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Building Collapse
Updated On: Feb 04, 2011


To list  key points to keep in mind when responding to reports of building collapses, partial building collapses, roof and deck collapses, etc.


Signs of Potential Collapse


Bulging walls

Cracks in walls

Windows or doors not operational

Split beams, rafters, ridge pole

Bowed columns

Bent trusses

Sagging Q decking

Creaking noises


Remove occupants from the structure and notify the building department for further assistance. There would be no reason for fire department personnel to enter the structure. Secure utilities if it can be done safely.


Initial Response


2 Engines, 1 Truck, Rescue, Car, TAC

Note: Truck 2 will bring TAC; one Firefighter and Captain responding with Truck 2, two Firefighters responding with TAC (Truck 2 should respond with the TAC even if Truck 1 is the designated Truck on the assignment).


Collapse Occurred


Secure the scene

1.    Remove all would be rescuers from debris

2.    Notify all utility companies and begin remote shut off

a.    Gas/propane

b.    Water

c.    Electric

d.    Fuel oil

e.    Cable/phone


3.    Establish and communicate zones to all personnel

a.    Hot,  account for secondary collapse and hazardous atmospheres

b.    Warm, area for our equipment

c.    Cold, Incident command post


 Potential Victim Search/Rescue

  1. Hailing – Call out for anyone in the debris pile and listen for a response
  2. Caller – Did the caller use a cell phone? Call back with C2’s phone to locate
  3. Evaluate other information/signs. Vehicles, neighbors, etc.
  4. Look in void spaces DO NOT commit unless proper shoring is in place.


If there is no likelihood of trapped victims do not enter or operate on debris pile, notify the building department for assistance 

Notify the USAR Team if there is a known or high likelihood of a trapped victim. CT USAR contact information is in appendix.


Stabilizing the Building for Search/Rescue

1.    Paratech rescue struts should be put in place for temporary shoring. An estimated measurement should be taken to select the proper size strut combination. STRUT should be built outside of the collapse area.

a.    Cut two (2) 3’ long 4x6

b.    Center the paratech foot plate on the wood, the small holes should be in the center for nailing. Nail plates to the wood. These will become the header and sole plates

c.    Attach the plates to the strut, stand up the strut so the collar is closer to the ground and screws the piston down

d.    Place the top 4x6 (header) perpendicular to the roof/floor system that needs supporting

e.    Align the sole with the header.

f.     Make sure the strut is close to 90 degrees

g.    Spin the collar on the strut until it is snug


2.    Additional shoring should be at the direction of the building department representative working with the fire department incident commander.



CT USAR Activation Numbers

contact numbers to request an activation of the Connecticut Urban Search and Rescue Task Force:

DPS Message center - 1-800-842-0200
State EOC - 860-566-3180
Duty Officer Pager - 860-708-0821

Please have available the following:

Location of incident
I/C name and immediate contact info (cell phone)

After initial notification the IC can also contact Brian Toolan @ 860-538-9153



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