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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

Organizational Structure

FY20/21 Accomplishments

  • Successful submission of FY2020 FEMA $1,024,000 Cooperative Agreement Grant
  • Successful submit for $50,000 grant from State of Utah DHS/DEM
  • Completion of annual Member Readiness Event involving all members
  • Successful submit for reimbursement from FEMA for hurricane Laura & Oregon Wildfire deployments
  • Response to eight national-level deployment events
  • Completed on-boarding of members from West Jordan and South Jordan Fire Departments
  • Added one new Task Force physician
  • Enhanced relations with outside agencies
    • Utah National Guard CERFP (CBRN Enhanced Response Force Packages)
    • Utah Transit Authority
    • State of Utah (SERT/EOC)
  • Initial success with legislation to create an agreement with State DEM regarding in-state deployments
  • UT-TF1 personnel supported in Advisory Org and IST appointments and a new appointment to advisory Org in Planning
  • Completed purchase of one last new light fleet vehicle
  • Initiated purchase of a replacement prime mover Kenworth tractor
  • Purchase of new rescue equipment with state grant funds
  • Completed recertification of UT-TF1 logistics techs in AMFAN/IATA training
  • Completed updates to iCODES account, Type I ARM airlift plans and Type 4 cache load plans
  • Updated MOU with Salt Lake County for parking facility
  • Updated MOU with AmerisourceBergen for pharmaceutical cache access and management
  • New COVID-related PPE for all members 
  • Hurricane Laura – Louisiana, Type I.  Activated 8/26/2020; deployed 80 personnel by ground
  • Tropical Cyclone Sally – Louisiana, IST.  Activated 9/12/2020; deployed one member
  • Tropical Storm Delta – Louisiana, IST.  Activated 10/6/2020; deployed two members
  • Tropical Storm Zeta – Louisiana, IST.  Activated 10/28/2020; deployed one member
  • Tropical Storm Douglas – Hawaii, IST.  Activated 7/24/2020; deployed one member
  • Magna Earthquake – Utah, MRP.  Activated 3/18/2020; deployed 17 members
  • Oregon Wildfires – Oregon, Type I.  Activated 9/12/2020; deployed 80 members by ground
  • Presidential Inaugural events – Virginia, IST.  Activated 1/14/2021; deployed one member
Training (restricted greatly due to COVID/FEMA US&R system suspension of meetings/trainings)
  • Completed nearly 8000 hours of TF training in 2020
  • 137 members attended FEMA US&R discipline specific training in 2020
  • Attended joint Alaska cold-weather exercise w/UTNG (February 2020)
  • Completed 274 hours of canine specific training for 15 members
  • Completed Water Rescue training for 70 members
  • Completed 88 hour so WRS/Boat Ops training for 43 members
  • Completed Canine FSA, EOCE, FEMA Hazmat EOCE training sessions
  • Completed breach/break refresher training for 22 members
  • Completed member readiness event for all TF members
  • Two mock deployments of MRP-W (Swift Water) to Moab

FY21/22 Action Items

* some carryover from FY20/21 due to COVID

  • Increase number of deployable and trained task force members, goal max of 200
  • Complete con-boarding of members from new participating agencies
  • Increase the number of Live Find/Human Remains capable canine teams to twelve by December 2021
  • Conduct multiple modular/Mission Ready Package – Water (MRP-W) deployment exercises for at least 70 members of the task force in 2021
  • 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
  • Update the task force three-year strategic plan by December 2021
  • Identify additional funding sources (i.e. grants) for which UT-TF1 will qualify
  • Review all current agreements and MOU’s and update as necessary
  • Pursue funding solutions (through legislative means) on behalf of ESF9 desk at both Salt Lake County and State Division of Emergency Management positions
  • Assess current capability of UT-TF1 training facilities against future needs by January of each year and incorporate into annual budget process for UFA
  • Conduct Rescue Specialists Structural Collapse Specialists course in June 2021
  • Complete purchase of a replacement Kenworth tractor vehicle by August 2021
  • Further discussions with the State of Utah for a dedicated funding source (ongoing)
  • Extend annual recruiting efforts among all UT-TF1 participating agencies
  • Development of a committee that includes a representative from each UT-TF1participating agency
  • Further employ UT-TF1 supervisory members into projects/roles to support task force administration efforts