First Due to a Building Collapse

Michael Daley offers an overview of steps that should be taken by a first arriving company at a building collapse. Incident management and collapse types are also reviewed.


• 4. Selective debris removal. During a search for victims and survivors, materials and debris are removed from the pile and replaced with emergency shoring as rescuers go deeper into the pile. The direction of travel is determined by a reconnaissance report and the results of the surface-area search. Stop and go “all quiet” during the operation and listen for sounds coming from victims in the pile.

• 5. General debris removal. Transition into this phase of an operation usually marks the end of the “rescue period” and the beginning of the “recovery period.” In this phase, the pile is divided into sections for identification purposes. Debris from the pile is removed and sent to another location to be evaluated for physical remains, personal artifacts and identification, clues to the cause of the collapse and further crime-scene analysis. Once the material has been thoroughly searched, it should be marked to avoid duplication. n