American Rescue Team International (ARTI) has 31,000 associated members in 32 countries. If you would like more information about this organization or on becoming a member of it contact ARTI at P. O Box 489, Alameda, CA 94501; phone/fax 510-523-5493 email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: http://www.amerrescue.org -- The editors.
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 of 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.
In 1996 we made a film which proved my survival methodology to be correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul, University of Istanbul, Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this practical, scientific test. We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten mannequins did "duck and cover," and 10 mannequins I used in my "triangle of life" survival method. After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble and entered the building to film and document the results.
The film, in which I practiced my survival techniques under directly observable, scientific conditions, relevant to building collapse, showed there would have been zero percent survival for those doing duck and cover. There would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my method of the "triangle of life." This film has been seen by millions of viewers on television in Turkey and the rest of Europe, and it was seen in the USA, Canada and Latin America on the TV program Real TV. You can see clips from this on our web site.
ARTI and Turkish rescue team members take a rest in a collapsed Turkish building, in the void, next to a carrying beam.
The author, ARTI Chief Doug Copp, inside of a collapsed apartment building in Turkey in 1999.There, rescuers saved the life of a little girl trapped under nine floors of concrete for four days.
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. Everyone who simply ducks and covers when buildings collapse is crushed to death -- Every time, without exception.
In the office of the American Ambassador to Peru there was a large, strong steel safe. It had a low center of gravity (It had a broad base and was short in height). Its shape meant that it would not fall over very easily, in an earthquake. It would be stable. I told the ambassador: "If an earthquake should occur and completely destroy this building, killing every single person inside... I will survive because I will be in the space next to the safe"