The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has activated Urban Search and Rescue – New York Task Force 1 to deploy 83 members to assist in Hurricane Ida response and recovery efforts in Louisiana.
New York Task Force 1 specializes in urban search and rescue, disaster recovery, and emergency triage and medicine. The 83-member team, along with six canines, departed from New York City Emergency Management’s Brooklyn facility on Sunday to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where they will pre-stage ahead of potential assignments.
The team is deploying with equipment and tools to support its operations, including four water rescue boats, motors, items to support rescues from collapsed structures and confined spaces, as well as a compilation of hazardous materials response equipment.
The team is expected to arrive in Louisiana on Monday evening. There are 28 FEMA US&R teams strategically located throughout the United States that can be deployed within six hours of activation.
“New York City is happy to answer the call beyond the five boroughs. This team has faced a range of disasters and is now prepared to help people who are threatened by Hurricane Ida,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner John Scrivani. “We wish the New York Task Force 1 team a safe journey and successful response and recovery operation.”
“After Hurricane Katrina, our members were proud to bravely serve in New Orleans and help the people of Louisiana during their time of need,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “Now as another hurricane heads towards the state, our highly trained FDNY members ― along with their counterparts in the NYPD ― are doing what they do best: preparing to perform search and rescue operations in a dangerous environment. I know they will make us proud once again.”
The FEMA Urban Search and Rescue program originated as a response system for natural disasters. Since the program’s inception, the task forces have broadened the scope of US&R’s work.
Two early activations of the Urban Search and Rescue system occurred in response to Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and the 1994 Northridge Earthquake in California.
FEMA US&R teams also activated in response to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
New York Task Force 1 deployments include Hurricanes Ike and Gustav in 2008, the Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Earl in 2010, Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, in 2017, Hurricane Florence in 2018, Hurricane Dorian in 2019, and the Surfside Building Collapse in 2021.
Photo credit: Source