Demolition Association: When Disaster Strikes, Call on Us
Members of the National Demolition Association met recently with emergency management professionals in California to discuss how members of the demolition industry can serve as “second responders” in the event of natural disaster or terrorist attack.
Demolition professionals are good to have around when disasters hit. This is the message the National Demolition Association is sending to first responders throughout the country, and it’s why the association recently met with staff from the California Emergency Management Agency.
“What we’re trying to do nationally, and more specifically in California, is to educate the first-response community about the capabilities that a modern, 21st-century demolition contractor can bring to bear on a disaster site—the equipment we use, the trained personnel we have, the experience that the industry has, etc.,” said Mike Taylor, CAE, executive director of NDA. “What we do every day we can apply pretty quickly to a disaster-type setting.”
The association wants first responders to know that should disaster strike, demolition professionals can serve as “second responders,” helping clear debris, restoring infrastructure, and assisting with search and rescue. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, for example, NDA members helped clear tons of wreckage from the World Trade Center site, Taylor said.
“You’re unlikely to see cranes or wrecking balls anymore,” Taylor added. “You’re going to see very sophisticated excavators with multi-use-type attachments that can really have an impact.”
While the meeting with California emergency management professionals is not the first time NDA has initiated a discussion around the role demolition plays in disaster recovery, it is the most formal. Taylor said the association plans to work with the state to develop a system or program guide detailing the demolition equipment and skills available to first responders in California.
Ultimately, NDA would like to take the system it develops in California and move it across the country.
“The [demolition] industry is responding to a need that we see,” said Taylor, who acknowledged that a lot of work has already been done at the state and federal levels in preparing for future disasters. “We want to be part of that, because we believe, from past experience, that the demolition industry is going to play a major role as a second responder in any disaster, man-made or natural.”