The deadly building collapse in South Florida is a searing reminder that fragile infrastructure can have tragic public health consequences.
Although exceptions can and have occurred, 72 hours is considered the essential rescue window for people trapped in rubble following the collapse of a building. After that, without an ongoing source of oxygen and water, especially in the presence of severe injuries, survival becomes increasingly unlikely. In the case of last Thursday’s early morning collapse of the 13-story Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside, Fla., that deadline came and passed at 1:30 a.m. last Sunday. Hope now rapidly dims for the 126 people still unaccounted for.