Our natural inclination is to rush in and begin searching for victims.
Keep in mind, however, that all bets are off in a building where significant structural damage has occurred; if it failed once, the chance of further collapse is high.
Safely and effectively operating at a building collapse, like any other technical rescue incident, demands specialized training, equipment, and personnel. It's important to understand your department's capabilities and limitations in this area; if you can't address a technical rescue with available resources, know how to get a qualified team and call immediately for mutual aid.
About the author
With more than two decades in the field, Chief Adam K. Thiel — FireRescue1's editorial advisor — is an active fire chief in the National Capital Region and a former state fire director for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Chief Thiel's operational experience includes serving with distinction in four states as a chief officer, incident commander, company officer, hazardous materials team leader, paramedic, technical rescuer, structural/wildland firefighter and rescue diver. He also directly participated in response and recovery efforts for several major disasters including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tropical Storm Gaston and Hurricane Isabel.
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