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Surviving a structural collapse

There are many types of structural damage, from bridge collapses to structural failures due to natural disasters. While you can never stop a collapse from happening, you can have a plan and practice it periodically.

Structural Collapse3 tips to remember:

  • A plan is no good if no one knows it exists.
  • In most incidents it will be recommended that you not use the elevator.  Most new buildings have sprinkler systems to control the fire and allow for evacuation.
  • People with disabilities that may affect their mobility are advised to wait in designated space until help arrives. This will often be another workspace or a stairwell.

React! Take any potentially threatening situation seriously.

Evaluate Judge the level of the threat and consider others who may not have the ability to evacuate alone. Give them assistance if at all possible.

Decide You will need to make a difficult choice based on the information that you have. You need to decide to follow the plan and leave or follow the plan and stay where you are.

Structural collapse incidents

  • Bridges

Minnesota Bridge, I-35W collapses during rush hour on August 1, 2007. I Bridges collage because of structural failures and often inappropriate design. Inspections should catch most of the flaws but because of budget cutbacks throughout the United States, inspections do not happen as often as they should.

  • 9/11

Collapse of the World Trade Center occurred after two commercial airliners were deliberately crashed into the Twin Towers. The impact and fire caused both building to collapse within hours.

  • Aircraft

Structural failures of 2 de Havilland Comet C1 jet airliners crashed due to decompression caused by metal fatigue.

  • Warsaw Radio Mast

On August 8, 1991 the UTC Warsaw radio mast collapsed.

  • Hyatt Regency walkway

The walkways through the lobby of the Hyatt Regency in Kansas City, Missouri, collapsed due to a change in the design.

In some cases, poor design is the issue but in other cases, it is the lack of general maintenance to the structure. With each incident improvements are made to design and construction but there will always be incidents that happen due to man-made or natural disasters.

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