Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How well is your City Prepared for an Emergency?

A building collapsed in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania on March 29th 2013 and they have come to the conclusion of the rescue mission. 

The death toll went up from 2 to 36 with only 17 survivors. The numbers are disappointing, really when you hear stories like there were kids playing in the mosque courtyard, although no one is reporting how many of the dead are children vs adults. This brings us to a good topic of how well is your city prepared for search and rescue in case Allah forbid a building collapses. 

Here are the three main questions that should be tackled:
1. How quick is your response time?
2. How do you search for survivors?
3. How do you rescue them?

1. How quick is your response time?

The sooner you can get to a disaster area the better, IRIN states they try to deploy their volunteers within 24 hours of notification. Well for Dar Es Salaam to answer the first question, its sad that the volunteers and the Commissioner Saidi Meck Sadick got there before the fire truck and more professional rescue missions arrived. I say Sad, because the building collapsed in the city center, I expect no more than 20 minutes of a response time.

2. How do you search for survivors?

Do you go beyond basic spotting of limbs and calling out for survivors? What about your unconscious survivors that are still breathing? How invested in rescue tools is your city? 
Some of the common technological tools and methods rescue missions use are:

a. Camera Poles.
You put a camera at the end of the pole for your eyes in tight spaces in areas you think people might be stranded. Like so...
Or you can buy a ready made one. This also helps with the safety of rescue workers.

b. Sound Location Devices
Before you send the grader, where you can't hear people calling out, you use a sound location device that is connected to a Microphone system. This device bangs on the rubble and if people shout for help or bang back, you can track their location.

c. Thermal Image Cameras
These show areas of body heat.
d. Carbon Dioxide Analyzer
To detect people who might be unconscious but are still breathing?

 Are you using your sniffer dogs to their full potential? Those babies are really good with scents, and almost every police force has one.

Well do these tools exist in inventory? If not, they need to be, with regular weekly tests to ensure they work on the day of.

3. How do you rescue them?

What happens when you do find these survivors that are trapped under the rubble. Do you dig them out? Do you have the proper tools that can cut through concrete? The Concrete saws, chainsaws and bulldozers? How about the more sophisticated air bags that get inflated under heavy objects to lift them for easy passage. Do you have ambulances waiting to immediately take them to ER? Is first aid administered immediately? 

These are all questions that need to be addressed. Sadly, after this building collapse in Dar, a Mine Collapsed in Moshono, Arusha. It is suspected 20 people are dead and so far only 14 bodies have been retrieved. As investigation is going on for the collapsed building, the mining owners in Arusha need to be checked as well.
Rescue workers taking out a dead body from the ruins.

I do have to give it up to the Volunteers and rescue mission in Dar. Folks worked day and night for search and rescue, May Allah reward you guys greatly.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un. To Allah we belong and to him is our return. May Allah Accept and rest the souls of the deceased in his heaven.

Source: OshaIRINMwananchi

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