WIT Press

‘Drop, cover and hold on’ or ‘Triangle of life’ attributes of information sources influencing earthquake protective actions


Free (open access)


Volume 9 (2019), Issue 3



Page Range

213 - 224

Paper DOI



WIT Press


Sudha Arlikatti, Shih-Kai Huang, Chin-Hsien Yu & Chunlin Hua


A well-known fact is that an earthquake or earth shaking does not cause injuries and deaths. rather, buildings and infrastructure systems collapsing on people do. Hence, reputable government organizations from countries prone to high earthquake risks are heavily invested in advising their populations on immediate lifesaving protective actions (PAs). One such action is the ‘Drop, Cover and Hold on’ strategy proven to have saved countless lives. unfortunately, in recent years another action known as the ‘Triangle of life’ has been trolled through internet sites and hearsay. It is believed that adopting such an unsubstantiated erroneous action is likely to put people at greater risk during an earthquake. Thus, there is a need to extend studies to understand factors that influence people’s decisions to take certain PAs over another for earthquakes. This research does that through an empirical study of 647 residents from mianyang City in the Sichuan province of China. The results indicate that if a PA is easy to understand, mentioned often by multiple sources and easy to access, then people will adopt it. but a striking finding is that people are also likely to be influenced by wrong information, depending on who is providing such information and through which medium (e.g. social media). These findings suggest that the Chinese government needs to provide gate keepers who are dedicated, trained personnel who can monitor misinformation on various Internet sites and address them. In parallel they can provide regular, up to date public advisories on immediate PA through multiple legitimate government, private and non-profit sector sources and channels.


drop, cover and hold on, earthquake protective actions, information sources, risk communication, triangle of life.