DHS | Department of Homeland Security | WMD-Ready National Urban Search and Rescue Response System: "WMD-Ready National Urban Search and Rescue Response System
For Immediate Release
Federal Emergency Management Agency
October 1, 2003
Today the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that it has completed an aggressive program to train and equip the nation's Urban Search and Rescue teams to respond to a WMD event. This strengthening of a key element of the nation's federal response capabilities follows a significant contribution of resources, training and equipment from the Bush Administration during the last year. The National Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Response System is a framework for structuring local emergency services personnel into integrated disaster response task forces. These task forces complete with the necessary tools and equipment, skills and techniques, can be deployed by the Department of Homeland Security for the rescue of victims of structural collapse.
The Urban Search and Rescue System
There are 28 national US&R task forces located throughout the continental United States, trained and equipped to handle structural collapse. Any task force can be activated and deployed by FEMA to a disaster area and provide assistance in structural collapse rescue, or may be pre-positioned when a major disaster threatens a community. Each task force must have all its personnel and equipment at the embarkation point within six hours of activation. The task force can be dispatched and en route to its destination in a matter of hours.
Each task force is comprised of 70 specialists, and is divided into six major functional elements: search, rescue, medical, hazmat, logistics and planning. The task force is divided into two 35-member teams, which allows for the rotation and relief of personnel for round-the-clock search and rescue operations. "