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Disasters. 2010 Oct;34(4):1084-101. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7717.2010.01184.x.

Search and rescue in collapsed structures: engineering and social science aspects.

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Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2125, USA.


This paper discusses the social science and engineering dimensions of search and rescue (SAR) in collapsed buildings. First, existing information is presented on factors that influence the behaviour of trapped victims, particularly human, physical, socioeconomic and circumstantial factors. Trapped victims are most often discussed in the context of structural collapse and injuries sustained. Most studies in this area focus on earthquakes as the type of disaster that produces the most extensive structural damage. Second, information is set out on the engineering aspects of urban search and rescue (USAR) in the United States, including the role of structural engineers in USAR operations, training and certification of structural specialists, and safety and general procedures. The use of computational simulation to link the engineering and social science aspects of USAR is discussed. This could supplement training of local SAR groups and USAR teams, allowing them to understand better the collapse process and how voids form in a rubble pile. A preliminary simulation tool developed for this purpose is described.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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