Construction disasters

A construction disaster is an unintentional, violent destruction of a building or its parts, as well as structural elements, scaffolding and excavations. The causes of construction disasters may differ, they include: design mistakes, erratic execution, omitting geodetic and geological procedures, unsuitable operating conditions and other cases. The most frequent cases are: gas explosions, violation of foundations by working on adjacent plots, fires, hurricanes, bumps, landslides, floods.

Catastrophes of mass objects such as stadiums, exhibition halls, cinemas, theatres, tunnels or bridges may cause a huge number of victims and casualties.

Before

Leave the place where the disaster appeared:

• Sudden cracks in walls, ceilings, swaying of the whole building, cracks, falling windows, metallic “hollow” noises coming from structural elements indicate instability of the building and an imminent possibility of its collapse
• If you’re watching the escalation of the threat, run away from the disaster area as quickly as possible
• Call for help immediately using the 112 number
• Carry your evacuation backpack
• If leaving the damaged building by the emergency exit is impossible, try to get out through the window or another opening
• Provide assistance to other victims, if it’s possible

During

If there’s no way to leave the collapsed building:

  • Hide yourself in a basement, nearby the exterior walls, the joints of load-bearing walls, under door frames – avoid central areas of a collapsing building and the vicinity of gas, heating or electrical installations
  • In a visible from outside place hang a white sheet, tablecloth or other fabric as a calling for help sign
  • If you have been knocked down or crushed by fragments of a ruined building, try calling for help by tapping on metal parts, preferably pipes
  • If you have a mobile phone, use it sparingly, only to call for help
  • If you have access to fresh air, call for help by voice, otherwise save oxygen
  • Try to maintain strength and stay calm
  • Assist other victims as long as you can

After

If you managed to leave the collapsed building:

  • Report to first rescuer you meet of victims left in the building and people who are certainly not inside
  • Obey the orders of the rescue team absolutely, provide them with other information to help in a rescue operation
  • Head to a safe place indicated by the services
  • If you’ve been injured, go to a medical facility
  • Don’t return to the damaged building without permission from the building control inspection
  • Report your needs to local authorities, wait for further instructions

If you’re in a catastrophe area and you have been asked to evacuate:

  • While leaving the building, take your emergency backpack with you
  • Make sure that all the residents leave the house, pay attention to the neighbors (older, disabled persons)
  • If possible, turn off the electricity, gas, close the water valves
  • Be particularly careful when leaving the building
  • Follow the instructions of the emergency services