ANR Environmental Health & Safety
University of California
ANR Environmental Health & Safety

Facility Management

Question

We just viewed the video about “Emergencies in the Workplace” and the EH&S Safety Note #6 on Earthquake Safety. Both sources indicated that in case of earthquakes, one should take cover under a sturdy object. However, new information provided to us talks about “the triangle effect”. If this is the procedure that we should be following then the video and safety note should be updated. Please advise.

Answer

The “Triangle of Life” theory of earthquake safety is subject to some dispute.  The prevailing guidance in the U.S. (from FEMA, Cal EMA, and Red Cross) is Drop, Cover and Hold On.  Please see the attached links from emergency management agencies concerning what to do during an earthquake:

The Great California Shake Out

FEMA - What to Do During an Earthquake

Be Red Cross Ready

 

Also, here are a couple articles refuting the Triangle of Life claims:

Earthquake Country Alliance

Earthquake Solutions - Triangle of Life

CERT L.A. - Community Emergency Response Team

Snopes.com - Triangle of Life

 

In the meantime, we will stay consistent with the FEMA and Cal EMA guidance.  However, we’ll look at updating the Safety Note if prevailing earthquake safety guidelines change.

 

Last Updated

October 18, 2010


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