Hurricanes Jose, Irma and Maria were all-natural disasters that caused devastation and death in their aftermath. One of the agencies of the Department of Homeland Security of the United States is FEMA. This agency is responsible for the response and coordination when the state and local authorities in the United States have been overwhelmed by the occurrence of the disasters.
The members of FEMA are all volunteers, and they come from all walks of life. They serve numerous purposes including on-call response, full time workers, and response and recovery as temporary local hires and reservists. The emergency response of FEMA is centered on decentralized, small teams. They have been trained in different areas of USAR, or Urban Search and Rescue, NDMS, or the National Disaster Medical System, MERS, or Mobile Emergency Response Support, DMAT, or the Disaster Medical Assistance Team, and DMORT, or the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team.
The team from ADS, Incorporated had a unique opportunity on Tuesday, October 17th, 2017. They were able to attend a USAR training event of FEMA’s. They provided on-site support and equipment in Virginia Beach. The ability of the members of FEMA to locate and save victims from collapsing structures caused by natural disasters is a direct reflection of training events just like this one. The training sessions are partitioned into numerous sections including shoring, lifting and moving. And breaking and breaching.
ADS spoke with Officer Glenn Burnett of the Rescue Squad during one of the shoring demonstrations. Captain Burnett is additionally one of the members of the VA Task Force 2, and the Virginia Beach Fire Department’s Captain. He stated that all they are trying to accomplish is to capture what remains standing, and try to prevent any further collapse.
Captain Burnett explained that the responders from USAR are working on structure stabilization from the outside in. The first line of defense is Raker-beam construction. This helps to stop a building from falling. The preferred source of material is lumber due to its strength, availability and dimension.
After the Raker-beams have been through the construction and installation process, the first responder workers go from room to room to stabilize the window frames, doors and walls with temporary shores, interior shores and permanent shores. A good example is a Class II Permanent Shore because it can withstand more than 24,000 pounds of weight.
The USAR and FEMA trainees traveled from numerous places including Ohio, Panama, Pennsylvania and Washington.