Urban Search and Rescue Florida Task Force 1

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Urban Search and Rescue Florida Task Force 1 (FL-TF1) is a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force based in Miami-Dade County, Florida and sponsored by the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department.[1] The mission of FL-TF1 is to respond to natural and man-made disasters to provide search and rescue as well as both medical and communications support.[2]

As with all FEMA Task Forces, FL-TF1 is trained in physical search and rescue in damaged or collapsed structures as well as in areas that have sustained significant flooding. Additionally the task force specializes in providing medical care at the scene of a disaster for trapped victims.[3] FL-TF1 is also specifically trained in satellite communication systems that can be used in areas where normal communication infrastructure has been damaged.

Once notified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the team has a six-hour window to mobilize 70 team members to report to a prearranged departure point. FL-TF1 is composed mostly of personnel from the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department but other outside specialists are brought in as needed. In addition, FL-TF1 has nine FEMA certified canine teams, each composed of a handler and a search dog.[4]


In the early 1980s two fire departments, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department out of Fairfax County, Virginia worked together under an agreement with the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance to provide international search and rescue assistance in times of disaster.[4] Starting in 1991, FEMA incorporated a USAR team into its federal response plan. These 20+ teams that would later become the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces were chosen throughout the country based on geographic location with local public safety departments as sponsoring agencies.[4]


Since its creation in the 1980s, FL-TF1 has responded to a wide range of disasters around the world.[5]


Weather disasters[edit]

Year Event Location
1988 Hurricane Gilbert Jamaica
1989 Hurricane Hugo Eastern Caribbean
1992 Hurricane Andrew Miami
1995 Hurricane Luis Caribbean
1995 Hurricane Marilyn Caribbean
1995 Hurricane Opal North Florida
2000 Flood Mozambique
2000 Hurricane Keith Belize
2004 Hurricane Charley Charlotte County, Florida
2005 Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, Louisiana
2008 Hurricane Gustav Texas
2008 Hurricane Ike Miami-Dade County, Florida
2017 Hurricane Irma Florida Keys
2017 Hurricane Harvey Texas
2017 Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico
2018 Hurricane Florence South Carolina
2018 Hurricane Michael Florida Panhandle
2019 Hurricane Dorian Puerto Rico,Florida & the Bahamas
2020 Hurricane Florence South Carolina
2021 Hurricane Ida Mississippi

Building explosions[edit]

Airplane crashes[edit]

Communications support[edit]

  • 1989 - Romania
  • 1991 - Northern Iraq & Turkey
  • 1994 - Rwanda
  • 1994 - Haiti
  • 1995 - Montserrat
  • 1995 - Sierra Leone
  • 1996 - Bosnia
  • 1998 - Nairobi, Kenya

Building collapse[edit]

  • 2007 - Barbados
  • 2021 - Miami


  1. ^ "Task Force Locations". FEMA. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  2. ^ "USAR Mission". Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  3. ^ "USAR Capabilities". Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "History". Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  5. ^ "USAR Responses". Miami-Dade Fire REscue. Retrieved 30 January 2015.