Oklahoma City Bombing, 1995

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  • At 9:02 a.m. on the morning of April 19, 1995 a bomb exploded from within a Ryder truck under the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The blast caused a partial collapse of all 9 floors of the 20-year-old building. 168 people died.
  • Rescuers from the Oklahoma City Fire Department entered the building unsure of whether or not the building would continue to support its own weight. Most of the steel support system had been blown out.
  • Within five hours of the blast the first FEMA urban search-and-rescue task force was deployed. By 6 p.m. the task force was in the building searching for victims. One of the first assignments was to search the second floor nursery for victims.
  • Teams with search-and-rescue dogs began the search in the nursery. The dogs are trained to bark when they find live victims. No dogs barked that night.
  • Eleven of FEMA's 27 US&R task forces worked in the building, with representation from virtually every task force in the country. The FEMA teams coordinated with local fire departments, police departments, military and federal agencies during the search-and-rescue effort.
  • The rescue effort involved extensive stabilization of the fragmented building, rescuing of people trapped within tight spaces, rescues from high angles, breaking through concrete and hazardous materials analysis and removal.
  • An innovative plan was developed to help rescuers deal with the psychological and emotional trauma of such a grisly scene. The plan allowed workers to be briefed in advance and prepared for what they were to experience, as well as extensive debriefing sessions.
Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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