IAFF Monitors Members’ Health and Safety at Condo Collapse Site

July 12 • 2021

As IAFF members continue to search for the missing in the aftermath of the June 24 Champlain Towers condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida, the IAFF remains on the ground addressing health and safety concerns, including fire fighter exposure monitoring and behavioral health.

While visiting members during President Joe Biden’s visit to the disaster site, General President Ed Kelly commended the responding members for their efforts to help the families of the missing.

The IAFF continues to provide peer support services, with peer support teams visiting fire stations and assisting at the disaster site. To date, peer support counselors have contacted more than 1,950 members concerning behavioral health.

“This IAFF will not rest until all membership needs are met. When our members are out there serving their community on the frontlines, we are here for them and their families,” says General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Líma.

Meanwhile, the IAFF’s Science and Research Director, Derek Urwin, is coordinating efforts with the University of Miami to examine fire fighter exposures at the incident. Before and after the controlled demolition of the remaining structure on July 4, sampling devices were set up at the collapse site for subsequent analysis at the University of Miami. IAFF members working the pile continue to wear respirators to reduce exposure and the IAFF has instituted an exposure monitoring program to keep track of members’ health now and going forward. The monitoring includes analyzing the contents of respirator cartridges used in the field and silicon bands that collect substances to which fire fighters are exposed for subsequent analysis at the University of Miami.