LLIS Lesson Learned: Large-Scale Building Collapse: Light-Weight Protective Gear for Emergency Responders   [open pdf - 46KB]

"On April 19, 1995, a massive terrorist bomb ripped through the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, collapsing major portions of the structure. Within the first hours of the initial response, emergency managers realized that typical firefighter gear was too cumbersome for emergency responders to conduct extended search and rescue operations in the building collapse area. […] In response, IC [incident command] decided to outfit responders in lighter-weight protective gear more appropriate for extended search and rescue efforts in a building collapse area. Nearby Tinker Air Force Base generously donated military fatigues, boot socks, and hardhats. The military helped logistics personnel locate a supplier of lightweight, steel-toed, steelshanked, waterproof, leather boots. The supplier shipped a tractor-trailer load of these boots overnight. In addition, the citizens of Oklahoma City donated large supplies of rain gear, leather gloves, eye protection, back braces, and elbow and knee pads. All such gear proved invaluable in protecting responders in the collapse area without causing them undue fatigue or heat stress. Following a large-scale building collapse, IC and fire commanders should recognize that typical firefighting gear might be unsuitable for extended search and rescue operations in the collapse area. Commanders should consider outfitting responders in lighter-weight protective gear."

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