Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
4100 Chain Bridge Rd, Fairfax, Virginia 22030
Phone: 703-246-3801, TTY: 711 and Fax:703-385-1687
Duty PIO (Weekends/After-hours): 703-877-3702
News Release 11-024
Date: March 14, 2011
Virginia Task Force 1 (VATF-1) was activated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Friday, March 11, 2011, and departed Dulles International Airport early Saturday morning for Japan to assist in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. The team arrived at Misawa Air Base, Sunday, March 13, 2011, by commercial aircraft. Approximately 31 tons of equipment and supplies, including four inflatable boats, was transported separately by military airlift.
The self-contained, heavy task force of 74 personnel has technical search and rescue specialists, search and rescue canines, structural engineers, a medical component consisting of physicians and paramedics, and other critical support personnel. VATF-1 will travel to Ofunato, a seaport city of approximately 41,000, and establish a base of operations
While enroute to Japan, VATF-1 stopped in Los Angeles, California, and joined with California Task Force 2 (CATF-2) for the trip to Misawa Air Base. Both teams will be working under the direction of the Tokyo Fire Department.
VATF-1 was activated last year following the earthquake in Haiti, assisting in the rescue of 16 people. The team has deployed worldwide to both natural and manmade disasters for approximately 25 years, including Kenya, Taiwan, Turkey, Oklahoma City, The Pentagon, and Armenia.
Additionally, as a part of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, the team maintains constant operational readiness, and is a local resource for residents of Fairfax County.
Note: USAID pays for all costs and expenses incurred by VATF-1 when activated or when participating in training. All training, equipment, supplies, and personnel are paid for by the federal government on a regular basis. Additionally, when firefighters and members are deployed, there is no loss in emergency service or response to county residents, as minimum staffing continues for all emergency apparatus for all stations within the county.
For more information, call Daniel L. Schmidt or Captain I Randal Bittinger, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, 703-246-3801 and TTY: 711. Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request.