What is the "Triangle of Life" and is it legitimate?

The "Triangle of Life" is a misguided idea about the best location a person should try to occupy during an earthquake. Based on observations of an earthquake in Turkey, the idea doesn't apply to buildings constructed within the United States.

Drop, cover, and hold under a table or desk is still the best recommendation, according to the American Red Cross.

Learn more:

American Red Cross response to "Triangle of Life" claims

Southern California Earthquake Center

Earthquake Country Alliance

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Why should people in the eastern U.S. be concerned about earthquakes?

1) Severe earthquakes have occurred in the Eastern U.S.: In November of 1755, an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 6.0 and a maximum intensity of VIII occurred about 50 miles northeast of Boston, Massachusetts. Boston was heavily damaged. Other strong earthquakes recorded in the continental US were centered in southeastern Missouri near...

What are the Great ShakeOut earthquake drills?

ShakeOut GIF ShakeOut GIF showing what to do in an earthquake if you are near a sturdy desk or table.(Public domain.) The Great ShakeOut earthquake drills are based on scenario earthquakes that could effect the area if they were to actually take place. Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills are an...

What do I do AFTER an earthquake?

WEAR STURDY SHOES to avoid injury from broken glass and debris. Expect aftershocks CHECK FOR INJURIES If a person is bleeding, put direct pressure on the wound, use clean gauze or cloth if available If a person is not breathing administer CPR DO NOT attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in further danger of injury COVER injured...

What can I expect in my house when an earthquake occurs? How do I identify it? What can be done?

The contents of your home may be damaged and can be dangerous: Shaking can make light fixtures fall, refrigerators and other large items move across the floor, and bookcases and television sets topple over. IDENTIFY: Look around your house for things that could fall or move. Ask yourself if your cupboard doors could fly open (allowing dishes to...

What can I do to be prepared for an earthquake?

Estimate what EQ of what size are likely to occur (geology) Given the EQ size we then estimate what the shaking will be (seismology) Given the shaking estimate the response of different types of buildings (EQ engineering). Only with all these steps can we act as a society to enact bldg. codes and retrofitting programs to make our community safer...

What emergency supplies do I need for an earthquake?

Fire extinguisher Adequate supplies of medications that you or family members are taking Crescent and pipe wrenches to turn off gas and water supplies First-aid kit and handbook Flashlights with extra bulbs and batteries Portable radio with extra batteries Water for each family member for at least two weeks (allow at least 1 gallon per person per...

What should I do DURING an earthquake?

If you are INDOORS--STAY THERE! Get under a desk or table and hang on to it ( Drop, Cover, and Hold on! ) or move into a hallway or against an inside wall. STAY CLEAR of windows, fireplaces, and heavy furniture or appliances. GET OUT of the kitchen, which is a dangerous place (things can fall on you). DON'T run downstairs or rush outside while the...

What should I NOT do during an earthquake?

DO NOT turn on the gas again if you turned it off; let the gas company do it DO NOT use matches, lighters, camp stoves or barbecues, electrical equipment, appliances UNTIL you are sure there are no gas leaks. They may create a spark that could ignite leaking gas and cause an explosion and fire DO NOT use your telephone, EXCEPT for a medical or...
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Date published: October 18, 2017

Are You Ready to ShakeOut on October 19?

Do you know what to do the moment the ground starts shaking? Drop, Cover, and Hold On!

Date published: October 9, 2015

Los Angeles will have the nation's toughest earthquake safety rules

Los Angeles will have the nation's toughest earthquake safety rules

Date published: June 3, 2015

ESC Seminar: HayWired Scenario Progress Discussion

ESC Seminar: HayWired Scenario Progress Discussion

Date published: May 12, 2010

Congressional Briefing -- Citizen Science and Earthquakes: Reducing the Risk Through the Power of People

In the United States, 1 in 4 people live with the risk of earthquakes. The U.S. Geological Survey and its partners are designing innovative tools to better detect earthquakes and share critical information. The involvement of citizens is key, as decisions made before and immediately after an earthquake can save lives and protect property.

Date published: October 28, 2008

Earthquakes? Don’t Freak Out--ShakeOut!

What if you knew that a magnitude 7.8 earthquake would happen in less than three weeks? In a new video interview, USGS earthquake scientist Dr. Lucy Jones explains that millions of Southern Californians will be preparing as if they do know, thanks to the Great Southern California ShakeOut.

Date published: January 3, 2008

Earthquakes claim 709 lives in 2007

At least 709 deaths resulted from earthquake activity worldwide in 2007, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and confirmed by the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Date published: February 10, 2005

2004 Deadliest in Nearly 500 Years for Earthquakes

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 2004 was the deadliest year for earthquakes since the Renaissance Age, making it the second most fatal in recorded history, with more than 275,950 deaths reported from the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the Indian Ocean on Dec. 26. 

Filter Total Items: 11
House damage in central Oklahoma from a magnitude 5.6 earthquake in 2011
February 23, 2017

Damage in central Oklahoma from a magnitude 5.6 earthquake in 2011

House damage in central Oklahoma from the magnitude 5.6 earthquake on Nov. 6, 2011. Research conducted by USGS geophysicist Elizabeth Cochran and her university-based colleagues suggests that this earthquake was induced by injection into deep disposal wells in the Wilzetta North field. Credit: Brian Sherrod, USGS

ShakeOut GIF
October 11, 2016

ShakeOut GIF

ShakeOut GIF showing step five "minimize financial hardship" of the seven steps to earthquake safety.

ShakeOut GIF
October 11, 2016

ShakeOut GIF

ShakeOut GIF showing what to do in an earthquake if you are near a sturdy desk or table.

ShakeOut Don't Freak Out
October 11, 2016

ShakeOut Don't Freak Out

ShakeOut Don't Freak Out

ShakeOut GIF
October 11, 2016

ShakeOut GIF

ShakeOut GIF showing step five "minimize financial hardship" of the seven steps to earthquake safety.

Image: Students Conduct Earthquake Preparedness Drill
October 18, 2012

Students Conduct Earthquake Preparedness Drill

Students participate in the Great Southeast ShakeOut earthquake drill at Langston Hughes Middle School in Reston, Virginia. They are conducting the "drop, cover and hold on" safety procedure.

Image: Between Collapsed Buildings
May 25, 2008

Between Collapsed Buildings

Photographer Ying Ying standing between collapsed buildings in Mianyang.

Image: Collapsed Building
May 25, 2008

Collapsed Building

Partially collapsed residential building in Mianyang.

Image: Apartment in Danger of Collapse
October 17, 1989

Apartment in Danger of Collapse

Entrance and garage level of a Beach Street apartment complex in danger of collapse, Marina District.

Image: Collapsed Garage
October 17, 1989

Collapsed Garage

Collapsed garage built on fill.

Image: Collapsed Building

Collapsed Building

This masonry office building in the downtown area of Concepcion, Chile collapsed as a result of the M 8.8 earthquake on Feb. 27, 2010. The construction of this building predates the establishment of strict building codes in Chile, put in place following the devastating earthquake of 1960.