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3030 78th Avenue SE
Mercer Island, WA 98040
Phone: 206.275.7607
Fax: 206.275.7970
Email: mi_fire@mercergov.. . .
Hours: 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, Daily
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FEMA USAR Teams

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The United States Government, under the FEMA adminstration, has 28 Urban Search & Rescue Teams located in the Continental US.   These highly technical rescue teams are designed to respond anywhere with the United States, to assist local agencies with the rescue and recovery events, following a significant tragedy.  Two Task Force Teams are additionally certified to respond internationally.  The most notable domestic incident that the public became aware of these teams was the Oklahoma City Bombing.   Washington State's WATF-1 responded to the Oklahoma City bombing, with Mercer Island Fire sending two of its personnel.

US&R Response System Task Forces

 

USAR Teams are located in the following states.  Several states have more than one team, (i.e. California has 8).

Washington State has one of these 28 teams - WATF-1, (Washington Task Force 1).  This is a regional team, established in 1991, comprised of 25 different agencies broken into three primary groups - Pierce County, King County, and Seattle Fire Department.  King County has 11 Fire Departments within it's contingent.  Mercer Island has six firefighters from it's organization, who are members of this team. 

A USAR team deploys with 70 personnel with specialities divided into 4 major functional groups: Search; Rescue; Technical; and Medical.  In addition to the team members, each Task Force deploys with over 58,000 pounds of equipment.  WATF-1 is typically deployed from McChord AFB aboard a C-141 transport aircraft.  The US Air Force and National Guard support the mission of the USAR teams by providing air transportation.   WATF-1 has over 200 members on the team. These 200 members are assigned to a shift on a quarterly rotation. They are assigned to deploy based on this shift assignement.

    Mercer Island Firefighters who are part of this technical rescue team include:

Matheson.jpg Battalion Chief Shawn Matheson.  Shawn is currently assigned as a Technical Search Specialist for the team.   Shawn deployed to the Atlanta Olympics and to the New York City Terrorist Attack.
Bridenbaugh.jpg   Lieutenant John Bridenbaugh.  John is currently assigned as a Rescue Manager for the team.   John responded to the Northridge earthquake event.
barden.jpg   Lieutenant Bob Barden.  Bob is currently assigned as a Technical Search Manager for the team.  Bob teaches light search and rescue skills to the community.
KNOTT.jpg   Firefighter Ken Knott.  Ken is currently assigned as a Plans Officer for the team.  Ken has deployed to both Oklahoma City bombing, and the Atlanta Olympics.
Firefighter Alec Munro.  Alec is currently assigned as a rescue specialist.

Other King County Fire Departments who are members of the King County team include:

Federal Way Fire, Auburn Fire, KCFD #26 (Des Moines), Bellevue Fire, Shoreline Fire, Woodinville Fire & Life Safety, Renton Fire, Tukwila Fire, Redmond Fire, and Kent Fire.



 

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