Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Readiness Areas: Management


Since the early 1990s, Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Forces have been certified, trained, and funded. The federal government funds 28 task forces located in 19 states but there are numerous other individual State & Regional Task forces located across the US. Officials may call out the task force (or forces) in closest proximity to the disaster to help locate and extricate victims from collapsed buildings and structures. Most task forces represent a partnership involving federal, local government, and private sector experts.

The National Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Response System have created a Task Force Self-Evaluation process. This is a program management tool developed to assist the Response System’s analyzing capability and overall improvement of the Response System. The Self-Evaluation facet is a critical component of the System’s overall Readiness Assessment.

Management Readiness is scored based on five specific factors:

1.) Complement of Task Force Administrative Staffing and Resources

The US&R Readiness Cooperative Agreement requires that there be sufficient staff for management and administration of US&R task force day to day activities to accomplish required supervisory, administrative, training, and logistical duties.

2.) Complete Accurate Timely Cooperative Agreement Reports

The US&R Readiness Cooperative Agreement requires a number of one time, recurring, and as required reports with due dates. A task force should review its record over the last 12 months, focusing on the report’s timeliness, completeness and accuracy.

3.) Cooperative Agreement Plans and Memoranda of Agreement

To support a deployment, a task force must have in place a number of plans containing concepts of operation, as well as supporting agreements with a wide variety of activities and agencies (FEMA, state, local, participating, support, and military).

4.)Financial and Accounting Processes and Records

In support of task force day-to-day operations and deployments, Sponsoring Agencies must have financial and accounting systems and written procedures to permit preparation of reports, as well as tracking expenditures to ensure those funds have been properly spent.

5.) Sponsoring Agency Support Functions

Sponsoring Agency support functions play a critical role in assisting task forces in achieving a high state of readiness, by providing the necessary members, as well as efficient systems and processes.

Check out Part 1 of this blog series here: Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Readiness Areas: Logistics Readiness

Check out Part 2 of this blog series here: Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Readiness Areas: Operations Readiness

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