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Fri Jul 9, 2021, 05:11 PM

Checking in from Surfside Rescue

Many of you know I do structural support for Search and Rescue and was sent to surfside. For those of you new to this discussion, it started here https://www.democraticunderground.com/100215558334

If you have seen the videos of the rescue effort with all of the blue uniforms, I am one of those guys. Most of the guys are specially trained firemen but there are a few positions for civilians like myself. My role is as a structural engineer to evaluate the building, guard against secondary collapse, mitigate dangers and generally keep the rescuers from further harm. I have been doing it for 25 years and have been to 9/11, Haiti Earthquake, Katrina and others. At this point, I figure I have been involved in four of the worst disasters in the western hemisphere in my lifetime. Crazy.

Among the stories you have seen, this was my team https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article252528388.html That was a gut-wrenching night.

Anyway, I am back after spending 14 days on the site. My team is still there but I came home a little early because the structural danger dropped dramatically when the remaining building was imploded.

I had promised to check-in when I returned so I wanted to let everyone know I am home safe and sound.

Unfortunately, I can't really say very much or show any pictures because we are on a very strict public relations protocol.

As to cause, I managed to get pretty involved with the investigators from NIST so I will refrain from laying out my opinions. I will comment on it when the report comes out which could be a ways off. Just try to ignore all the chatter on the internet because too many of them are forming opinions without all the facts. I will say that I think the problems were pretty unique to this building so I wouldn't lose any sleep over living in a high rise building.

Thanks for all the well wishes

40 replies, 6142 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 40 replies Author Time Post
Reply Checking in from Surfside Rescue (Original post)
genxlib Jul 2021 OP
SoCalDavidS Jul 2021 #1
genxlib Jul 2021 #29
MyOwnPeace Jul 2021 #2
MuseRider Jul 2021 #3
FM123 Jul 2021 #4
lunatica Jul 2021 #5
PoliticAverse Jul 2021 #6
mdbl Jul 2021 #13
PoliticAverse Jul 2021 #15
mdbl Jul 2021 #38
ProfessorGAC Jul 2021 #7
ancianita Jul 2021 #8
Solly Mack Jul 2021 #9
abqtommy Jul 2021 #10
Ilsa Jul 2021 #11
KT2000 Jul 2021 #12
ramblin_dave Jul 2021 #14
genxlib Jul 2021 #30
Niagara Jul 2021 #16
FakeNoose Jul 2021 #17
waterwatcher123 Jul 2021 #18
babylonsister Jul 2021 #19
Wild blueberry Jul 2021 #20
Alice Kramden Jul 2021 #21
3catwoman3 Jul 2021 #22
smirkymonkey Jul 2021 #23
BigmanPigman Jul 2021 #24
Retrograde Jul 2021 #25
BigmanPigman Jul 2021 #26
genxlib Jul 2021 #28
genxlib Jul 2021 #27
BigmanPigman Jul 2021 #35
Retired Engineer Bob Jul 2021 #31
jaxexpat Jul 2021 #32
Hulk Jul 2021 #33
Treefrog Jul 2021 #37
burrowowl Jul 2021 #34
Beringia Jul 2021 #36
csziggy Jul 2021 #39
genxlib Jul 2021 #40

Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 05:14 PM

1. Thank You For All Your Efforts

It must be incredibly tiring, both physically and emotionally. Glad you are home safe. Stay well.

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Response to SoCalDavidS (Reply #1)

Sat Jul 10, 2021, 06:32 AM

29. It can be grueling

But I will be the first to tell you the actual rescue guys have it 100x worse than me. Their work is very physically demanding as they break and cut their way through the rubble. And emotionally, they get much closer to the trauma in having to deal with what they find in the pile.

Fortunately, the fire service as a whole and the USAR system in particular has really evolved on well being. They really track for health and emotional wellness and provide lots of resources. There were all kinds of counselors, peer support, clergy, etc available at all times and they spoke to us on a regular basis. That isn't to say it won't effect some people but they really are trying to intervene early and often.

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 05:18 PM

2. Thank you SO much!

I truly appreciate your combination of professionalism and wanting to keep facts in the eyes of your fellow DU’ers!
Glad you’re safe - you guys do a special service to our country!

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 05:31 PM

3. What a difficult job that must be.

Thank you for being one of the many who are doing what I could not bare to do. We all have our things but what you have done over all these years is remarkable. Thank you do much.

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 05:37 PM

4. Sending you much love and gratitude from Broward County.

You're the best!

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 05:42 PM

5. Thank you for what you do in cases like these

And welcome back to DU!

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 05:43 PM

6. "I wouldn't lose any sleep over living in a high rise building." - not even in the other high rise..

that was specifically evacuated...

https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/residents-evacuated-condo-retrieve-essential-items-78750589

> I will say that I think the problems were pretty unique to this building

It is becoming clear that maintenance and structural issues haven't been taken seriously enough at several building in the area.

Best wishes to you.


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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #6)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 07:54 PM

13. if Fox news said it should anyone believe it?

just sayin.

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Response to mdbl (Reply #13)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 08:00 PM

15. Good one. I edited it and changed the foxnews story link to one at abcnews. n/t

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #15)

Sat Jul 10, 2021, 08:27 PM

38. thanks :)

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 05:44 PM

7. I'll Watch For Your Comments

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 05:59 PM

8. Thank you for helping us all out with much needed judgment, concern, and expert explanations.

Thank you for doing the hard work you do.

Glad to see you back safe.

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 06:53 PM

9. How wonderful of you!

Making a difference is always a wonderful thing.

Thank you!

Glad you are safe.

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 06:55 PM

10. Thank you for your service.

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 07:29 PM

11. Thank you for everything you did.

I guess you know that inspections being planned by the city for many other buildings there. Even if it is for show, I suppose it can't hurt if they are done properly.

I'm really glad you are back home safe. The crews are in my prayers. Body recovery can really affect people's mental state, resulting in PTSD, etc.

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 07:30 PM

12. Good you are home safe and sound

I am so glad to hear they have people like you on the scene to save even more lives. I'm sure these are not easy events for you so thank you for lending your expertise and more.

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 08:00 PM

14. Did you look at the so-called sister condo - Champlain Tower North?

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Response to ramblin_dave (Reply #14)

Sat Jul 10, 2021, 06:38 AM

30. I am aware of it

But did not have any reason to look at it directly.

I heard some of the individuals on the site did go and take a look but it was not for a condition assessment. It was more strategic about seeing what our building should have looked like pre-collapse. It can be helpful to track debris in the pile. In other words, these particular columns in the pile came from x location in the building. So it helps track where we might be able to find people.

I am sure that building will undergo quite a thorough examination before all is said and done.

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 08:01 PM

16. Thank you for sharing and updating, genxlib!

Thank you for all that you do and best wishes to you and your team in this difficult time.



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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 08:13 PM

17. What a grueling task and heart-breaking experience

Thanks for giving us the heads-up, and for letting us know that you made it back safely.
You are a true American hero, my friend!





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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 08:14 PM

18. You are one of the many quiet heroes using your skills to help people - thank you!!

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 08:16 PM

19. Bravo and thanks!

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 08:56 PM

20. Thank you

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 09:11 PM

21. Good message - hope you get some well deserved rest

KnR

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 09:11 PM

22. I have been thinking about you and hoping you were...

…safe. So glad to know you are.

We will all be keeping an eye out for your next posts.

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 09:12 PM

23. Thank you for your hard work and dedication.

 

I am glad you made it back safely.

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 09:24 PM

24. "The problems were unique to this building"

That is good news, except I hope that doesn't mean the sister bldg is in danger as well.

Do the recovery dogs have a good time? When ever I see them climbing all over the debris they seem to be well cared for are always wagging their tails.

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #24)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 10:52 PM

25. I heard once that recovery dogs are rewarded

by finding a live person at the end of their shift - one of the rescue workers "hides" so that the dog can find them and have the satisfaction of rescuing someone. I read this a long time ago in an article about dogs searching in earthquake rubble, and from what I know about dogs it sounds plausible.

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Response to Retrograde (Reply #25)

Sat Jul 10, 2021, 12:28 AM

26. Good reward system.

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Response to Retrograde (Reply #25)

Sat Jul 10, 2021, 06:24 AM

28. One thing you should know

We use two different types. Some are trained for finding live victims and the others for deceased. Cross trained dogs are more common in wilderness rescue but for some reason they keep them separate in our type of work these days.

We used to do the hiding for reward a lot on training and some deployments. Of course that only works on the "live" dogs. I didn't really see that happening on this deployment so I am not sure if they still do it.

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #24)

Sat Jul 10, 2021, 06:17 AM

27. The Dogs are awesome

They really do enjoy it. It is a game to them that they have been trained to play. They hunt for the smell and they get rewarded. All of it as extra time they get to spend with their human.

They are amazingly agile on the rubble. At times, they will get a little boo-boo from it but we also have Doctors on the team and they are cross trained to help the dogs too. At a big deployment like this, FEMA will often send a Vet specifically to look after them.

It takes a lot of time and effort to get dogs trained and certified so the K9 handlers are really dedicated individuals. They really are well taken care of and seem to be really happy.

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Response to genxlib (Reply #27)

Sat Jul 10, 2021, 04:52 PM

35. I read your posts with a big,

ear to ear grin. They certainly are amazing in a zillion ways.

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Sat Jul 10, 2021, 09:21 AM

31. So glad to hear you are back, safe and sound

It’s good to know there are experts that can investigate tragedies like this. It may not do much to assuage the sorrow of those directly affected, but hopefully we can learn and prevent similar tragedies in the future.

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Sat Jul 10, 2021, 11:07 AM

32. Teaser.

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Sat Jul 10, 2021, 11:19 AM

33. I give up TV and all news outlets.

 

It's a choice I've made. I feel as though all the cable networks are profiting off this tragedy, as they do with EVERY tragedy. I can't take it anymore. Parasites.

I'll watch NPR Newshour on YouTube, and do some internet reading...but I am just sick and very tired of a steady dose of misinformation - mixed with actual fact, laden with feigned sympathy, rehashed 24/7 to keep viewers licking at the trough for ratings. Enough.

I've decided to return to reading. Mostly for pleasure, often for self fulfillment, and occasionally biographical and historical. Life is too short to spend time swirling in the sewage of corporate manipulation any longer.

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Response to Hulk (Reply #33)

Sat Jul 10, 2021, 05:16 PM

37. ...

 

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Sat Jul 10, 2021, 04:39 PM

34. Glad you are back safe and sound!

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Sat Jul 10, 2021, 04:59 PM

36. Thank you for your service

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Response to genxlib (Original post)

Sun Jul 11, 2021, 12:29 AM

39. I know this person did not have access to the structural info, but his simulation is interesting

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Response to csziggy (Reply #39)

Sun Jul 11, 2021, 07:14 AM

40. Yes. That is one of the better, succinct videos I have seen

I think his sequence is correct and the simulation does a good job in illustrating it.

The cause will be the more complex than that. They are definitely related but a lot more data will go into the actual cause behind that sequence.

I had originally thought about linking to that simulation in my OP but was trying to streamline my thoughts a little more. Thanks for adding it to the mix.

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