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About CA-TF 8

     Urban search and rescue (US&R) 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.

     For every Urban Search & Rescue task force, there are 70 positions. But to be sure a full team can respond to an emergency; the task forces have at the ready more than 200 highly trained members.

     CA-TF 8 is really a partnership between local fire departments, law enforcement agencies, federal and local governmental agencies and private companies. 

     A task force is totally self-sufficient for the first 72 hours of a deployment.

     The equipment cache used to support a task force weighs nearly 80,000 pounds and is worth about $1.4 million. Add the task force members to the cache and you can completely fill a military C-141 transport or two C130’s.

     Training requirements are intensive, to say the least. In addition to being an Emergency Medical Technician, each task force member must complete hundreds of hours of training. Specialties such as K-9 search, rescue and rigging carry their own training requirements.

What the task force can do:

  • Physical search and rescue operations in damaged/collapsed structures.

  • Emergency medical care for entrapped survivors, task force personnel and search canines

  • Reconnaissance to assess damage and needs, and provide feedback to local, state, tribal, territorial and federal officials. 

  • Assessment/shut-off of utilities to houses and other buildings.

  • Hazardous materials surveys/evaluations

  • Structural/hazard evaluations of buildings needed for immediate occupancy to support disaster relief operations.

  • Stabilizing damaged structures, including shoring and cribbing operations on damaged buildings

  • Hazardous Materials Equipment Push Packages for operations in a contaminated environment.

  • Search and rescue operations in a water environment​​.

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