Which emergency procedure should we use – “Triangle of Life” or “Drop, Cover, Hold”?

Anyone that has dealt with emergencies procedures for schools in California, specifically earthquakes, has most likely heard of the “Triangle for Life” or been asked why they are not using that process in schools.

We will not debate the merits of “Triangle of Life”, but will simply say that the reason it is not used in California public schools is quite simple – the Education Code Section 35297 requires “Drop, Cover and Hold.”  To use the “Triangle of Life” would be a violation of California law and would most likely subject a school district or school site to adverse liability.

35297. The earthquake emergency procedure system shall include, but
not be limited to, all of the following:
(a) A school building disaster plan, ready for implementation at
any time, for maintaining the safety and care of students and staffs.
(b) A drop procedure. As used in this article, “drop procedure”
means an activity whereby each student and staff member takes cover
under a table or desk, dropping to his or her knees, with the head
protected by the arms, and the back to the windows. A drop procedure
practice shall be held at least once each school quarter in
elementary schools and at least once a semester in secondary schools.

(c) Protective measures to be taken before, during, and following
an earthquake.
(d) A program to ensure that the students and that both the
certificated and classified staff are aware of, and properly trained
in, the earthquake emergency procedure system.

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