FEMA Personnel & Rescue Teams Honored By President Obama for Their 'Support of Haiti' Responses

Release Number: HQ-10-037

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel and members of FEMA-trained Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams from California, Florida, New York, and Virginia today joined other personnel and teams involved in the United States response to Haiti for a Rose Garden ceremony with President Obama. The President thanked all who participated in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-led effort.

Under the direction of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), FEMA communications personnel from Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT), and a Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) team, as well as support from FEMA external affairs, were activated to support the Haiti response. In addition, USAR teams totaling more than 500 personnel deployed to the country. These teams included the California Task Force 2 from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Florida Task Force 1 from the Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue Department, Florida Task Force 2 from the City of Miami Fire Department, New York Task Force 1 from the New York City Office of Emergency Management, Virginia Task Force 1 from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, and Virginia Task Force 2 from the Virginia Beach Fire Department. The teams joined an international effort of more than 40 search and rescue teams that rescued at least 135 individuals.

Click Here to watch a video of Administrator Fugate and Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of USAID, touring the USAR Command Post at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti with Chief Dave Downey of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department.

FEMA has cooperative agreements with 28 USAR teams throughout the country, including international teams that have direct cooperative agreements with USAID. A USAR team is made up of about 72 multi-faceted, cross-trained personnel who serve in six major functional areas, including search, rescue, medical, hazardous materials, logistics and planning.

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FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.