Known nationwide as Masters of Disaster, Oklahoma will soon have a statewide search and rescue team just in time for tornado season.
Task Force One, made possible by money from the US Department of Homeland Security, is nearly complete and expected to be in operation in March.
The team has 210 members, 105 each from Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The teams will work under one command structure, whichever team is closest to the disaster will deploy first.
Oklahoma Task Force One is one of less than 30 FEMA Urban Search and Rescue teams that exist in the country. They specialize in search and rescue operations during disasters. Task Force One have specialized equipment designed to perform breaching and breaking of concrete and heavy steel, state of the art search equipment including both visual and acoustical devices, medical equipment and K-9 search teams to name a few.
The team is comprised of emergency managers and planners, physicians and paramedics and includes specialists in the fields of structural engineering, heavy rigging, collapse rescue, logistics, hazardous materials, communications, canine and technical search.
The neighboring Missouri unit performed search and rescue activities at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, made two deployments to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2004 and several other events throughout the United States.