Demolition contractors can strengthen government’s response to natural and man-made disasters by getting highly involved during the planning stages for emergencies, according to Jeff Kroeker, president of the National Demolition Association (NDA), Doylestown, Pa.
During the NDA Annual Convention in San Diego in late March, demolition professionals who were at ground zero in Christchurch, New Zealand, following a magnitude-6.3 quake in 2011 gave presentations. The experiences of the demolition experts and the city’s leadership can provide valuable lessons to others responsible for emergency management, especially in earthquake-prone areas, according to the NDA.
The NDA is intent on alerting communities in the United States that may be unprepared for a Christchurch-like event, says Michael R. Taylor CAE, Executive Director of the association. As a result, the association has formed a Disaster Response Committee, which has prepared a Disaster Response Manpower and Equipment Survey for local and state governments to use to help them prepare in advance to help save lives, facilitate faster response, and avoid the consequences of delayed decision making. The survey is available on the association website, www.demolitionassoication.com, in its new Disaster Response section.
“The U.S. Geological Survey, the science organization of the U.S. government, has predicted with a 99 percent certainty that there will be a similar magnitude earthquake in California in the next 30 years,” says Taylor. “Our Committee, including those experts who have been working in Christchurch for the last two years dealing with everything from downed utilities, lack of food, housing, and power, hazardous materials disposal, and the safe demolition of damaged structures can share some invaluable lessons with other communities needing assistance with disaster planning.”
The NDA website has also made available for public viewing a video produced by Ward Demolition Co. showing the damage of the earthquake, as well as the presentation he made at the convention.