At the request of the Japanese government, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is deploying two Urban Search and Rescue teams to assist in search and rescue efforts in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami.
As you may have seen in the news, the California Task Force 2 (CA-TF2) and Virginia Task Force 1 (VA-TF1) teams are deploying due to their direct agreement with USAID. The teams consist of 70 multi-faceted, cross-trained personnel who serve in six major functional areas, including search, rescue, medical, hazardous materials, logistics and planning. In addition, they are supported by canines that are specially trained and qualified to be able to conduct physical search and heavy rescue operations in damaged or collapsed reinforced concrete buildings.
So how does FEMA fit into the picture? Here's part of our blog post when the CA-TF2 was deployed to New Zealand in response to the Christchurch earthquake:
You often hear US&R and FEMA in the same sentence, and the reason is because FEMA has developed disaster response agreements with 28 urban search and rescue teams located in various cities throughout the United States. The teams are locally managed, but FEMA provides funding and program development support for the teams.