The Canada Task Force program involves 6 teams across the country who specialize in all-hazards response, including Urban Search and Rescue, and are ready to respond to large-scale disasters such as earthquakes, tornados, and building collapses among other hazards. Like all disciplines in the Canadian Search and Rescue Continuum, Urban Search and Rescue requires extensive training to maintain skills and proficiency.
Preparing for large-scale disasters can be challenging. While the technical skills can be replicated in training environments, the true scale of a large earthquake or tornado response can be difficult to simulate.
In 2019, The Canadian Task Force teams had an opportunity to participate in the United States Department of Homeland Security ‘Operation Unified Response’ exercise outside Butlerville, Indiana. This exercise involved a FEMA Incident Support team, 5 FEMA US&R teams, 6 Canadian HUSAR Teams, 1 state USAR team, 1 Australian USAR team as well as the Tennessee Air National Guard, US Air Force, Civil Air Patrol among others. The exercise took place over a week in June involved over 1600 participants focusing on a simulated large-scale earthquake response.
This presentation will provide an overview of the exercise from a Canadian perspective and provide insight into some of the training that goes into the Urban Search and Rescue discipline.