News Flash

Emergency Management

Posted on: September 11, 2020

Washington State Task Force-1 deploying to Oregon to assist with search and rescue

Washington State Task Force-1 FEMA Urban Search and Rescue (WA-TF1) has been activated to support Oregon and assist in search and rescue missions. The Type 1 team, consisting of 70 people from Pierce and King counties and the City of Seattle Fire Department, are leaving Friday night, Sept. 11. The team, based out of the Pierce County Department of Emergency Management, could be deployed for up to 14 days.

This team included representatives from Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, Seattle Fire Department, South King Fire and Rescue, Tacoma Fire Department, Valley Regional Fire Authority, Central Pierce Fire and Rescue, West Pierce Fire and Rescue, Bellevue Fire Department, Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority, Shoreline Fire Department, Renton Fire Department, Tukwila Fire Department, Woodinville Fire Department, Gig Harbor Fire Department, Mercer Island Fire Department, Bothell Fire Department, and Redmond Fire Department.

The entire team is comprised of more than 210 team members, drawn from a variety of organizations including fire departments, hospitals, law enforcement, private companies and public works agencies. Canine teams accompany WA-TF1 members on all deployments.

The task force is equipped and ready to deploy within six hours of receiving its orders. During the pandemic all precautions are being taken to keep the team safe.

The team is trained and equipped to conduct the following missions:

  • Physical search and rescue operations in damaged/collapsed structures
  • Emergency medical care for entrapped survivors, task force personnel and search canines
  • Reconnaissance to assess damage and needs, and provide feedback to local, state, tribal, territorial and federal officials. 
  • Assessment/shut-off of utilities to houses and other buildings
  • Hazardous materials surveys/evaluations
  • Structural/hazard evaluations of buildings needed for immediate occupancy to support disaster relief operations
  • Stabilizing damaged structures, including shoring and cribbing operations on damaged buildings
  • Hazardous Materials Equipment Push Packages for operations in a contaminated environment
  • Search and rescue operations in a water environment
  • Decontamination of personnel and canines at the base of operations

The team was last deployed to the Hawaiian islands in 2018 for Hurricanes Lane and Olivia.

WA-TF1 was established in 1991. There are 28 US&R teams across the United States.


Mike Halliday, public information specialist

253-798-2204 or 253-244-8766 (mobile)

[email protected]

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