What is US&R?
Coordinated and overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Urban Search and Rescue Response System (US&R) consists of 28 advanced task forces strategically located throughout the country. These task forces are available to respond to catastrophic events involving the collapse of heavy steel, concrete and wood frame construction.
US&R members are the most highly trained first responders in the nation and their special skills, equipment and techniques allow them to work in extremely dangerous conditions, from natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, to domestic terrorist incidents.
Because US&R is considered a Rapid Reaction Force, FEMA requires that each task force be ready within six hours' notice for dispatch to anywhere in the country and that they be self-sufficient during the first 72 hours of any emergency response.
October 6th, 2016:
As part of FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue New York Task Force 1, members of the NYPD, FDNY and NYC Emergency Management deployed to Georgia to assist with Hurricane Matthew relief efforts. "We're all going to stage in Georgia. Depending on what happens on the coast, whether it be in Florida, South Carolina or in Georgia, they'll probably deploy our teams out as needed in those cities and states. We're going to go out with a 45-member team. Our primary mission down there is going to be water operations. We carry four hard-bottom boats, two inflatable boats and our rescue specialists are all swiftwater trained," says FDNY Battalion Chief Joseph Downey, New York Task Force-1 leader for the FDNY, whose team will deploy tonight to Georgia in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew alongside 21 NYPD members as part of New York City's elite Urban Search and Rescue team. The team is a joint effort between FDNY, NYPD and NYC Emergency Management, is fully self-sufficient, and is comprised of Firefighters, EMS members and NYPD Emergency Services Unit, Communications and K-9 Officers.
The National Urban Search and Rescue System was established under the authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1989. Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces are trained in confined space rescue during national disasters involving collapse of reinforced steel, concrete and wood frame structures. NY-TF1 has been a proud member of the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Response System since 1992.
The Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Task Force in New York is designated as New York Task Force 1 (NY-TF1) and is staffed by elite members of the City’s police and fire departments. NY-TF1 task force includes:
NY-TF1 can deploy as a Light Task Force (34 people) or as a Heavy Task Force (80 people).
NY-TF1 also has members who serve on FEMA Incident Support Teams (ISTs). An IST is activated to coordinate and support US&R assets in the field.
NY-TF1 travels with an extensive equipment cache that is vital to its mission. US&R equipment is packed to respond with the team and includes specialized rescue tools, such as search microphones sensitive enough to detect human breathing. The cache also includes personal protective equipment, sanitation and showers, and Meals Ready to Eat (MREs).