After every earthquake there is an email that circulates extolling the benefits of protecting yourself by using the triangle of life. I see it referred to on blogs and emergency preparedness sites as though it were a new and great idea that will save thousands of lives. Please, when you get those refer them to this post.
"We at the American Red Cross have studied the research on the topic of earthquake safety for many years. We have benefited from extensive research done by the California Office of Emergency Services, California Seismic Safety Commission, professional and academic research organizations, and emergency management agencies, who have also studied the recommendation to "drop, cover, and hold on!" during the shaking of an earthquake. Personally, I have also benefited from those who preceded me in doing earthquake education in California since the Field Act was passed in 1933.
What the claims made by Mr. Copp of ARTI, Inc., does not seem to distinguish is that the recommendation to "drop, cover, and hold on!" is a U.S.-based recommendation based on U.S. Building Codes and construction standards. Much research in the United States has confirmed that "Drop, Cover, and Hold On!" has saved lives in the United States. Engineering researchers have demonstrated that very few buildings collapse or "pancake" in the U.S. as they might do in other countries. Using a web site to show one picture of one U.S. building that had a partial collapse after a major quake in an area with thousands of buildings that did not collapse during the same quake is inappropriate and misleading.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which collects data on injuries and deaths from all reportable causes in the U.S., as well as data from three University-based studies performed after the Loma Prieta (September, 1989) and Northridge (January, 1994) earthquakes in California, the following data are indicated: Loma Prieta: 63 deaths, approximately 3,700 people were injured. Most injuries happened as a result of the collapse of the Cypress Street section of I-880 in Oakland. Northridge: 57 deaths, 1,500 serious injuries. Most injuries were from falls caused by people trying to get out of their homes, or serious cuts and broken bones when people ran, barefooted, over broken glass (the earthquake happened in the early morning on a federal holiday when many people were still in bed.) There were millions of people in each of these earthquake-affected areas, and of those millions, many of them reported to have "dropped, covered, and held on" during the shaking of the earthquake."
Marla Petal, Ph.D. is Director of Bogaziçi University, Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute's Disaster Preparedness Education Program. Her doctoral research is on the causes of deaths in the 1999 Kocaeli Earthquake and implications of these findings for public education. September, 2004
….In an investigation of more than 15,000 words, a 4 day series of 7 articles July 11-14th, 2004 theAlbuquerque Journal more than atones for being briefly taken in by Copp's claim to be "the most experienced rescuer in the world, equipped with the only device that could detect the scent of decaying flesh" (http://www.abqjournal.com/terror/196540nm07-11-04.htm) The Journal flew Copp to New York on the corporate plane immediately after 9/11. It wasn't until in the air that publisher Lang recognized Copp to be "bogus" and "unprofessional" and later on the ground that he discovered that Copp's "rescue crew" consisted of a video producer, camera operator, filmmaker and archeologist (also taken in by his claims). According to Albuquerque Journal reporter Leslie Linthicum, in New York Copp promoted an offthe- shelf gas detector with his own sticker slapped on, blackened his face for the camera, freeloaded and lounged in a donated hotel room, failed to check in with the command center, ignored instructions of authorities, and was a shameless self-promoter hawking video to Inside Edition and making claims to having been in 2,000 seriously life-threatening situations and 892 collapsed buildings. He claimed to have rescued 40 people at ground zero. He claims to be been written up in 50,000 newspapers. Later he managed to collect $649,885 in victim compensation based on claims now being investigated by the Justice Department.
"We would like to note that the 10 tips you shared from Doug Copp are not corroborated by the ODPEM, the International Red Cross, Federal State and local emergency management experts and other official preparedness organisations," Ronald Jackson, director general of the ODPEM, said in a statement yesterday.
"As a matter of fact, his (Copp's) assertions that he has seen people who died from not using his method are not supported as his supposed experiment was a rescue exercise and did not simulate the lateral movement of earthquakes, making his results highly misleading," said Jackson.