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Miami Building Collapse: What to Expect

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Below is an excerpt from an article by Kenyon Chairman Robert A. Jensen. Click Here to read the complete article. 

When managing the response and recovery of a collapsed building it is perhaps a bit easier to think of the overall process in functional areas. Before that, it is key to remember that there will be many different responding agencies and political staff at the local, state, national and international level involved, as well as the owners of the building, insurers and, eventually, lawyers and family associations, staff within the agencies will come and go. But there are and will forever be the survivors and the families who need to see these different responders as a single system, one focused on helping them recover and transition to what will be the new normal for them. In other words, the names and acronyms on the backs of the jackets and uniforms don’t matter, what matters is learning the names and needs of the families.

Recovery (Building Site)

  1. Search and rescue of survivors – these efforts will take several days. It is extremely dangerous and moves very slowly and will require reinforcements or relief teams likely to come from around the US. These teams are called Urban Search and Rescue (USAR). They will likely cease operations when there is no further likely chance of rescue.

  2. As the search for the living begins to end, the recovery of the deceased, which involves the removal of debris, will start. There has to be a plan on who will undertake this part of the operation, and it will likely last months. Here, the focus will be on finding:
  • Deceased (both human and animal)
  • Personal effects (those will be important to survivors and families)
  • Investigations’ needs
  1. Stabilization of the remaining parts of the building
  • That structure will be monitored 24 / 7, looking for any movement or risk to those working on the collapsed areas.
  • Need to recover personal property, if possible. There will certainly be a request from residents for that.
  1.  Considerations to keep in mind:
  •  South Florida has entered an active hurricane season.When a storm approaches, it will affect the recovery operations and stability of the non-collapsed portion of the building. 

  •  All of this is very person-power intensive and will require shift scheduling, rest and rehabilitation periods and rotations, as well as mental health debriefings. No one on-site will return home the same way they deployed.

Read the complete article here. There you can also download a complete PDF of the article as well as gain access to the Urban Search & Rescue Response System Rescue Field Operations Guide. 

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