PFD Urban Search and Rescue:
AZ Task Force One
It is the mission of Arizona Task Force 1 to maintain preparedness for deployment and response to Urban Search and Rescue environments on both a local and national level. Our mission is to save lives by developing, maintaining, deploying, coordinating and supporting Urban Search and Rescue resources. We will work under the direction of an Incident Support Team to locate, provide initial medical treatment and extricate victims of incidents requiring specialized search and rescue operations. Our framework of preparedness, response, mitigation and recovery will be used to address the impacts of all types of disasters.
The Arizona Task Force One (AZ-TF1) has four main groups: Search Team, Rescue Team, Medical Team and Technical Team. The Search Team uses dogs, listening devices, Search-Cams and other technical search equipment to find victims buried under the debris of a disaster. The Rescue Team is skilled in rescue tactics and techniques such as in breaching and extrications, rope rescue operations, confined space rescue, shoring and stabilization. The Medical Team is responsible for all team member medical needs. The Technical Team includes structure specialists such as engineers, hazardous materials specialists, heavy rigging specialists, equipment specialists, communications and logistics specialists.
AZ-TF1 is one of six Task Forces that is Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) certified having received extensive training in responding to incidents involving chemical, biological or radiological agents.
- Northridge earthquake, Los Angeles County, California
- Oklahoma City bombing, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- September 11, 2001 attacks - Deployed to World Trade Center, New York City, New York
- 2002 Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City, Utah - Deployed to a military base on standby in the event of a disaster or attack.
- Debris recovery of Space Shuttle Columbia disaster - February 2003
- Hurricane Katrina - Deployed to Louisiana
- Hurricane Gustav, Galveston, Texas - Staging
AZ-TF1 in New York 2001
The Phoenix Fire Department's Urban Search and Rescue Team (AZ-TF1) returned to Phoenix on Friday, September 28th after spending eight days at the World Trade Center site in New York City.
Sixty-three members of AZ-TF1 arrived at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey on Thursday (9/20), and were transported to New York in the afternoon. Rescue and Recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site were called off that evening due to weather. AZ-TF1 members began their work on Friday morning.
The team was divided into two shifts - a 12-hour day shift and a 12-hour night shift. They were assisting the Fire Department of New York in The Plaza area, which is located between Towers 1 and 2, and buildings 4 and 5. Their work involved cutting with torches and steel work. They also used the search cameras and dogs to help in the recovery of victims. Unfortunately, no victims were found alive.
All of the workers at the World Trade Center site have been making significant progress. Some of the streets have been getting cleared, and several businesses began to re-open, as close as two blocks away from the site.
AZTF members reported that on their way to and from the World Trade Center site, the streets were lined with people holding signs and shouting, "We Love You!" Many celebrities have been lending a hand to the hundreds of workers, as well. Debra Winger, Matthew Modine, Susan Sarandon, Sigourney Weaver, Loretta Swit, Bianca Jagger and more have either stopped by to help serve food to the rescuers, or to just say, "Hi!"
The team members worked hard during their week in New York, but felt it was worth every minute to support their fellow fire and police department brothers and sisters.