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​Pennsylvania Urban Search and Rescue System

The Pennsylvania urban search and rescue (US&R) system is comprised of teams that are coordinated primarily through the eight regional task forces throughout the state.

PEMA sets standards for, and oversees the management of, the teams. However, they are managed operationally at the regional level.

These teams range from the smallest at six members to the largest at 20 members. Most of them fall at the US&R Company level, which is a team of ten individuals.

To be consistent, all of the in-state teams follow the same standards that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) teams do. While the in-state teams do not contain all of the same positions as the FEMA teams, they do adhere to the FEMA position descriptions as applicable.

PA Task Force 1

Pennsylvania has one FEMA US&R team: PA Task Force 1 (PA-TF1).

PA-TF1, coordinated through the Philadelphia Fire Department, is one of 28 FEMA teams available nationwide. PA-TF1 is available to respond both in the commonwealth as well as federally throughout the nation, as needed, for disasters and other emergencies.

Getting Involved with PA-TF1

To become involved with PA-TF1, you need to be part of either the sponsoring agency (Philadelphia Fire Department) or a participating agency such as one of the other fire departments or other organizations that support the team.

PA-TF1 will occasionally solicit for membership from the in-state US&R system when they have positions available that are not filled from their primary pool of candidates.