A Little Bit About Us
A Little Bit About Us
ABOUT URBAN SEARCH & RESCUE (US&R):
Urban Search and Rescue involves the location, rescue (extrication), and initial medical stabilization of victims trapped in confined spaces. Structural collapse is most often the cause of victims being trapped, but victims may also be trapped in transportation accidents, mines and collapsed trenches.
Urban Search and Rescue is considered a “multi-hazard” discipline, as it may be needed for a variety of emergencies or disasters, including earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, storms and tornadoes, floods, dam failures, technological accidents, terrorist activities, and hazardous materials releases. The events may be slow in developing, as in the case of hurricanes, or sudden, as in the case of earthquakes.
WHAT MAKES A US&R TEAM DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SEARCH TEAMS?
FEMA teams organize existing search and rescue capability into a national program that can quickly deploy to an event. They have additional training, and must be able to deploy within six hours and to sustain themselves for 72 hours. They must also have a roster that fills 31 different positions with at least two people for each position. To receive the FEMA certification, the team must be approved by a US&R oversight board that includes leaders in the field and FEMA officials. One of the difficulties in obtaining the certification is being able to staff a complete roster of at least 62 trained individuals.
WHAT POSITIONS MAKE A TASK FORCE?
First, all team members are trained and certified emergency medical technicians. Then positions fall into roughly four categories: search and rescue; medical; technical and logistics. The search and rescue positions include engineers with expertise in shoring up, bracing, evaluating, breaching and lifting structural components, rescue specialists, and search specialists who use trained and credentialed search dogs, cameras and listening devices. The medical positions include physicians, paramedics, nurses and others who can set up and staff a mobile field hospital. Technical positions include hazard materials specialists and communications specialists, among others.
HOW MANY US&R TEAMS ARE THERE?
There are 28 teams: one from Arizona; eight from California; one from Colorado; two from Florida; two from Virginia, and one each from Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington State.