1. #1
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    Default Urban Search and Rescue team

    Several fire departments in my county are wanting to set up what we are calling an urban search and rescue team. The main purpose would be to prepare for tornados that have a bad habit of hitting North West Arkansas. Several towns in the last few years have been hit badly and no one in this area has any real training or equipment to handle this issue. This is the reason for starting this. What equipment should they start to look at? Most of the possible damage is your average single family home but there is certainly the possibility of a commercial building like a Wal-Mart or grocery store being damaged or collapsing. Money of course is an issue to were not looking into getting a big fully equipment heavy rescue. Most like would be a trailer of some kind or several departments dividing up the equipment. We would love any advice or help.

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    Have you contacted ADEM or your local OEM?
    FF/Paramedic

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    Thumbs up And...........

    Poke around online a bit. The U.S. Fire Administration has some FREE Books on Technical Rescue Teams, Equipment, and Training. You can also become elegible to apply for Grants to fund your Equipment and Training.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNFF319 View Post
    Have you contacted ADEM or your local OEM?
    Check out http://susar.org/ and http://www.emacweb.org/



    Both can give you an idea on stating a team up, SUSAR more so then EMAC
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    Arkansas surely needs something.

    If it were me though, I would try to get a regional tiered system going. Get with LR, Fort Smith, Fayetville and build out from your area and theirs. More funding available that way also.

    I really like how OK has done their homeland security teams, preplacing assets with fire departments all over the state, for a preliminary response while more assets are on the way, and it also gets more people involved.

    ADEM will be a big help with this also. Maybe they could take those unused 833 monies that departments are not taking advantage of and use it for this? I suspect that might take a law change, but there are a lot of departments that simply won't sign the paperwork to get their money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by volfireman034 View Post
    What equipment should they start to look at? Most of the possible damage is your average single family home but there is certainly the possibility of a commercial building like a Wal-Mart or grocery store being damaged or collapsing. Money of course is an issue to were not looking into getting a big fully equipment heavy rescue. Most like would be a trailer of some kind or several departments dividing up the equipment. We would love any advice or help.

    If money is an issue, good luck with getting a team started. It will cost quite a bit just for certification training alone, there is a 40 hour rope ops, followed with a 40 hour rope tech, 40 hour structural collapse, followed with a 40 hour concrete and steel collapse tech, same for confined space ops and tech levels. Not even including trench or swiftwater, the ropes, confined space, and collapse roll together because many aspects are integrated together. This doesn't get into the stuff needed for equipment which can be costly as well.

    Now some people can be instructors and teach others on the dept, but they would have to get all the certs plus instructor to qualify people in the courses. Grants may be available and incorporating several depts can help, but in the end you will be facing an uphill battle especially if costs are an issue and if these are volunteer depts were talking about, it is a huge time issue involved as well. It takes a lot to set up such a team and may not always be feasible in some circumstances.
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

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    The first step is to get the education needed to work at the Collapse Ops level. If your main focus is weather related calls then the two major tools you need is your mind and a can of orange spray paint.
    While the supercell storm can come along and cause major damage, you will likely be going to light to moderate damage on frame and ordinary construction buildings.
    Structural assessment, building marking, victim locating are the main concerns. So go to school and get a good core group trained to the collapse ops level.
    I've been to several incidents of tornado damage and there are very few people that require a USAR team to get them out. The vast majority of people are just injured or lightly trapped. It is the assessment of the area along with utility control that is our major concern.
    Emergency Rescue Shoring Techniques http://www.fireengineering.com/index...rds=book+store is a great book. http://www.disasterengineer.org/ is a good website to get the FOG and SOG
    These incidents are not very frequent but do need well trained professionals to deal with the incident. The tools will be obvious once you have the training, but you will waste thousands if you get tools first.

    Good luck and let us know how things are going.
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    If I remember right, Bentonville or someone up that direction has a collapse rescue team. I would imagine someone else in Arkansas has a team, it may only take a call to your SEMA to find out who to contact for information. You might be able to get in contact with someone up there that can help you out and maybe even fill you in on where state funds to help support you might be. Joplin, MO's FD has a team and equipment for structural collapse, someone there might be able to help you out with information if you have problems finding anyone in Arkansas.

    Your biggest issue is going to be the cost of equipment and training. You're going to be looking at thousands of dollars in struts, whalers, etc., then on top of that heavy duty chisels and drills, airbags (high- and low-pressure), air monitoring, PPE, air monitoring equipment, etc.

    Funding may be an issue, though. While Arkansas may have some Homeland Security funding out there, a lot of it has dried up. A lot of the Missouri DHS Regional Response Teams have dropped out due to lack of funding to maintain the equipment. Granted, a lot of the equipment is haz-mat based and requires a ton of upkeep and has expiration dates that apply (suits, meter sensors, etc), while a lot of what you'll use for collapse rescue isn't quite as maintenance intensive. AFG may be an option, but it's going to be tough as you're going into a new scope of practice.

    I would suggest getting in contact with some teams already established and find out exactly what you're getting into and where to get the training. You'll also have to figure out to what degree you want to do it. Do you want just enough to get you going until someone with more equipment arrives or do you want something where you are self-sufficient?

    You've got a lot of work ahead of you, good luck with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    Funding may be an issue, though. While Arkansas may have some Homeland Security funding out there, a lot of it has dried up. A lot of the Missouri DHS Regional Response Teams have dropped out due to lack of funding to maintain the equipment. Granted, a lot o.
    I hope they know that it is now an allowable expenditure for RHSOC money - we just did the next year of sat service for our regional command post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    I hope they know that it is now an allowable expenditure for RHSOC money - we just did the next year of sat service for our regional command post.
    Some of them do. There's a lot of other issues involved with some teams dropping, from my understanding. You know how it goes.

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