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Triangle of Life claim

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  • Triangle of Life claim

    Hi Folks,
    First and foremost, thanks to the firefighters and related first responders for your daily attention to helping others before yourselves. I was a firefighter in the Navy and I appreciate, very much, what you do each day.

    Now, on to my question...

    I am in charge of emergency preparedness/disaster recovery where I work and an employee asked me about this "triangle of life" story.

    The story basically goes this way - when buildings collapse in an earthquake, there are these triangular spaces where a person could survive the collapse if they get into those areas.

    This is the WIKI page about it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangle_of_Life
    What I'd like to know is if any of you have been in some of the larger earthquakes and made a similar observation. I get it from a geometric standpoint, but I want to be able to explain ot to the employees here since they are quite in tune with earthquakes right now - we had a 3.4 "bump and a roll" just yesterday and this topic is circulating.

    Ultimately, I want my employees worrying about basic cover and not scrambling about for the mystical triangle for safety.

    Any input or observations would be greatly appreciated.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Jim Marchetti

  • #2

    Check starting around page 5-36


    • #3
      The theory would seem to have some value. However, before you go quoting it as gospel, you need to do a little research on Doug Copp (proponent of the "Triangle of Life" concept). He is controversial, to say the least. He is a self promoter and claims to have been at every major disaster and building collapse anywhere in the known world for the last 20 years, some of which claims have been discredited. He is also trying to sell a questionable device called the "Copp Casualty Locator" or some such thing that he claims can locate victims in collapses.

      His writings may have some validity, but some of his past shenanigans throw them into question....

      You'd be better advised to locate your nearest legitimate USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) team and start from there, I think....
      Last edited by dmleblanc; 04-19-2011, 06:19 PM.
      Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
      Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
      Paincourtville, LA

      "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
      — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"


      • #4

        It is more then likely a matter of luck, if you wind up in a void space. ALso, the presence of mind to maybe even react to move.


        • #5
          Chief LeBlanc and fire49 - thank you. I sort of though the guy was a bit self-oriented, but there might be some credence to the concept in general.

          We're sticking with the standards here and your advice is well received.

          I will seek out the local USAR - good idea. We've had to FD out here as we develop our evacuation plans for the site and we are executing the first ever fire drill for this whole office complex.

          Thanks so much for your feedback and guidance,


          • #6
            The number and size of the void spaces will depend on a number of factors including building materials, building type, dead loads and mechanism of collapse. I beleive in the type of earthquake in terms of duration and severity will have an effect on the size, location and number of void spaces.

            Even the WTC, which was almost completely flattened in a pancake collapse had a couple of void spaces in the stairwells where a few survived.

            Basically it does come down to luck, pure ans simple.
            Train to fight the fires you fight.


            • #7
              Yep, my guidance to the employees will be what it's been before and not to go scrambling around looking for the perfect spot. Just take cover. Simple.

              Thanks to all for the superfast responses!


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