In the aftermath of an earthquake devastation, where someone is trapped in a collapsed home or office and waiting for help, it is likely that the first responders will not be trained as experts.
“The people who are going to have the most support are going to be your neighbors. Because they’re right there, right when it happens,” Forest Lanning told NPR. He moved and the volcano response relationship with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and engineering.
Lanning and other emergency and disaster response experts say that no matter what area around the world is hit by an earthquake or other type of disaster, people need to know that effective help often comes from the immediate community.
One of the many lessons learned from experts was studying disasters like the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that decimated large areas in Turkey and Syria.
Expanding that awareness and training people to respond when official rescuers can’t is among the emergency response measures experts say are essential to saving the most lives in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.
“Events like these are, of course, completely devastating, but they remind us of the importance of scientific research and putting that research into practice through building and retrofitting codes. [infrastructure]policy enforcement and things like sharing knowledge to establish best practices,” Lindsay Davis, director of earthquake disaster engineering at the US Geological Survey, told NPR.
There are usually not enough search and rescue crews to save everyone
Experts say the rising death toll – more than 39,000 in Turkey and Syria – reflect how important search and rescue efforts are in the first 12 hours to two days.
The window of opportunity to rescue people trapped under collapsed buildings “will start to close pretty quickly and by the time you get to about day four or five, it’s done,” Lanning said.
Even if a bystander can’t pull someone out of the rubble, there’s still a point in responding to the places where people are located, said Natalie Simpson, professor and chair of management and planning at the University at Buffalo School of Management.
Response efforts will be prioritized in areas where bystanders have already found people alive, he said.
“It takes a long time in each building to listen and carefully remove pieces of building debris to the people,” Lanning said. And when in Turkey the scene “there are thousands and thousands of these buildings,” he added.
This is even more important because international teams take 24 to 48 hours to arrive, Lanning said. In general, there are almost never enough local search and rescue teams on the ground to respond to each collapsed building.
This was the case in Samanda, Turkey, where citizens were digging through rubble in an attempt to save family and friends following an earthquake. After a few hours a small group of survivors arrived, thinned out; The guard he reported
Recognizing the importance of rapid, local assistance, the Community Emergency Response Team in the US has developed its own FEMA program that trains volunteers throughout all 50 states with basic disaster response skills.
It teaches people what to do after a major earthquake, where to find water after a disaster, how to check for immobile neighbors and how to search for collapsed buildings, Lanning said.
There are factors, such as the types of injuries and how many search and rescue teams intervene, that contribute to how likely it is that a survivor is caught. It should be noted that if the person caught is unharmed or has minor injuries, it can last up to a week under the collapsed building.
And miracles happen. Reuters reported on Tuesday Seven survivors were pulled from the rubble in Turkey more than a week after the initial earthquake.
The soldier must be deployed immediately
Simpson, with the University at Buffalo, said he wishes every time a disaster struck there would be an immediate mobilization of rescue crews and soldiers. It was not always so, and it was not in Turkey and Syria.
The Turkish government came in response to the criticism. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan acknowledged that “the first day we had some difficulties”, but insisted that after the second and third day “things were brought under control”.
“The single, biggest point of failure in emergency response is the failure to pick up on the fact that this is an emergency,” Simpson said. The instinct is to wait for more information.
“In case, everybody, even earthquake repairs, you’re not in Kansas anymore,” he said. “These situations are not normal and so one of the traps we fall into is, ‘Oh God, what is the best thing to do at this time?'” Stop with ‘best.’ It’s good. Let’s move on.
In many places around the world, including Turkey, the military is well-equipped to operate in a landscape transformed by a disaster and open airstrips to quickly deliver aid, he said.
But the Turkish government could not immediately move its military to help in a direct relief effort or establish all the important hospitals and airstrips of the field, according to an analysis published by the Middle East Institute, which thinks the tank is not profitable.
Turkey is earthquake-prone and always susceptible to major devastation, Simpson said.
“There’s a very important lesson here: it’s never too early to adjust your response when you don’t get any information from the side,” he said. “I think that will have an impact on decision-making elsewhere, which will actually help people in the future.”
Simpson also reminds us: “Start your campaign, right away. The sooner you start, the better off you’ll be.”
Mitigation and prevention are critical to avoiding future disaster
“While search and rescue operations are critical, research is clear that mitigation and prevention are the most effective when it comes to minimizing disaster damage,” said Davis with the US Geological Survey.
What is missing, when not needed, is the risk of falling to homes and citizens in earthquake-prone areas in Turkey.
Lanning said this latest disaster hammers home how important it is for global communities in earthquake-prone areas to strengthen infrastructure to withstand disasters like those in Turkey and Syria.
The major earthquakes that struck Turkey in 1999 and 2011 provided two important lessons for the government, which the country’s construction industry needed to combat future disasters.
“There’s a lot of damage because of the type of structure and type of building,” which is mostly concrete, said Lanning, who has worked in various earthquake-prone areas for 15 years.
This is despite the fact that concrete buildings are not the best in the face of earthquakes. They are very easy to build, and easily hide imperfections.
A lot of work has gone into analyzing this latest disaster and what will go wrong or right in the following months and years. But it’s incredibly expensive work, Lanning said.
“Motivation makes us more prepared. It makes us ready and resilient,” he said.
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