(Opinion) The death toll continues to slowly climb as search and rescue teams look for possible survivors at the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 28, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. Over one hundred people are being reported as missing as the search-and-rescue effort continues.

How does something like this happen in the United States? How is it possible that we're learning that a 3-year-old report warned authorities that the building was unsafe, and nothing was done? It's unfathomable and inexcusable in 2021.

A disaster like this needs to be a warning to every single one of us in the country, including the northeast where the infrastructure is America's oldest.

10 people perished in Upstate New York near Amsterdam on the New York State Thruway on April 5, 1987, when a bridge collapsed due to raging flood waters, and fell 100 feet into the Schoharie River. The bridge, which opened in 1955, couldn't handle the heavy rain and melting snow as the supports gave way to the erosion caused by the powerful water. No-one ever thought a tragedy like that ever could have happened.

While safety standards and testing have since changed dramatically due to that disaster, one has to wonder what structures do we trust today that haven't been tested properly, or have eroded over the years?

Have you ever wondered how often and how many times on a daily basis we trust the government and its safety standards? Every time we drive into a parking garage, cross a bridge, drive through a tunnel, or sit in a theatre under a balcony, we trust that the safety standards required by our government are safe and up to par. Without that trust, we wouldn't be able to travel anywhere.

A horrible tragedy like what happened in Florida should require that all municipalities review their codes and standards and the process in which old structures are tested for safety. We have the technology to make sure we're safer than at any time in history, and we have more knowledge about safety than every before.  Let's make sure we're using that technology and knowledge to guarantee safety for everyone.

Sadly, what happened in Florida didn't have to happen.

 

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