We all have seen those videos of Cold War nuclear drills, in which small students are instructed to hide under their desks. Today, the threat of nuclear annihilation is somewhat lessened, but in earthquake-prone areas, the desk is still a key protection system. But a desk is pretty flimsy in the face of a building collapsing on top of it. Until now.
Coming from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, the Earthquake-Proof Table is designed to be used in schools, where there may not be funding for more intense earthquake-mitigating construction. It’s light enough for two students to lift, but it’s been shown to hold up even when weights of up to one ton are dropped onto it. That looks something like this.
The creators envision the tables not just as initial protection in the event of a roof collapse. If a room was filled with the tables laid end to end, they could also form the structure of a network of tunnels that could allow students to escape a destroyed building.
And while the tables were conceived with students in mind, having a magical shelter from crashing ceilings could work almost everywhere (it’s certainly better than standing in a doorway). Many earthquake-prone areas are also places where the buildings are either too old to have been built with earthquakes in mind, or where there simply isn’t enough money to employ these methods. When buildings collapse during earthquakes, it sends the death toll skyrocketing. But perhaps more people will now have a sturdy table to hide under, even if their house falls down.