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Urban Search & Rescue

Urban Search & Rescue

About Urban Search & Rescue

A FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force is a team of individuals which serve as a resource for disaster response at local, state, federal, and international levels.  It is comprised mainly of firefighters but includes structural engineers, medical professionals, canine/handler teams and emergency managers with highly specialized training in urban search and rescue environments.

Utah Task Force 1 (UT-TF1) is one of 28 Type I, Federal Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Task Forces in the United States.  This program brings a highly trained, multi-hazard Task Force that is especially designed to respond to a variety of emergencies/disasters including earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, terrorist acts and hazardous material releases.  Fire department personnel that are task force members receive specialized training and skills that directly benefit UFA. 

UT-TF1 has provided the required structural collapse technician training that UFA’s heavy rescue specialists must have to be considered Heavy Rescue Technicians. UT-TF1 continues to partner with UFA for Special Operations program development and to enhance the technical expertise of many personnel within the department.

Division Leader

Special Operations Division Chief / Program Manager

Bryan Case

FY22/23 Accomplishments


  • Successful submission of FY2022 FEMA $1.26 million Cooperative Agreement Grant
  • Awarded $50,000 grant from State of Utah DHS/DEM
  • Completion of annual member readiness event involving all members
  • Successful submit for reimbursement for all 2022 FEMA deployments
  • Response to three national-level deployment events
  • Enhanced relations with outside agencies
    • Utah National Guard CERFP (CBRN Enhanced Response Force Packages)
    • Utah Transit Authority
    • State of Utah (DEM/SERT/EOC)
  • Completion of memorandum of agreement with DEM for in-state deployment protections and pay
  • Convened a committee of representatives from each UT-TF1 participating agency
  • Finalized purchase of two new light fleet vehicles
  • Purchase of new rescue equipment with State grant funds
  • Awarded $150,000 Nonprofit Security grant from State of Utah to enhance security at UFA Logistics building


  • Kentucky Flooding, IST deployment of two personnel July 28 – August 11
  • Tropical Cyclone Fiona – Puerto Rico, IST deployment of two personnel September 17-24
  • Hurricane Ian – Florida, IST deployment of five personnel September 25 – October 12


  • Completed 9,668 hours of task force training in 2022
  • 127 members attended FEMA US&R discipline-specific training in 2022
  • Supported 1,042 member interactions in general FEMA training events in 2022
  • Completed 413 hours of Water Rescue/Boat training for 76 members
  • New member certifications in Logistics Specialist, Tech Search Specialist, Search & Rescue Common Operating Picture (SARCOP), Medical Specialist, Canine Search Specialist, Communications Specialist, other positions
  • Completed member readiness event for all members
  • Two mock deployments of MRP-W (swift water) to Moab & American Falls
  • Successfully hosted FEMA-sanctioned Technical Search Specialist course in July 2022
  • Deployment exercise with Utah National Guard – Camp Williams

FY23/24 Action Items

  • Successful completion of FEMA Administrative Readiness Evaluation audit
  • Increase number of deployable and trained task force members, goal max of 200
  • Increase the number of Live Find/Human Remains capable canine teams to twelve
  • Conduct multiple modular/Mission Ready Package – Water (MRP-W) deployment exercises for at least 70 members of the task force in 2022
  • Exercise all phases of five Operation Readiness Exercise Evaluation Program (OREEP) mobilization modules for measurement of task force abilities and identify areas of improvement
  • Continuation of Task Force Leaders (TFLs) training; specific areas of responsibility and safety within the task force to enhance program awareness of critical task force needs
  • Identify additional funding sources (i.e. grants) for which UT-TF1 will qualify
  • Review all current agreements and MOU’s and update as necessary
  • Complete purchase of two replacement light fleet vehicles August 2022
  • Further discussions with the State of Utah for a dedicated funding source (ongoing)
  • Extend annual recruiting efforts among all UT-TF1 participating agencies
  • Further employ UT-TF1 supervisory members into projects/roles to support task force administration efforts