One of my biggest concerns in 2008 has been the dwindling funds available for urban search and rescue programs around the nation. When things cut loose out there, these are the resources that everyone wants, but given the state of funding for these programs and the state of the economy, they may also be the first programs to see the axe.
When a few of us got together and developed the State Urban Search and Rescue Alliance
in the middle of 2005, we had no idea that there was as much interest in putting together regional and state assets as there was. We found that virtually every state (and even some of our Caribbean neighbors and compatriots) were in the process of developing these programs, but people weren't talking the same language (NIMS typing and credentialing
was in its infancy), were "reinventing the wheel" in so many facets of their work, and most of all, weren't communicating that they had things to share or that they had needs that could be filled by others.
The nation's emergency service providers should learn a lesson from all of this: we can work together by reaching out to others, and find commonalities that can bring us together rather than to continue to stay in our "silos" and perpetuate the turf-guarding that keps us from solving our serious issues. In this day and age of stripped budgets, if we can show that we are willing to lay down our egos for the common good, we might have a bigger stick to wield when it comes to chasing the vultures away from our already scarce funding allocations.