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The National Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Response System, established under the authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1989 is a framework for structuring local emergency services personnel into integrated disaster response task forces.

These task forces, complete with necessary tools and equipment, and required skills and techniques, can be deployed by FEMA for the rescue of victims of structural collapse.

A USAR team consists of seven components: Command, Search, Rescue, Medical, HazMat, Planning, and Logistics. A manager coordinates each of the components; the task force leader coordinates the team. The team has a complement of live victim search canines and technical search, coring, boring, cutting, and breaching tools. Its members include doctors, structural engineers, riggers, technical information specialists, hazardous materials technicians, and rescue specialist technicians trained to NFPA 1670, Standard on Operations and Training for Technical Rescue Incidents, 1999 edition. The task force is a heavy rescue resource designed to add additional capability to the local incident commander and is self-supporting for the first 72 hours of an incident.

Rescue Canine
"Cody the Search Dog"
Canine's Role in Urban Search and Rescue

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