Welcome, Mr. Tracey.
by Chris Hannay 6/27/2012 4:01:03 PM
Thanks for hosting this Chris.
by Sean Tracey 6/27/2012 4:01:26 PM
Let's start at the beginning: hypothetically, the roof collapses in a mall. Rescue workers are called. What's the very first thing they have to do?
by Chris Hannay 6/27/2012 4:02:21 PM
The initial emergency responders from the community would make an intial assessment and see if they can rescue any victims. Afterwords they may request outside help.
by Sean Tracey 6/27/2012 4:03:43 PM
To follow on AGreer's question, how do you devise a rescue plan?
by Chris Hannay 6/27/2012 4:04:57 PM
The Teams follow a standard template used worldwide. Check out the FEMA USAR website for some details. Canada has customized these a minor amount. Every plan is different. You go on site and try and stabilize the major risks then seek out signs of survivors. From the location or signs of survivors and the debris pattern a plan is improvised.
by Sean Tracey edited by Chris Hannay 6/27/2012 4:05:44 PM
Again every plan is going to be different on each site.
by Sean Tracey 6/27/2012 4:06:13 PM
So how is this playing at Elliot Lake, where the roof of a mall collapsed?
by Chris Hannay 6/27/2012 4:06:59 PM
Team members are volunteers coming from emergency services such as Toronto Police, Fire, EMS ec.
by Sean Tracey 6/27/2012 4:07:36 PM
The Elliott Lake is a challenge because it is in the interior core of the building and while trying to do the initial entry there were slabs still falling plus concerns over an unstable escalator. These complicated a traditional rescue and took great time and effort just to get it. It was unknown whether other portions of the building might also collapse.
by Sean Tracey edited by Chris Hannay 6/27/2012 4:09:23 PM
Also complicating Elliot Lake is potential for gas leakage from the food court area, and the unstable motor vehicles that came in with the collapse.
by Sean Tracey edited by Chris Hannay 6/27/2012 4:10:30 PM
I do not believe so. These teams have their equipment caches ready to go and be transported once given the okay. They have also the capability to go to international destinations during wide spread earthquakes. Elliott Lake was accessible by road. One problem is that the remoteness of Elliott Lake meant aditional heavy equipment resources were not locally available.
by Sean Tracey 6/27/2012 4:13:46 PM
What kind of heavy equipment?
by Chris Hannay 6/27/2012 4:14:37 PM
We see them now using larger complexes pieces to aid in debris removal and that could break through debris. On site initially might have been cranes but that meant getting people into the debris to secure the stuff to be removed. They are now going through undestroyed portions of the mall to gain access.
by Sean Tracey 6/27/2012 4:16:46 PM
Broadening that out, what tools do rescue workers have to figure out if someone is trapped inside a collapsed building?
by Chris Hannay 6/27/2012 4:18:35 PM
Heat signatures are difficult because of the large thermal mass of the concrete slabs. They instead rely on listening devices, small cameras they can snake through the debris and canines (though not sure if the dogs were part of the initial deployment). They had to stop the initial quick skilled entry they tried. Then had to re adapt their tactics. I think it has been a mischaracterization to say they stopped -- they stepped back to re-evaluate the situation. Continuing with what they were doing was not working and was risking the rescue personnel with no hope of success.
by Sean Tracey edited by Chris Hannay 6/27/2012 4:20:52 PM
The tools they have include sensitive listening devices and hi tech cameras. Some units can deploy with robotics and here at the WCDM we have even seen small-scale drones operable on site. The dogs do great work as well and can sniff out survivors and/or bodies.
by Sean Tracey edited by Chris Hannay 6/27/2012 4:22:51 PM