Where did it start?
Vermont addressed the need to build a USAR asset in 1999, the mission focused on five types of rescues:
- Confined space
- Structural Collapse
- Swift water
After the events of 9/11 this was accelerated here in Vermont and across the US/
Stepping back, in 1991 25 Teams across the US were sponsored by the Federal Government and where known as the National US&R Response System. This system provided the Nation with unprecedented capability in heavy technical rescue to any part of the US and its territories. This capability was original based on earthquake scenarios; it is now an all-hazards response.
Since September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, State and local jurisdictions have developed their own separate US&R capabilities. In 2002, the State Urban Search and Rescue Alliance (SUSAR) were formed to assist and unify US&R task forces outside of the National US&R System. SUSAR adopts NIMS Resource Typing to catalogue their task forces. Currently the FEMA US&R System employs 28 Type 1 Heavy USAR Teams. SUSAR rosters 38 state teams that vary as Type I, II, III and IV teams, in 2009, FEMA examined the impact of a catastrophic earthquake along the New Madrid faults. It would require 279 Type I US&R task forces in response to a 7.7 magnitude earthquake.
Where are we now?
Since 2002 funding to enhance search and rescue capabilities through equipment and training has enhance the abilities of this team. The majority of equipment was purchased and training was completed in 2011. Eleven departments strategically located throughout Vermont were selected to house and maintain equipment cache same as federally designated Type III USAR team. In 2007 Vermont USAR joins the State Urban Search and Rescue Alliance
The Goal is to organize current capabilities into 11 regional Strike Teams that will be unified as one 35-person Type IV USAR team; Current Host Agencies: Hartford Fire in the South and Colchester Technical Rescue in the North each with duplicate equipment and training.
With the addition of a full-time Program Manager for USAR and Swiftwater rescue programs a 3 year strategic plan was developed for Vermont Task Force one. Administrative manual and SOG’s completed, Deployment model completed and Inventory of all Task Force equipment complete and downloaded into Salamander Intertrax software system. The Vermont Task Force one will be a Type IV USAR asset capable of deploying an Incident Management Team immediately with technical rescue expertise and specialized equipment to meet the IC needs. With the capability of deploying within two hours of request with a 35 person Type IV USAR team capable of operating in 12 hour operational periods for up to 72 hours.