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'Triangle of Life' Sends Wrong Message

From Amanda Mark, Preparedness Department

American Red Cross National Headquarters

“Recently, the American Red Cross, along with other organizations involved in disaster preparedness education, became aware of information circulating via the internet and email that contradicts currently accepted standard advice for staying as safe as possible during an earthquake.

“The recommendations being circulated are inaccurate for application in the United States and are inconsistent with information developed through earthquake research.

“Research has shown that most injuries in U.S. earthquakes occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave. Consistent with the experts, the Red Cross strongly advises against moving (that is, attempting to escape) during the shaking of an earthquake. The more movement and the longer the distance that a person tries to go, the more likely they are to become injured by falling or flying debris, or by tripping, falling, or getting cut by damaged floors, walls, and items in the path of escape.

“Earthquake experts further suggest quickly seeking a place of safety, such as under a sturdy table or desk, and moving as short a distance as possible to that place of safety. Because the research continues to demonstrate that – in the U.S. – “Drop, Cover and Hold On!” works, the American Red Cross continues to back this recommendation. It is the most reliable and easiest method to teach people, including children.

“The American Red Cross, being a U.S.-based organization, does not extend its recommendations to apply in other countries.”

Published in NET Soundings
by Pierce County Emergency Management
Winter 2004/05
Volume 3, Issue 3, page 1


More Information More information from the American Red Cross is available at:

ead what Urban Legends has to say about the Triangle of Life theory: (15 September 2004)