Virginia Task Force 1 - Urban Search and Rescue Team


About the Team

Virginia Task Force 1 Patch

Established in 1986 as a domestic and international disaster response resource, sponsored by the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, Virginia Task Force 1 is rostered by approximately 200 specially trained career and volunteer fire and rescue personnel, with expertise in the rescue of victims from collapsed structures, following a natural or man-made catastrophic event.

The team is comprised of emergency managers and planners, physicians and paramedics and includes specialists in the fields of structural engineering, heavy rigging, collapse rescue, logistics, hazardous materials, communications, canine and technical search.

As the federal sponsoring agency, USAID pays for all costs and expenses incurred by VATF-1 when members are activated or undergo training. All training, equipment, and personnel costs of VATF-1 are paid for by the federal government on a regular basis. Additionally, when firefighters and members are deployed, there is no loss in emergency response or service to Fairfax County residents, as minimum staffing for all apparatus is continuous for all fire and rescue stations. The training and expertise gained by working with our federal partners in times of local, regional, national and international disasters and emergencies enhances and improves the skill sets of firefighters and paramedics. The skills gained from this partnership provides a direct benefit to county residents by using these skills in making Fairfax County a safer and better place to live and work. 

Previous Missions

Hurricane Irene Deployment

Mission to Japan

Mission to Haiti

VATF-1 was activated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) following the Haitian earthquake on Jan. 12, and was deployed for approximately 15 days. Members rescued 16 people from the rubble while in Haiti. VATF-1 sent both a heavy and medium team consisting of 114 personnel, including search and rescue canines, search and technical rescue personnel, physicians, paramedics, structural engineers, and various other support personnel.

 


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