LDS Emergency Preparedness

Be Prepared, Not Scared!

Triangle of Life

Posted by Elise on March 27, 2010

The E-mail  about “triangle of life”  by Doug Copp is dangerous.  Please do not take his advice.  Experts at every level in the U.S. agree that “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” is the best thing to do during earthquakes.
In a written response, Red Cross community disaster education manager Rocky Lopes, says these survival suggestions don’t apply in the United States because they’re based on observations made in Turkey, where engineering and construction standards are different. “Much research in the United States has confirmed that ‘Drop, Cover, and Hold On!’ has saved lives in the United States,” writes Lopes. “Engineering researchers have demonstrated that very few buildings collapse or ‘pancake’ in the U.S. as they might do in other countries.”   “Some of the things he recommends are absolutely dangerous, like getting out of your car and lying down next to the car,” UCLA public health expert Kimberley Shoaf told Knight Ridder Newspapers in November 2004. A former deputy director of the California Office of Emergency Services, Mark Ghilarducci, agreed that “duck, cover and hold on” remains the best overall strategy for survival during an earthquake.
Dr. Marla Petal is director of the Bogazici University, Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute’s Disaster Preparedness Education Program in Turkey.  Her doctoral research was on the causes of death in the 1999 Kocaeli earthquake in Turkey, which killed more than 20,000 people.  She called the advice of Doug Copp “plainly dangerous” and “worse than an urban legend.”   She said that there are indeed “triangles of life” in collapsed buildings where searchers look first for survivors—but that it is impossible to predict where those spaces will be.  She said, for example, that hiding next to a refrigerator or some other heavy object could be deadly because there is no way to anticipate which direction the object may move during a quake.  You could get crushed.  The same is true with automobiles.  She said that a strong earthquake will move and sometimes topple cars so simply getting out of the car and lying next to it does not create a dependable safety zone. 

Copp also found himself a center of controversy especially after a series of articles in 2004 by the Albuquerque Journal in New Mexico.   Copp has claimed to have played a key role in rescue activities at Ground Zero in New York after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.  He was granted more than $600,000 in compensation for what he said are injuries from the event, mostly toxicity.  The articles in the Albuquerque journal questioned both whether he played any important role at Ground Zero and whether he was eligible for any compensation for injury.  In a four-part series about Copp, the Journal quoted several people who saw Copp at Ground Zero as saying that he showed up with a video camera and did no serious rescue work.  The U.S. Justice Department fraud unit was investigating.


4 Responses to “Triangle of Life”

  1. amerrescue said

    Go to this link to read the California newspaper article stating that you were duped. Copp is the complete opposite of a fraud. The publisher of the ABQ Journal is the fraud. Posted on October 14, 2010 by amerrescue

    • I’ve posted your link so anyone that is interested can read another opinion. Unfortunately, I don’t know how far they will read because it is negative, angry and some of the language offensive.

      • Doug Copp said

        The truth presented in the California newspaper article mentioned is factual, and not nearly as offensive as the lies which were told and consequently endangered children’s lives. Once again, the big problem with the internet is that stupid people with an unfettered mouth and no basic sense to value the trutn… rapant.

        If you consider the truth to be offensive and your own safety to be of little value then you get what you deserve.

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