Community Based Disaster Risk Management

8 August 2017

Items such as emergency lights become flesh-devouring acid pools, yet only appearing as wet spots n walls. The severe dust, which is thick and annoying, contains every disease that has been safely buried for the past few hundred years Just waiting to find a nice warm moist home in your lungs. Your only defense from the hostile environment, in which you, the rescuer, will be thrust into, is the personal protection equipment. This equipment must be kept with the rescuer at all times, no matter what! The minimum personal protection gear is: Hard Hat – preferably a climbing / rescue helmet.

Safety Goggles – will be worn for long periods, must be comfortable. Work Gloves – at least double leather. Dust Mask – preferably cartridge type respirator. Sturdy boots – must provide ankle support. Coveralls – good quality to provide another protection barrier. Whistle – for reliable communication of distress. Duct Tape – for securing hazards and everything else imaginable. First Aid Kit – compact kit with large pressure dressing, minor wound care, disposable resuscitation shield, etc. Flashlight – good quality with lots of batteries and spare bulbs Flagging tape – marking routes, hazards etc.

This is the minimum gear [see appendix] required. A small fanny pack will probably be required to keep the gear handy and available. The Rules: Some rules of conduct have been created to promote survival in structural collapse. But these are not replacements for sound rescue knowledge and competent training. A short list of rules and explanations follows. The Do Rules turn off the electricity. After a structural collapse the integrity of a building’s electrical system will be severely compromised. What was ground may now be hot, breakers won’t blow and electrical fires can start at any time.

Not to mention live wires will be hanging everywhere. Learn how to shut off all types breakers. There are many types of systems but here re a few guidelines: -Never look directly at the switch / breaker as you turn it off, the possible arc may blind you. – Use your non-dominant hand in case a charge attempts to energize your arm, turning it into a Jelly-like instrument for some time. – Place your other [dominant] hand behind your back to prevent completing a circuit to ground, a very nasty situation indeed. – Turn off ALL local breakers [the small ones] prior to shutting tontine main breakers.

This prevents a massive surge to current occurring when the main breakers are turned off thus reducing the chances of arc burns and/ r electrocution . – Ensure the ground / floor you’re standing on is dry and clear of debris, if not make it so before touching the breakers. – Try at all costs not to touch, the actual metal of the box the breaker[s] are housed in. If you can not avoid touching the housing [I. E.. To open housing door] don’t do it with a bare hand. – check for flammable gases in the electrical area prior to throwing any switch. DO Turn Off The Water. Learn the many types of water main valves. – It is vital to turn the water off as soon as possible, as the lower parts of a building may have become holding ankhs with trapped victims being drowned in a water-filled coffin. – Turn the water off as close to the city main as possible [at curbside] in case the supply from the street to the building is ruptured. This may soon create a never-ending lake attempting to swallow the very structure you are about to penetrate. – Finding the correct tool [many types] to shut off the main will be difficult, one may have to be improvised. The direction to turn the shut off is clockwise, but turn it very slowly to prevent a water hammer from developing. A water hammer may rupture a weak city main further up the line. DO Turn Off The Gas. Turn off all gas / fuel supplies to the building as close to the supply main as possible [street level]. -Use a non-ferrous wrench [non-sparking] designed for the purpose. – Most gas valves are turned off by turning the valve 90 degrees, this places the straight of the valve against the direction of the gas pipe. DO Disconnect Telephone Cables. The Telephone Company will probably hate you but damaged lines may be incorrectly energize, or worse, charged via the power lines. This may lead to electrical hazards and fires in the structure. – Use extreme caution with the telephone connections, have a qualified errors check for dangerous voltages prior to getting the wire cutters out. – Put up a large sign indicating the lines have been disconnected and where. – Discuss the operation of disconnection with the Rescue Chief prior to disconnection in case the telephone system is been used to communicate to the trapped persons in the building.

Keep in mind risk verses benefit. DO Mark Routes. – Mark all routes to safety [triage area] for both rescue team and walking wounded. In case of structural stability loss, a well-marked route, as free from hazards as possible, will become a life line. A spray can of bright paint will prove invaluable in marking and labeling the route. – Use different colors for different teams. DO Mark Hazards. – Identify all hazards, possible hazards, and unknown wet spots, etc. , and mark them well. – Use spray paint and flagging tape, lots of it, to prevent anyone from unexpectedly walking into hazards. Log all hazards in the team’s notes so that in the 3rd rescue stage the teams will be aware of them. – Eliminate any hazard if feasible, such as padding sharp protruding objects or duct taping fractured windows. DO Check All Doors. – Check all doors all the time. The structure may shift during the course of the rescue so check the door overtime before attempting to open it. – Check for heat, use the back of your hand. – Check the sound of the door, tap it if it doesn’t have a dull thud sound it’s probably loaded [load bearing].

Opening it could cause the load from the floor above to meet you on your level so to speak. If the door is loaded mark it and log it as a hazard. – Practice door checks on loaded and unloaded doors regularly, it may save your life. – If a previously unloaded door becomes loaded, reassess the structure and prepare to rapidly evacuate. DO Mark Room Corners. – Spray paint the floor and ceiling corners of safe and possibly unsafe rooms. If the structure shifts the paint will show movement. – The practice of marking the corners acts as a DANGER warning but must be checked on a regular intervals for it to work.

Assign someone to log and check all markings at set time periods. DO Check Closed Air Spaces. – All closed air spaces [basements, manholes, etc. ] must !!!! Be checked with an Air Sampler {sniffed} to ensure there is enough Oxygen and dangerous gases are not present. – If an Air sampler is not available, ventilate the area with fans and use extreme caution. – If the above can not be carried out then only proceed with Self Contained Breathing Apparatus [S. C. B. A. ]. After a good shake trapped gases will find their way into closed tart spaces.

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