WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has deployed all 28 of its National Urban Search and Rescue teams -- 7 to Louisiana and 11 to Mississippi -- to assist in rescue efforts in heavily impacted areas. The remaining 10 have been activated and deployed to staging areas in Dallas and Houston, Texas.
The National Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) system, coordinated by FEMA, provides for the response of expertly trained and well-equipped urban search and rescue teams from across the country to assist when local resources are overwhelmed. The teams operate around the clock, and include engineers and other technical experts and specially trained search dogs.
National US&R teams are located throughout the continental United States, trained and equipped to handle any structural collapse. They consist primarily of local emergency services personnel, and any task force can be activated and deployed by FEMA to a disaster area.
Units deployed to Louisiana include:
Texas Task Force 1
New Mexico Task Force 1
Arizona Task Force 1
Tennessee Task Force 1
Missouri Task Force 1
Florida Task Force 1
Colorado Task Force 1
Units deployed to Mississippi include:
Florida Task Force 2
Virginia Task Force 2
Pennsylvania Task Force 1
Indiana Task Force 1
Ohio Task Force 1
Nebraska Task Force 1
Virginia Task Force 1
Maryland Task Force 1
New York Task Force 1
Maine Task Force 1
Utah Task Force 1
Units deployed to Texas Staging Areas include:
Nevada Task Force 1 (Dallas)
California Task Force 1, 2, 5 and 6
Washington Task Force 1
California Task Force 3, 4, 7 and 8 (Houston)
Task forces include 70 specialists along with canine members, and are divided into six major functional elements: search, rescue, medical, hazmat, logistics and planning. Each task force is divided into two 35-member teams, which allows for the rotation and relief of personnel for 24 hour search and rescue operations. FEMA establishes policy and coordinates the 28 US&R teams across the country.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following an incident of national significance. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.