist of merely a chair with
a writing arm, and it was the writing arms of those desks that held up the collapsing story from above.
4) It is better to drop, cover & hold on within three seconds, even if no table is immediately
available to get under, than to attempt to get to another “safer” location.
The time element is critical.
a) Victims who try to move on their feet during serious shaking are often thrown violently by
the seismic forces and can suffer serious injury from being thrown AND…
b) Are at risk for suffering life-threatening injuries from being simultaneously imbedded with glass
shards. Actual post-earthquake data show that large and dagger-like shards of
glass can travel more than 20 feet, and with enough force to penetrate solid wood. If you are attempting to move
on your feet, your entire body is exposed to glass and other objects that can forcefully fly from every direction.
some links to follow for more information, especially about the "Triangle of Life".
for a copy of a letter on this topic, which was distributed to emergency management professionals across the country, and
written by Rocky Lopes, PhD, (/formerly Manager, Community Disaster EducationPreparedness Department of the American Red Cross
National Headquarters).His letter can be viewed at:
there was an investigative series in the Albuquerque Journal about the author of the faulty Triangle of Life theory, Doug
Copp. Readers can start with the following link, and then jump from there to the full investigative series. Start