Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How many people make up a USAR team?
A. USAR teams are generally staffed based on their tasks and capabilities. Basic FEMA USAR assets are staffed with 62 people, add HAZ-MAT capabilities and the number grows to 68, add Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) capabilities to that and the team grows to 72. Most FEMA teams are "three deep" in other words, there are three groups of 62, 68 or 72 in a team and they rotate to be on stand-by. Its members include doctors, structural engineers, riggers, technical information specialists, hazardous materials technicians, rescue specialist technicians and communication specialists.
A Task Force can be deployed as a type I USAR team or a type III USAR team. A type I team is a full task force team with 72 members and a full cache of equipment and supplies to self-sustain for up to 72 hours. A Type III USAR team is utilized for fast response and rapid reconnaissance, search and rescue, and consists of a smaller cache and 34 members from different disciplines: medical, technical search, rescue, K-9, structural specialist, communications and others.
Q. Why are the USAR team's referred to as task forces?
A. Because a task force is a group made up of specially trained responders who each have their own technical field of expertise. A task force is self-contained and assigned to do a specific mission.
Q. How is a Task Force organized?
A. A USAR team consists of seven components: Command, Search, Rescue, Medical, HazMat, Planning, and Logistics. A manager coordinates each of the components; the task force leader coordinates the team.