Snap Shot: Drop, Cover and Hold

We have all heard of the saying.  For those that live or lived in earthquake country, we had the drills in school.  “Earthquake, earthquake, now kids go under the desk and hold on real tight.”

What is the real point of doing this?  Does this really help anyone out in a real earthquake?  And if so, then why do all the youtube videos show people just standing around when it starts to shake?  What about the “triangle of life”, what makes it a good or bad concept?

These are all great questions (pat myself on the back)  and let us see where it takes us.

Q: What is the real point in doing this?

A:  The real point of doing this is to stay alive.  Things fall down, and head injuries are no laughing matter.  If debrie does fall all around you, you will have a pocket of air.  The hope is that it could be enough to keep you alive until rescue comes.

Q: Does this really help anyone out in a real earthquake?

A:  No, it’s just a sad, sad joke


It helps for the following reasons that Earthquake  goes into:

The greatest danger is from falling and flying objects: Studies of injuries and deaths caused by earthquakes over the last several decades show that you are much more likely to be injured by falling or flying objects (TVs, lamps, glass, bookcases, etc.) than to die in a collapsed building. “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” (as described above) will protect you from most of these injuries

Q:  Why do all the people on YouTube just stand there looking dumbfounded?

A: I bet you a beer you already know the answer to the question J  But let us delve into some psychology for a deeper answer.

Your elders never practice the drill at work.  Everyone is to busy telling themselves that they don’t have time to practice “silly things.”

When you do not practice, the muscle memory is not there when you need it.  Just like your coach said, “Practice makes perfect.”

Then there is just sheer shock.  In Japan they are used to the idea of earthquakes, but even they were taken aback but such a power quake.

So Elders, listen up!!  Be a role model to your kids and to your fellow citzens.  Ask your manager for 10 seconds a month to practice the drill.  It could be on a Friday, close to shutting down, so that it does not effect work.

Parents, point out the faults of those on the video.  It is an excellent time to remind them the dangers of not doing a simple action.

Q: What about the “triangle of life”, what makes it a good or bad concept? 

A:  If you ever have the weird desire to piss off a fireman, or emergency manager, just bring up the word, “triangle of life.”  And then step back for your own safety.

Doug Copp delveloped the idea.  Mr. Copp claims that the angle of buildings falling down will create many triangle areas within a building.  He claims that he shot a video with mannequins inside and had the building destroyed.  He claims that all of the survivors were in the “triangle of life.”

People there are some many things wrong with Mr. Copp claims it is hard to know where to begin.

  • Facts prove that more people die from falling objects than ducking under a desk.
  • His supposed video is in a control environment and NOT from a real life earthquake.
  • He should of worked with FEMA and Red Cross if he thought he had a vaild idea.
  • If you have any doubts this man is a loon, then I would recommend the article from  I will admit, not the most scientific website, but the article does the job.

On October 18th, Oregon will be taking part in the Nation Wide Drop, Cover and Hold exerice.  Look under the Resource section for the website.

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  1. September 15, 2012 15:18 Reply

    If you are in the ham radio community, the real question is, what will YOU be doing? What can you organize for your community? We ask that everyone interested in participating in the ShakeOutBC drill use every tool available to them to get the word out about earthquake safety and to take the steps they would take during an earthquake.

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