|Commenced in January 2007||Frequency: Monthly||Edition: International||Paper Count: 3|
Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) is a functional capability that has been developed to allow the United Kingdom Fire and Rescue Service to deal with ‘major incidents’ primarily involving structural collapse. The nature of the work undertaken by USAR means that staying out of a damaged or collapsed building structure is not usually an option for search and rescue personnel. As a result there is always a risk that they themselves could become victims. For this paper, a systematic and investigative review using desk research was undertaken to explore the role which structural engineering can play in assisting search and rescue personnel to conduct structural assessments when in the field. The focus is on how search and rescue personnel can assess damaged and collapsed building structures, not just in terms of structural damage that may been countered, but also in relation to structural stability. Natural disasters, accidental emergencies, acts of terrorism and other extreme events can vary significantly in nature and ferocity, and can cause a wide variety of damage to building structures. It is not possible or, even realistic, to provide search and rescue personnel with definitive guidelines and procedures to assess damaged and collapsed building structures as there are too many variables to consider. However, understanding what implications damage may have upon the structural stability of a building structure will enable search and rescue personnel to better judge and quantify risk from a life-safety standpoint. It is intended that this will allow search and rescue personnel to make informed decisions and ensure every effort is made to mitigate risk, so that they themselves do not become victims.
The paper analyzes the response of buildings and industrially structures on seismic waves (low frequency mechanical vibration) generated by blasting operations. The principles of seismic analysis can be applied for different kinds of excitation such as: earthquakes, wind, explosions, random excitation from local transportation, periodic excitation from large rotating and/or machines with reciprocating motion, metal forming processes such as forging, shearing and stamping, chemical reactions, construction and earth moving work, and other strong deterministic and random energy sources caused by human activities. The article deals with the response of seismic, low frequency, mechanical vibrations generated by nearby blasting operations on a residential home. The goal was to determine the fundamental natural frequencies of the measured structure; therefore it is important to determine the resonant frequencies to design a suitable modal damping. The article also analyzes the package of seismic waves generated by blasting (Primary waves – P-waves and Secondary waves S-waves) and investigated the transfer regions. For the detection of seismic waves resulting from an explosion, the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) and modal analysis, in the frequency domain, is used and the signal was acquired and analyzed also in the time domain. In the conclusions the measured results of seismic waves caused by blasting in a nearby quarry and its effect on a nearby structure (house) is analyzed. The response on the house, including the fundamental natural frequency and possible fatigue damage is also assessed.