top of page

     The origins of the FEMA Task Force's go back to the early 1980's when the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department and Miami-Dade County Fire Department created search and rescue teams to deal with rescue operations in collapsed buildings. The State Department and the Office of Foreign Disaster Aid requested the help of these teams to assist with rescue operations in the 1985 Mexico City, the 1990 Luzon and the 1989 Leninakan earthquakes.


After the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, seeing the value in having a network of such teams in the United States, FEMA created the National Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Response System that same year. FEMA initially sponsored 25 national urban search-and-rescue task forces, then in 1991 they expanded the number of teams to 28. In 1992, the concept was incorporated into the Federal Response Plan first published in 1992 and was later retained in the National Response Plan and the National Response Framework.

bottom of page