For example, in southern
Italy, in 1980, 90% of the survivors of an earthquake were
untrained, uninjured survivors who used their bare hands and simple
tools such as shovels and axes (111).
Following the 1976 Tangshan earthquake, about 200,000 to
300,000 entrapped people crawled out of the debris on their own and
went on to rescue others (6).
They became the backbone of the rescue teams, and it was to
their credit that more than 80% of those buried under the debris
were rescued. Thus,
lifesaving efforts in a stricken community rely heavily on the
capabilities of relatively uninjured survivors, including untrained
volunteers, as well as those of local firefighters and other
relevant professionals (113).
This does not mean that people who were dead when they were
extricated could not have been saved by a skilled team with
However, people from the community clearly play the most important
role in rescue efforts, if they are appropriately prepared.