Mission of the Tennessee Task-Force Force 1 Office: To maintain financial responsibility of federal funding and training, and to prepare the Memphis metropolitan area responders for local and national response as an Urban Search and Rescue Team.
In 1989, in response to several national disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) developed the National Urban Search and Rescue (US + R) Response System. The National US + R Response System concept was further developed in 1991 and organized into 25 national task forces. In 1999, the US + R system grew to 27 with the addition of MOTF1 and OHTF1. The following year, the Incident Support Team (IST) was formally established into three alternating teams: red, white, and blue. These teams were selected and created through an official member-selection process. In 2001, the US + R task force increased with the addition of TXTF1. Today there are 28 task forces in the US + R Response System, and the 70-member task force structure is the standard for all task forces.
Tennessee Task Force 1 (TNTF1) is one of 28 national Urban Search and Rescue Teams sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. TNTF1 is fully funded by the Department of Homeland Security, sponsored by the City of Memphis, and managed by the City of Memphis Fire Department. The task force can deploy as a Type One or Type Three team which utilizes trained personnel who serve in roles that include task force leaders, planning, technical information, communications, safety, canine and technical search, rescue, medical staff (which include doctors, paramedics and nurses), heavy equipment operators, structural engineers, logistics, and hazardous materials specialists.
Personnel are trained to conduct search and rescue efforts at structural collapses that could occur in any situation, but they target disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and Weapons of Mass Destruction terrorist attacks. The task force is designed to be self sustaining for 72 hours after reaching the location assigned by FEMA. The team trains year round in order to maintain a maximum level of preparedness.
Tennessee Task Force 1 has been deployed on fifteen disasters over the past ten years and can be deployed within two hours of notification. This team continues to lead the way for other task forces around the nation in canine technical search.