Leadership

Planning Helps a Fire Department Cope With Chaos of Building Collapse

Issue 11 and Volume 134.

Planning Helps a Fire Department Cope With Chaos of Building Collapse features When a building collapses, the fire department gets the rescue call. It’s the kind of incident that severely tests a department with a variety of factors to be considered and organized. It could happen anywhere: in an existing modern structure, as with the recent Kansas City hotel walkway collapse; in a building under construction, as with the Cocoa Beach, Fla., incident described in this issue; or wherever there are tornadoes, earthquakes, explosions and fires. The number of victims may be large but the exact number unknown. Some may be removed quickly with department equipment while others are trapped under massive structural elements, requiring specialized outside assistance. Suddenly hundreds of people may swarm to a collapse scene, making coordination especially important. Order must be brought out of chaos. Although easier said than done, the command post and critical communications…

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