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Fire-Rescue Department

Urban Search And Rescue

Photo of US and R deploying

If you have a major disaster in your community, Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) is on the scene to help. US&R is a rapid deployment team consisting of 70 technical rescue, and incident management specialists.

The San Diego task force is specially trained to assist local agencies throughout the nation in mitigating large scale urban disasters, both natural and man made. Through the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, the City of San Diego coordinates San Diego County's Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Task Force 8.

The San Diego teams' expertise is "confined space search and rescue" where structures have collapsed. San Diego team members have been dispatched to the World Trade Center after Sept. 11, 2001, the Northridge earthquake in 1994, the 1995 Oklahoma City Federal Building Bombing, and several hurricane disaster areas, including when Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana in 2005.

Members of the team come from a large variety of emergency and non-emergency agencies and companies in the greater San Diego County Region:

  • Balboa Naval Hospital San Diego
  • California Dept. of Forestry
  • Carlsbad Fire
  • Chula Vista Fire
  • Coronado Fire
  • El Cajon Fire
  • Encinitas Fire
  • Escondido Fire
  • Montebello Police
  • Oceanside Fire
  • Poway Fire
  • Rancho Santa Fe Fire
  • Santee Fire
  • San Diego City Fire
  • San Marcos Fire
  • San Miguel Fire Protection District
  • San Onofre Fire
  • City of Vista Public Works
  • Vista Fire

The Urban Search and Rescue system was developed in 1990 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in response to several disasters which occurred in the 1980s. The Loma Prieta earthquake, in particular, brought a significant focus on the federal, state and local governments' abilities to respond to such disasters.

The San Diego County US&R team is sponsored by the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).