‘Triangle of Life’ advice resurfaces (again)

Many of our course attendees ask us what we think about the triangle of life earthquake advice circulating in cyberspace, originally generated by Doug Copp, a self-professed emergency management expert.  The triangle of life theory usually resurfaces following a major earthquake such as Haiti, or most recently Chile.

This advice has been widely discredited by leading emergency management agencies throughout the world, including New Zealand and we recommend people choose well developed, researched and official advice over unsolicited information from a self-professed expert.

  • ‘Drop, cover and hold’ is the official advice of the New Zealand Government developed collaboratively with expert agencies such as GNS Science, EQC and the Society of Earthquake Engineers.
  • Earthquakes don’t tend to kill people; people die from being struck by falling objects or catastrophic building failure
  • New Zealand’s excellent building code means it is unlikely a building will suffer catastrophic failure
  • Most people greatly underestimate the violent shaking of a strong earthquake and how much of a threat exists from unsecured objects being thrown around a room.

Click here for the official Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) response to the triangle of life advice.

Click here to read academic analysis of the triangle of life advice by Dr Marla Petal who has researched the 1999 Izmit, Turkey earthquake.