IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

An International Search and Rescue Team Joined Miami Search Operations

This is a bright spot for the future of urban search and rescue.

I’ve been wanting to comment on this for a number of days. Evidently, due to the number of missing persons of the Jewish faith, it was approved to ask the Israeli government for assistance by having them send one of their search and rescue teams to the site of the disaster.

I think this is promising for the future because we don’t have enough urban search and rescue teams here in the United States for a large earthquake. There are 28 teams authorized and supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). That may sound like a lot, but not in a major earthquake.

In planning for the allocation of teams in the immediate post-earthquake response, it is one collapsed building and one team that can operate 24/7, working 12 hours on and 12 hours off. This means you can only have 28 collapsed buildings before you run out of teams.

Other nations, such as France, Italy, Iceland, Israel and England, all have these types of rescue groups. Immediately following an earthquake ,the United States government — likely via the State Department, in coordination with FEMA — needs to ask for assistance, since the first 24-48 hours are critical in any rescue operation. Even then, it will take a day, minimum, for a team to assemble and travel internationally — so any delay hinders the possible successful rescue of trapped individuals.

One of my strategies that I planned for while serving as a local emergency management director was to get before media cameras and make the request for international assistance so as to pressure the U.S. government to make these arrangements and to do it quickly.

The United States, like any big city, is used to going it alone and not asking for help. It is in our nature to want to be self-sufficient. We need to ditch that thinking and do what is best for the people we serve.
Eric Holdeman is a nationally known emergency manager. He has worked in emergency management at the federal, state and local government levels. Today he serves as the Director, Center for Regional Disaster Resilience (CRDR), which is part of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER). The focus for his work there is engaging the public and private sectors to work collaboratively on issues of common interest, regionally and cross jurisdictionally.
Special Projects
Sponsored Articles