Since there seems to be a huge lean forward from people who want to know more about US&R, and since US&R is (and has been) one of my main projects for over twenty years, I figure I’ll take the opportunity to point you all in some directions for information, as well as provide some useful links other than the standard FEMA sites. I’ll start off with one or two and add some more as time permits.
Also, if I have missed a good link (or source), please add it, because any errors or omissions are likely just my failure to remember someone while sitting here for a moment, rather than deliberate exclusion.
I’ll start of course with my baby: the South Carolina US&R Task Force, which is a state-sponsored NIMS Type 1 equivalent US&R Task Force. Our deployment to St. Tammany and St. Bernard Parishes during Hurricane Katrina established us on the map as a viable response asset. While I am no longer the Director of this organization but serve as Deputy Director in an advisory role, it is still my pride and joy.
There is another US&R project of which I am very fond: the State Urban Search and Rescue Alliance, better known by its acronym, “SUSAR”. This began as a consortium of 19 states, including Puerto Rico, meeting for the first time in July 2005 at the South Carolina Fire Academy in Columbia, SC. Now it has representatives from over 41 states and we have earned the consideration by many other affiliated organizations as we help to advocate for these state teams which previously had no voice.
One Firefighter Nation there are several US&R “social” groups: Urban Search and Rescue, of course; USAR/FEMA; and USAR. You can join into the discussions there and say your piece, or at least get to meet other like-minded individuals. There is also the Cancel The Engine site on there, which has a lot of rockbreakers hanging out looking for something to tear up.
I’ll take the time to add some more later, but if you have a link near and dear to you, feel free to add it on a comment, and if it is appropriate, I’ll add it in.