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Urban Search and Rescue

usar personnel Tennessee Task Force 2 - Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) administratively functions out of the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management, and builds on the established rescue capabilities of the Nashville Fire Department by incorporating structural engineers, heavy equipment operators, search specialists, rigging specialists, hazmat specialists, chemists, canine specialists, medical specialists and evidence preservation specialists to support first responders at structural collapse incidents and confined space rescue incidents. The multi-department USAR task force was established by executive order in 1995.The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency authorized state designation of Tennessee Task Force 2 (TN-TF 2) after the team met federal standards.

usar dog in rubble.USAR consists of more than 100 specialists from several Metro Nashville departments who respond to structural collapse incidents using high-tech fiber optic cameras, listening devices and trained search dogs to locate trapped victims. Team engineers devise plans to access trapped victims while other USAR specialists use concrete cutting tools, heavy equipment and rigging equipment to stabilize the structure and remove rubble, so personnel can perform rescue operations.

How does it work?

Upon notification of a request for deployment, OEM notifies the Task Force Coordinators and the USAR team is placed on standby, an advance team from TNTF-2 may respond initially to assess rescue conditions and determine the area for the task force’s base of operation. The task force is alerted for deployment and directed to point of assembly to prepare for deployment. TNTF-2 senior leadership upon arrival reports to the scene incident commander and operates under the National Incident Management System.

usar truckCan USAR be sent to other counties?

Yes. If OEM receives a request from a neighboring county or the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, OEM would review that request with the Mayor. If authorized, USAR would be deployed to the requesting county. The task force would report to a designated area and operate under the direction of the scene incident commander.

What type of training does USAR have?

Each USAR task force member is required to have standard USAR training in conjunction with his or her area of expertise. The standard training includes NFPA 1470, FEMA's Rescue Systems One and Trench Collapse, ICS, Hazardous Materials Operation/Technician and Emergency Medical Care.

usar staff talking

Nashville goes beyond the standards!

Nashville's USAR team has been involved with numerous hands-on exercises involving collapsed structures. In fact, the task force has trained with FEMA USAR teams in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and New York; and with Tennessee Task Force One, located in Memphis. Here are the departments represented on Nashville's Urban Search and Rescue team:

  • Mayor's Office of Emergency Management
  • Nashville Fire Department
  • Nashville Metro Police Department
  • Metro Public Works
  • Metro Water Services
  • General Services Administration
  • Information Technology System