(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.
(4) Which is why I'm not a Mayor, Governor, or other public figure. I do analysis behind the scenes and leave it for braver people to face the public.

The "5 stages of grief" aren't linear. People cycle over time between shock, denial, bargaining, anger, and acceptance.
(5) They also become emotionally and physically exhausted. Their state of mind can change once the communal waiting period ends and they go their separate ways.

I've said many times since Jan 2020 that humanity would be in for a rough ride because of pandemic & everything else.
(6) An uncountable number of people have already given up, whether by taking action, or just allowing nature to take its course. Their loved ones are even worse off now.

I'm learning a lot about human nature & the cognitive biases we all have, & their effect in a crisis.
(7) Just please, please, think about the concept of #NoPoliticsOnTheBoat, over the next couple of years: Image
(8) That was a social media post during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The estimated US death toll was 107.

How about when we're not on the boat, we talk politics if we want, and when we're on the boat, we don't. It would be a help to those who never asked to wind up on the boat. Image
(9) Thread 1 was about what we can do to help, wherever we are. Better info is now coming out, such as on the CNN live updates page, with links and contact details etc.

(10) I started a separate Thread 2, when I had enough factual info to start talking about the engineering issues. I used to jumble it all together in the same thread but I think this is a better approach now.

(11) I never know how many threads I'm going to write about a live incident like this. Once it becomes a lengthy issue I start a directory thread with links to all threads.

People/astroturfers opposing my political views say I'm full of myself. I'm not a 12yo, or I might care.
(12) Find me someone else on Twitter with experience of a mass casualty event from a building collapse in their city, with emergency management, govt & PR experience, who gives a damn about what happens in other countries, then I won't need to write about it here, will I? 🤓
(13) Update: 7.40am ET, Sunday, 78 hours after the collapse.

- FEMA Director to visit today at request of POTUS
- 5 confirmed deaths (4 names released)
- 156 still missing

Officially they are missing but IMO the chance of survival now is essentially zero. Because,
(14) To survive a building collapse like this one after the first 24 hours the person would have to be in a "pocket" with some kind of roof, water source, be not severely injured, and unaffected by dust, smoke, and fire. Earthquakes are slightly different.
(15) Depending on building type, there can be miracle pockets after an earthquake, where perhaps a young child or infant has a water source & is pulled out of the rubble days later.

The Surfside building was mostly concrete, & very heavy. Much of the concrete turned to dust.
(16) This interview was shown on the first day, June 24th. Pablo Rodriguez' mother told him on June 23rd she was woken from her sleep by loud creaking sounds around 3am. The collapse occurred around 1.30am the following day.

(17) It's hard to describe the interviewer Erin Burnett's great empathy and Pablo Rodriguez's uncommon strength. Very moving, you may need your Kleenex handy.

I recommend watching it, though.
(18) I can cope bc our NZ tragedy was more than 10 years ago & it's not so raw now. I remember seeing on TV every day the loved ones waiting for news near the building.

In video from Surfside I see the looks on the faces of media, officials & families. Everyone looks shaken.
(19) I want readers to know that those affected by Surfside will get through this. They will smile again. Eventually life will be pieced together. You never believe that at the time, & that is normal. Best way to help them is quietly. Let them cry, talk & even laugh sometimes.
(20) In a separate event I lost a loved one, & I agonized over whether she suffered before she passed. By receiving information about the nature of the accident, I became confident that she did not. That was a huge load off my mind. I think the victims of Surfside went quickly.
(21) I've reported on a number of emergency situations like this one and have assessed the PR performance of the Mayors or CEOs etc involved.

IMO Miami-Dade Co Mayor Daniella Levine Cava is doing great. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett is not up to the task. Because: Image
(22) Burkett is simultaneously giving false hope, while ignoring the risk that occupants of the North and East towers are in.

No one is going to come out of that rubble pile "safely." That was a bad faux pas.

His 100% promise to the families ignores the other occupants.

(23) Burkett, nor anyone else, can rationally guarantee that everyone is going to be brought out, in a way that would enable a set of remains to be transferred out of a morgue to a family.

How do I explain this... the building was large and heavy... the rubble is mostly dust...
(24) Some of the families will be able to receive their loved one's remains and bury or cremate them. Many others will not be able to.

Mayor Levine Cava is a highly experienced 65yo social worker & lawyer with the right skillset for this task. Miami is blessed to have her atm. Image
(25) I have seen this problem before, notably in the way the 2018 FIU footbridge collapse was handled, just across town in Miami.

Prior to that, I saw it in 2010 after a methane explosion in a coal mine at Pike River, NZ, took 29 lives.

I wrote about both cases on Twitter.
(26) Hopefully, though, the families at Surfside will realize a politician can promise you the world, but the results are what they are.

And hopefully, North & East Tower occupants will vacate for at least a week despite Mayor Burkett's faith in a cursory engineering review.
(27) When Sen Rick Scott was Gov during Hurricane Irma in 2017, he urged evacuations by saying "we can replace property, we can't replace a life."

In all likelihood, those tower blocks will survive the next few months & be certified or remedied. But I wouldn't take the chance.
(28) USACE involvement is a good sign. They have enough personnel who can drop everything & help. If changing ground conditions at this coastal site contributed along with building faults to the collapse, they will find out. Image
(29) I'm pleased to hear the FEMA Director saying this community is their top priority.

Further 2021 emergencies are likely bc of extreme heat & wildfire risk in the West, & a series of storms, floods, & tornadoes elsewhere. FEMA can handle it. They improved tons after Katrina.
(30) IMO, Florida is one of the best hurricane prone states at emergency management in general. There are some potential storms brewing at the moment but they are still a long way out, if they develop and head towards the state. There is time if they need to shift gear for that. Image
(31) FEMA Director Deanne Criswell was sworn in on April 26, 2021. Her resume is outstanding. Wow.

Firefighter, Air National Guard, Master of Public Admin, Navy Postgrad School Master of Homeland Security... this warms my emergency management heart. Image
(32) This page has really great info and links on how we can support those affected by Surfside, from wherever we are.

Also the national disaster @distressline is free & 24/7. If this event triggers past disaster trauma, you can call them for support.

(33) This thread has gotten too long, so here is a link to Thread #4:

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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
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
25 Jun
(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
Read 21 tweets

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