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Drop, cover, hold still the best advice

News release

Thursday 3 March 2011

Drop, cover, hold still the best advice

Following last week’s Christchurch earthquake, lots of advice is being circulated about how best to survive when an earthquake strikes. While much of this advice is well intentioned, some is not particularly accurate or even useful, Wellington Region Civil Defence Emergency Management Chairperson Jenny Rowan said.

“One theory that is currently doing the rounds through email or social networking media is called the ‘Triangle of Life’. Proponents of this theory often use it to debunk the ‘drop, cover, hold’ advice provided by civil defence agencies in New Zealand and overseas.

“The Triangle of Life theory has been discredited in the US where it originated. However it generally reappears every time there is a major earthquake somewhere in the world.

“Drop, cover, hold will protect people in most earthquake scenarios. In a severe earthquake it is absolutely vital that people respond immediately. Confusion about what to do can result in people getting seriously injured or killed.

“The principles of ‘drop, cover and hold’ are straightforward. Drop to the ground – before the earthquake drops you! take cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to it until the shaking stops.

“People should identify safe places in their home, office or school before an earthquake so that when the shaking starts they can respond quickly. That safe place should be within a few steps or two metres to avoid injury from flying or falling debris,” Jenny Rowan said.


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