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Urban Search & Rescue

     The National Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Response System (the System), established under the authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 1989, is a framework for organizing federal, state and local partner emergency response teams as integrated federal disaster response task forces. The System’s 28 US&R task forces can be deployed by FEMA to a disaster area to provide assistance in structural collapse rescue, or they may be pre-positioned when a major disaster threatens a community.


     The System is a vital federal asset to support the continuous operation of critical government and business functions that are essential to human health and safety, or economic security.


     The task forces are equipped and ready to deploy within six hours in various response models. When federal support is anticipated prior to an event such as a hurricane, System resources are often pre-positioned along with other federal responders to expedite support following the disaster.  


     Each NIMS Type 1 US&R task force is composed of 70 members specializing in search, rescue, medicine, hazardous materials, logistics and planning, including technical specialists such as physicians, structural engineers and canine search teams. The task forces can split into two NIMS type 3 US&R task forces with 35-members each to conduct around-the-clock search and rescue operations in 12-hour shifts. 

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