(1) A time of writing there are still 159 people unaccounted for at the #SurfsideBuildingCollapse in Florida.

We who were in Christchurch, NZ on 2/22/2011 have been through something similar. 115 people died in an earthquake-caused building collapse here.

We send our love.
(2) "Pancaked" was the term used to describe the collapse of the CTV (Canterbury TV) building in 2011.

We, too, kept vigil for days hoping some more people would make it out alive.

(3) In our case, the building collapsed during a Tuesday lunch hour, when some of the building's office workers had just gone out for lunch.

The earthquake caused PTSD among thousands of people, incl. me. There were 300k people in the city, & countless others closely linked. ImageImage
(4) I've worked in the field of emergency management planning, & I survived a deadly earthquake.

I cannot imagine the pain those affected by the #SurfsideCollapse are going through.

So here are some things that folk elsewhere in the US and world can can DO to help them.
(5) The loved ones waiting to learn the fate of those missing will have practical needs that are best met by the approved charities, using donated cash.

#CashIsKing in disaster response. Donated food, clothing etc just create more work for responders.

(6) National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) nvoad.org is the FEMA-approved org that can link you to the many & diverse charities & other groups that have experience responding to emergencies of all kinds in the US.

(7) Donating to (reputable) charities is one way to help. Another is through offering emotional support. You don't have to do this directly of course.

You can be like me & offer information to others.

Prayer can help, too. In several not-obvious-at-first ways. Hear me out...
(8) Responding to disasters by praying for people doesn't mean relying only on prayer. Of course.

It can help the onlooker deal with the pain & sadness but importantly, for people directly affected by disaster who believe in prayer, it is a huge comfort to know others care.
(9) Donating blood is important all the time but especially during a pandemic when donations have dropped off.

If you are medically fit to donate, please consider doing it regularly.

Search online for your local providers.
(10) Consider volunteering locally, & choose a reputable organization. Volunteering is just like paid employment - it carries risk to your health & safety, that you should prepare for.

Always put your own household & family first, though. Serving them is just as important.
(11) Make time to learn about risk assessment & mitigation in your own life. Survey trends show that only about 50% of Americans have a home emergency kit.

That's a depressingly low percentage.

(Other countries are similar, it's not just the US.)

(12) When you put on your own oxygen mask first, there is more chance of you being able to offer help to others in a healthy and sustainable way.

The more households that are ready for disasters, the less pressure there is on first responders. YOU are your own first responder.
(13) Mental health is a huge concern following disasters. The US federal government funds an excellent service for emotional first aid and support/referral to other services. Free services are available, so keep looking for them. Don't give up.

(14) @distressline provides free, 24/7 help throughout the US. Phone, text, multiple languages, accessibility for deaf and hearing impaired people, and so on. It's more than just a phone helpline.

It's OK to ask for help. It's more than OK.
(15) Through @distressline @fema @NationalVOAD etc you can find tips and resources for helping children cope with disasters.

Also, keep in mind adults with diminished capacity. You can adapt the tips for them.

And people on the autism spectrum are often hit hard by stress.
(16) There's two nvoad-approved orgs in particular who are always first on scene with support, supplies, food, and drinks:

@SalvationArmyUS and @RedCross

I always get replies from some who criticize them but I've learned to ignore it.

The good they do far outweighs the bad.
(17) If you want to donate but don't have time to weigh a bunch of options, the Salvation Army & Red Cross provide more bang for your buck than anyone.

DO NOT donate to Go Fund Me type campaigns. Too many scams.

Local police, fire depts etc usually have a charity attached.
(18) Aside from scammers on Go Fund Me, another issue is that quite often the person has not explored or is unaware of their entitlements & other local sources of support. So, your charity dollar can be wasted, which is like not donating at all. Official orgs are usually fairer.
(19) In due course there will be investigations into why this building collapsed I have some ideas based, ironically, on why the similar-aged CTV building in NZ collapsed ten years ago. I will keep them to myself for now.

The immediate needs of those affected are the priority.
(21) This point leads on to the #NoPoliticsOnTheBoat doctrine, which was eloquently described during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

People who instantly make tragedies political really suck. Image
(22) If I have more to say re #Surfside I'll post a link below. If you'd like me to share info about additional ways to help, you can reply here or DM me.

My reach these days is not what it used to be. No matter. Thankfully FL doesn't have to deal with a hurricane this week.

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More from @FreedomFriesInc

27 Jun
(1) #SurfsideBuildingCollapse Thread #4

Welcome to my stream of consciousness tweeting about active emergency management events. I am an EM geek with professional and (sadly) personal experience to share.

Link to earlier Surfside threads:
(2) To recap, I was in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand on 2/22/2011 when the lack of a quality engineering report killed 115 people.

An earthquake triggered the collapse BUT obvious damage from an earlier, smaller quake had been missed by local officials.
(3) This point is highly relevant to the engineering reporting process getting underway in Florida after Surfside.

Like in Christchurch, building inspectors & officials are hastily designing a reporting system that is not sufficiently geared to find which buildings are at risk.
Read 17 tweets
27 Jun
(1) Many events of the past 18 months contributed to my decision to become (proudly) #ExMAGA & #NeverTrump after >4 years in the cult. The pandemic was the main reason. 1/6 was the last straw.

Liberals have been way more reasonable toward me than MAGA folk have, as expected.
(2) The thread linked above is an example of those on the left who are reasonable and can be reasoned with.

We don't have to agree on every policy issue. We already agree on the non-negotiables, like not rioting inside the seat of the federal government, for example.
(3) Once the rampant lawlessness line was crossed in such a large scale and obviously violent way, it became impossible for me to discuss policy issues with people in the MAGA crowd. If you condone 1/6 (by trying to play it down) then we can't discuss anything. There's no point.
Read 5 tweets
27 Jun
(1) Thread: Hot air balloon fatal crash in Albuquerque, NM.

Like #Surfside, this is another disaster type about which we New Zealanders can empathize with our American brothers & sisters.

In 2012 a crash in our ballooning region took 11 lives.

(2) TIL that in the US there is insufficient safety regulation of hot air ballooning. The same problem we have here.

I think it goes without saying that drone civil aviation is under-regulated, too.

(3) If you're interested in aviation safety, read the news story above about the NZ coroner's findings. These two crashes have a few things in common. Such as trying to out-climb a power line in time. Maybe the emergency rip-out line was not used. Maybe there was panic.
Read 5 tweets
27 Jun
(1) Thread #3: Updates on the #SurfsideBuildingCollapse tragedy in Miami, Florida.

This short video gives you a snapshot into where the families are now at, approximately 60 hours post collapse:

(2) I'm writing threads about this building collapse for two reasons.

a) It's a tragedy that will likely end up with a death toll of >160 people. That puts it in the realm of Hurricane Katrina, Oklahoma city 1995 etc.

b) I have experience from a similar incident in 2011
(3) I'll add links to my earlier threads further down. For now I want to stress this point:

The community is nearing the point at which they will have to accept that their loved ones are not coming back.

No one wants to be the one to give the bad news, including me.
Read 33 tweets
26 Jun
(1) I have kept any discussion about the cause(s) of the #SurfsideBuildingCollapse out of my thread of ways to help those affected. (Link below.)

Having spent the past 10 years watching hundreds of New Zealand buildings being condemned for seismic risk, I am aghast. Image
(2) Source for the above:


My other thread, free of engineering talk:

(3) I also wrote about a similar tragedy on March 15, 2018, that cost 6 lives. The collapse of the pedestrian footbridge at Florida International University in West Miami:

Read 25 tweets
26 Jun
(1) JD Vance has let slip that he is attacking Gen. Milley for his words without bothering to at least find out what they mean.

The term "white rage" made my ears prick up so I thought about the context in which he used it.

Milley was talking specifically about 1/6... Image
(2) This alleged police-assaulting defendant is Kyle Fitzsimons. He's currently held without bail, like many of the >465 charged so far.

Something tells me he won't be getting 30 months probation and a $500 fine.

seacoastonline.com/story/news/cri… Image
(3) I really wish that someone with the character and patriotism of Gen. Mark Milley had been in the role of Acting Secretary of Defense on 1/6.

Instead of this guy, who aided and abetted Trump's willful dereliction of duty that day.

Read 19 tweets

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