As of 2012, the OSFM is no longer receiving grant funding to support the state’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Force (US&R). Since inception in 2003, many firefighters and fire agencies dedicated time and money to help make the US&R program a success.
In an effort to keep structural collapse and technical rescue capability active in the state, the OSFM worked on various options for the sustainability and management of the US&R program. With input from the program’s participating fire chiefs, the OSFM decided to transition the capability and equipment to local departments that submitted proposals to maintain the equipment, training, and response capability.
This transition was completed in early 2013, and Salem Fire Department, Eugene Fire and EMS, and Clackamas Fire District #1 agreed to continue maintaining the equipment.
Although the OSFM is no longer managing the program as a state-owned asset, any jurisdiction in need of an emergency response of US&R assets can request them through the process currently outlined in the Oregon Fire Service Mobilization Plan.
Many of the fire departments that created and provided services for the state US&R program will continue to provide heavy rescue and search and rescue operations in their communities, and act as a state resource under the Conflagration Act or other emergency declaration. Heavy wall or floor construction rescue, confined space rescue, trench rescue, and high/low angle rescue are typical heavy rescue responses and can generally be managed on a local level. If the incident is determined to be beyond a department’s level of training and equipment, the fire chief or local incident commander may request assistance through the Oregon Emergency Response System (OERS). OERS will notify the OSFM duty officer who then makes appropriate notifications. In the event of an emergency US&R event, the OSFM, in coordination with the State Emergency Coordination Center, will determine the need to activate the ESF #9 support function. The notification and activation process will follow the State Mobilization Plan for notification and activating resources. The level of activation will be based on the needs and magnitude of the event.
The OSFM offers a sincere thanks to the following departments, and individuals in those departments, who were involved in creating the State US&R program: Albany Fire Department, Clackamas Fire District #1, Corvallis Fire Department, Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue, Springfield Fire Department, Portland Fire and Rescue, Eugene Fire Department, Gresham Fire Department, Salem Fire Department, and the Hillsboro Fire Department. We appreciate their past work, dedication, and commitment, to the program and for their continued commitment to maintain their training in order to provide rescue services to Oregon communities.
For more information, contact Mariana Ruiz-Temple at 503-934-8238.