5. Apr 2017

Demolition Contractors are Key Members of First Response Teams

Many professionals in the building industry view demolition contractors as key partners in tearing down old buildings and clearing sites to make way for new construction. However, another crucial operation that demolition contractors perform is disaster response, especially natural disaster response. Increasingly, cities and other municipalities are encouraging disaster response teams to partner with demolition experts.

Disaster Debris Management

Prompt and secure management of debris is a key element to emergency disaster response and it an increasingly high priority to agencies that must manage such events as they occur. Appropriate disaster debris management protects human health, reduces injuries, and mitigates environmental damage when demolition experts know and follow regulations. This requires advanced planning and coordination between private sector professionals and officials at a variety of government agencies, both of which must have experience and training in waste management.

National Demolition Association Encourages Advance Planning

In fact, the National Demolition Association recommends that demolition contractors and first responders develop plans in advance. The equipment, skills, and knowledge demolition crews have can provide critical support to first responders. They possess the experience to manage, identify, and safely dispose of debris and hazardous materials.

Disaster sites can range from natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and tornadoes to man-made disasters such as plane crashes, bombings, fires, or acts of terrorism with the 9/11 act of terror as the penultimate example of the critical service demolition crews provide.

In addition, these experts provide key services to protect public safety in environments that may have toxic or hazardous materials that have been burned or partially damaged. Demolition crews work to expose those materials safely while allowing other public safety professional access to the dangerous materials for clean-up efforts.

EPA Considers Disaster Debris Management as Critical

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers debris management so important to disaster response, the agency has an entire website devoted to the issue with extensive guidance for industry and municipal representatives. In addition, the EPA publishes a document to assist local communities with planning and implementing a disaster debris management plan. This document includes information on:

  • Elements of a disaster debris management plan
  • Options for managing a variety of debris streams resulting from a natural disaster
  • Case studies in debris management
  • Federal, state, and local resources that provide assistance in planning for natural disasters

The document contains valuable strategies for managing debris from natural disasters, although it does not discuss debris management of debris from man-made disasters. Still, many of the concepts translate well into action items for man-made disasters.

First responders experienced with disaster sites frequently recommend that their local agencies include demolition contractors on the team. They look for contractors that have the experience, knowledge, training, and fast response times to support public safety. These demolition experts may not be needed for every event; however, they will be ready to respond to those events that need their expertise.

SV Demolition has the equipment, training, and expertise to work on any type of demolition job, including disaster debris management. Contact us to learn more about our capabilities and expertise in the demolition industry.