Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Disaster Talk

Muha, in his latest entry, mentioned a small tremor at his home in Kajang, sometime late last night. He is not sure whether it caused by soil movement or some structural fault, but it seem the entire residents of the block felt it too and rushed out of their building. Alhamdulillah, though the fault has not been identified, no untoward incident occurred. In light of this, I would like to share with my friends, several tips which I received via email more than 3 years ago.

Before I put the link and the article, I would like to advise caution - I do not know, nor can I verify the website owner. Still, the tips are good and may be a lifesaver. Undoubtedly, living in a country that has had very minimal natural disaster, one may argue some of the points stated. But do remember, our authorities and we ourselves, have almost no experience on such matters, relying on our so called logic and nothing more. Whatever the case, it is up to the individual whether to heed or not.

The website mentioned belongs to Survival Supply at http://www.survival-supply.com/, and the page for the natural disaster tips is http://www.survival-supply.com/info_pages.php?pages_id=9 or as below:

Earthquake Survial Tips
Critical Earthquake Safety Information!!!

My name is Doug Copp. I am the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI), the world's most experienced rescue team. The information in this article will save lives in an earthquake.

I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue teams from 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries, and I am a member of many rescue teams from many countries. I was the United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation (UNX051 -UNIENET) for two years. I have worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985, except for simultaneous disasters.

The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under their desk. Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones. They could have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene, unnecessary and I wondered why the children were not in the aisles. I didn't at the time know that the children were told to hide under something.

Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them. This space is what I call the "triangle of life". The larger the object, the stronger, the less it will compact. The less the object compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability that the person who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next time you watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the "triangles" you see formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, in a collapsed building. They are everywhere. I trained the Fire Department of Trujillo (population 750,000) in how to survive, take care of their families, and to rescue others in earthquakes.

The chief of rescue in the Trujillo Fire Department is a professor at Trujillo University. He accompanied me everywhere. He gave personal testimony: "My name is Roberto Rosales. I am Chief of Rescue in Trujillo. When I was 11 years old, I was trapped inside of a collapsed building. My entrapment occurred during the earthquake of 1972 that killed 70,000 people. I survived in the "triangle of life" that existed next to my brother's motorcycle. My friends who got under the bed and under desks were crushed to death [he gives more details, names, addresses etc.]...I am the living example of the "triangle of life". My dead friends are the example of "duck and cover".


1) Everyone who simply "ducks and covers" WHEN BUILDINGS COLLAPSE is crushed to death -- Every time, without exception. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are always crushed.

2) Cats, dogs and babies all naturally often curl up in the fetal position. You should too in an earthquake. It is a natural safety/survival instinct. You can survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a 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. The reason is simple: the wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less squashed bodies than concrete slabs.

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. Hotels can achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes, simply by posting a sign on the back of the door of every room, telling occupants to lie down on the floor, next to the bottom of the bed during an earthquake.

5) If an earthquake happens while you are watching television 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) Everybody who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. How? 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. In either case, you will be killed!

7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different "moment of frequency" (they swing separately from the main part of the building).The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads. They are horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn'tt collapse, stay away from the stairs. 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 screaming, fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is not damaged.

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 from the outside perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked;

9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway. The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and sitting or lying next to their vehicles, says the author. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All the crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.

10) I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.


Fatin said...



Minci said...

This is very useful. Thank you.

tokasid said...

Salam Shah:

Last night we in Melaka felt the tremors too.
There was a quake in Sumatera mountain range near Sumatera barat with a 5.9 Ritcher scale.
Everyone in the house(cats too) felt it except me.

waterlily said...


Informasi ini sangat bermunafaat.
Semoga Allah swt melindungi kita. Sebelum tu, ikhtiar perlu datang dari kita.

Doc TA,
Macam mana boleh tak rasa. Tidoq ka atau Doc ada ilmu kebal LOL :)

mOEha Aziz said...

salam ya akhi,

docTA is rite... ada quake in north Sumatra (Acheh lagi... as Nizam would say hehehe) around 6.1 on the richter scale...

btw, thanks for the tips... it is very useful and practicable... love the idea of the 'life triangles' :)

Zawi said...

Our friend Feizal is grieving over the demise of his beloved grandma. Let us offer our prayers for her.

Snowflake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ydiana said...

Great tips! This piece of info should be circulated around worldwide especially at earthquake prone area like Indonesia, etc. Imagine how many lives can be saved in China if they read this first? Anyway, we have the tendency that things like this will happen to anyone but us; Selisih na'uzubillah, but we should all remember these tips.

cakapaje said...

Wa'alaikumusalam fatin,

Er...seriously Malaysia have been getting tremors, or seriously about the tips given?

If about the tremors, yes. In fact, last night was not the first time. I believe Penang have felt several already in the past years.

If its about the tips, I would ask you to seriously consider them.

cakapaje said...

Salam minci,

Yes, it is, isn't it? And you are most welcome :)

cakapaje said...

Wa'alaikumusalam Doc,

Hmm...I learned this afternoon that certain parts of Kota Damansara felt it too! Strangely, like you, neither emak nor I did.

cakapaje said...

Wa'alaikumusalam WL,

Benar, kita harus berusaha terlebih dahulu. Ilmu, membantu kita kearah usaha itu, insyAllah :)

Oh! Doc TA terkena General Anesthetic kut, sebab tu dia tak sedar langsung, lol! Jangan marah ye Doc :)

cakapaje said...

Wa'alaikumusalam ya Muha,

Thanks. I got to know about the earthquake much later after putting in the entry.

And, you are most welcome bro. The tips here, well, the owner of the website should be thanked too :)

cakapaje said...

Salam Pak Zawi,

Yes, I received Doc TA's text on the matter early in the morning, and have sent our bro a condolence message, as well a recitation of the Al-Fatihah.

cakapaje said...

Saslam ydiana,

Glad you like the tips too. And, I believe it has been circulated around the world already. When I received the email sometime in 2004, I was in an Islamic egroup meant for Muslims all over the globe. But it won't harm if you continue sending it. Please do :)

Kata Tak Nak said...

Doc called me up to ask if I felt a tremor. I did not feel anything but later my daughter said that she did feel dizzy for a spell.

cakapaje said...

Salam Cikgu,

I would expect Penang to have felt it more than the rest of us as history have shown. But alhamdulillah, as there were minimal effect on Malaysia.

J.T. said...

Thanks for posting the tips. I was always told that standing in the doorway was safe. Good to know it is not!

Now to look for tips on hurricanes. It has been happening quite a lot in the States lately. I guess it is hurricane season.

cakapaje said...

Hi JT,

Would appreciate it if you could check out the validity of the website since you are there. Since it first appeared, I have not read any negative comments about the site, but I am afraid about giving out the wrong info - only did this as a friend was asking on the matter.

Thanks for dropping by :)

J.T. said...

Hi Shah

I checked Snopes.com to verify this individual by the name of Doug Copp. Please go to this website to read more.
(sorry I am not familiar with HTML tags to make this link active for you). :)
If this does not work, go to snopes.com and key in "Doug Copp". You should get results on his name and his claim.

Snopes.com recommends sticking with safety information prepared by established earthquake safety experts such as American Red Cross or FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency).

Well, good to know that now. :)

cakapaje said...

Hi again JT,

Thanks, I've put up the correction already :)