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November 10, 1989 - Image 46

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-11-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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• 46

Mon.-Sat. 10.6 • Thurs 10.7

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 1989

ack Yohe, vice presi-
dent of Mistral Inc.,-
settled down to watch
the third game of the World
Series on Oct. 17. Instead, he,
along with millions of other
viewers, watched with shock
as the game was disrupted by
the earthquake that regis-
tered 7.1 on the Richter scale.
But unlike other people,
Yohe knew there was
something he could do to try
to help the victims of the ear-
thquake. Mistral, as a
representative of Tel Aviv-
based Elpam Electronics, had
access to the TPL 310, a
special trapped-person locator
manufactured by Elpam:
The first thing the following
morning, Yohe started the
ball rolling to get one of the
units to San Francisco as
quickly as possible.
TPL 310 is unique in that it
is equipped with ultra-
sensitive seismic and acoustic
sensors which can pinpoint a
person's location by picking
up the slightest noise. It can
also distnguish between en-
vironmental noises and rele-
vant noises, making it more
effective in locating survivors.
It can be used for anything
ranging from determining
the exact location of hostages
in small buildings to locating
survivors in building col-
lapses and ski avalanches,
acording to Mistral president
Eyal Banai.
The TPL 310 is used by the
New York Police Department,
the Long Beach California
Fire Department and the
Mine Safety and Health Ad-
ministration, he said. It was
used successfully' by an
Israeli Defense Force rescue
team to rescue three sur-
vivors of last year's Armenian
earthquake.
"Because the situation
after the San Francisco earth-
quake was so hectic, I decid-
ed the fastest and easiest way
to get the TPL 310 there
would be through conres-
sional channels," Yohe said.
"It was a rush job."
IN BRIEF
He determined that of the
various TPL 130 units in the
United States, the one closest
LAVENTHOL AND HOR-
to San Francisco was in the
WATH AND SHEARSON
hands of Hank Blackwell,
LEHMAN HUTTON will
assistant fire chief of the Los
jointly host a seminar entitl-
Alamos County Fire Depart-
ed The Family-Owned Bu-
ment in New Mexico. The
sienss — Build It, Manage It,
department had used the unit
Make It Last on Nov. 16, from
in a demonstration at a struc-
8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the
tural collapse workshop two
Radisson Plaza Hotel at Town
weeks earlier.
Center in Southfield. There is
Yohe contacted Rep.
a charge.

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William Thomas (R-Calif.)
and offered the unit for use in
the rescue efforts. From there,
it was up to Thomas to get the
TPL 310 to California.
With the help of Rep. Joe
Skeen (R-N.M.) and New
Mexico Gov. Gary Carruthers,
the unit made it to Califonia.
The New Mexico State
Police, the Air National
Guard and the California
East Bay Police all did their
part to fly B_lackwell and the
TPL 310 unit from Los
Alamos to Kirtland Air Force
Base in Albuquerque and
then to McClellan Air Force
Base in Sacramento, finally
reaching the 1-880 disaster
site.
Just before the engineers
began shoring — and bracing
— 1-880 to prevent further col-
lapse, rescuers heard faint
noises from the rubble.
Blackwell and the TPL unit
were rushed to the scene, but
before they arrived it was
determined that the noises
had come from a CB radio.
Once the shoring began, it
was impossible to use the
TPL becade the excessive
background noise would
disturbe the sensitive listen-
ing devices.
"I arrived about 24 hours
after the earthquake," said
Blackwell. "Usually the in-
itial rescue begins im-
mediately. It might have serv-
ed that department if they
had had the TPL on site. Any
technology for rescue is
wonderful, and we're sorely
lacking."
Blackwell stayed on to
assist in the rescue efforts
and was impressed over the
lack of turf battles. There was
a sense of cooperation and
camaraderie, he said.
Blackwell said there are
very few TPL 310 units west
of the Mississippi and very
few people trained to use
them.
An aide to Rep. Thomas
said, "We did everything we
could in that kind of situa-
tion. You have to try
everything. At least it was
there." ❑

I

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