US&R and NY-TF1 Practice for the Real
June 20-22, 2005 — Staged at the Center for National Response (CNR) in Standard, West Virginia, the MobEx field exercise challenged New York City's Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) team, New York Task Force 1 (NY-TF1), to respond to a tunnel explosion. NY-TF1 participants were faced with a realistic training mission that tested incident management, communications, logistics, first aid, rescue, and hazardous materials components in an environment much like one they might encounter during a real disaster.
Upon arrival at the CNR — located inside an unused highway tunnel — task force members encountered the aftermath of a simulated explosion. The blast caused the entrance to collapse, damaged the integrity of the structure and compromised electrical and natural gas systems. Visibility was limited by heavy smoke and dust pouring from the tunnel entrance, but responders were able to confirm that multiple victims were trapped inside.
NY-TF1 used its specialized training and advanced equipment to breach heavy concrete, remove rubble, stabilize the wreckage and help rescue "victims." According to CNR officials, NY-TF1 advanced through the scenario faster than any responders in similar full-scale exercises.
NY-TF1 members face challenging obstacles as they work to help trapped victims and stabilize the tunnel.
A US&R NY-TF1 member prepares to use specialized tools to free a motorist trapped inside a vehicle.
NY-TF1 is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)'s US&R system. US&R was created in the late 1980s to respond to natural disasters and catastrophic events involving the collapse of heavy steel and concrete. The 28 advanced search and rescue teams are strategically located throughout the United States and are experts in the use of the specialized tools, equipment and techniques required for the most dangerous conditions. NY-TF 1 is managed by the Office of Emergency Management and includes members from the Fire and Police Departments.