Very recently, a cat named Binx was reunited with his owners. For those who are curious, he was living on the ninth floor of Champlain Towers South when the collapse happened. Later, Binx was spotted by a searcher sorting through the site, with the result that animal rescue volunteers proceeded to make this known via flyers as well as a Facebook post. Thanks to this, he is now back with his family where he belongs.
What Caused the Miami Condo Collapse?
Sadly, Binx’s survival is but one bright spot. The recovery efforts haven’t been completed, so there isn’t an exact count of the Champlain Towers South casualties at this point in time. Still, what has been confirmed makes it clear that this is one of the deadliest unintentional building collapses in U.S. history. The cause of the collapse is unclear. However, a wide range of sources have offered a wide range of speculation on the matter. For example, a structural report from 2018 called the building’s ground floor pool deck an area of concern because it wasn’t sloped, meaning that water would just sit there until it evaporated. Since the waterproofing had already exceeded its useful lifespan at that point in time, it predicted that the concrete was in danger of serious deterioration. Something that was supported by later reports of worsening damage. Similarly, there have been speculation about land movement as well as new building work. There is a current investigation into what happened, but it will take time for it to produce results.
How Does Anyone Survive Building Collapses?
Building collapses are terrifying to imagine. After all, falling from a great height is an extremely dangerous scenario. Yes, there is someone who survived a fall of more than 30,000 feet without a parachute. However, a fall of just 48 feet is the point when someone has a 50 percent chance of living and a 50 percent chance of not living, which just get worse and worse from that point forward. By 84 feet, said individual has just a 10 percent chance of making it through the experience. Unfortunately, there is more to a building collapse than just falling from a great height. Simply put, everything is falling under such circumstances, meaning that there is a very high chance of people being struck by falling objects. Unsurprisingly, that is also an extremely dangerous scenario on its own. Even worse, it seems intuitive that there would be a very unpleasant trade-off that is relevant for building collapses. Someone living on lower floors might have less distance to fall, but at the same time, they are going to have more floors coming down on them. Conversely, someone living on higher floors might have fewer floors coming down on them, but they are going to have more distance to fall. As such, one can’t help but be reminded of Scylla and Charybdis. Except worse because this is Charybdis and Charybdis, seeing as how there is no way to sate the laws of physics like there was for Scylla.
Even if someone manages to survive the initial incident, there is still the matter of surviving everything that follows. There is no guarantee that they will have a way out. For that matter, even if there is a way out, there is no guarantee that they will be in good enough condition to take advantage of it. Generally speaking, humans can survive without food for quite some time. However, that period shrinks to an average of approximately just three days when humans are without water. There are some factors such as age, health, and activity levels that can either shorten or lengthen this period, but even so, there is a serious limit to how much effect they can have. Having said this, it is possible for people to survive building collapses. There is a lot of luck involved in this, but that hasn’t stopped a wide range of publications from providing a wide range of tips for how people might increase their chances of survival in the event of a building collapse. Who knows how reliable this information might be, but if nothing else, it is at least somewhat comforting because it offers the illusion of control in an uncontrolled scenario. In any case, interested individuals are supposed to have an emergency readiness kit, which is sensible because these can be helpful for every single kind of emergency. The exact contents can see enormous variation, but it is common to hear recommendations of enough food, water, medicine, and other critical supplies for at least 72 hours. Besides that, emergency readiness kits are also supposed to contain other useful items such as radios, flashlights, and emergency blankets. These items may or may not be useful for a particular emergency, but they have general usefulness that makes them nice to have in a wide range of situations.
Moving on, people are recommended to get out as soon as they see serious warning signs around them. One example would be breaking windows while another example would be opening and closing doors, which might be caused by the building flexing in a way that it shouldn’t be. Besides them, other warning signs range from falling dust and widening cracks to groaning noises and the walls separating from one another. Unfortunately, there is a huge problem in that there can be very little warning before everything comes down, which in turn, means very little time in which for people to do anything. Still, if people move in time, they should opt for stairwells rather than elevators. A lot of stairwells have extra reinforcement, thus making them a bit more survivable. In contrast, elevators are more dangerous, not least because elevators can just get stuck when the electricity goes out. As for surviving the collapse itself, the recommendations seem even more speculative. Still, there are recommendations to head into the hallways because there is a reduced chance of falling items. Alternatively, curling up besides rather than directly beneath a sturdy piece of furniture might be an option, supposedly because that will enable the furniture to take some falling items without the risk of being pinned by it if it comes down as well. Interested individuals might also want to keep their hands before them in an effort to create a pocket of breathable air. Besides that, they might want to minimize their movement for the purpose of reducing energy consumption as well as avoiding the potential to trigger further collapses. Instead, use either a phone or a flashlight to try to signal for help.