6/17/2005 - HFD: Search & Rescue Training

Hackensack Fire Department
Division of Training
205 State Street
Hackensack, NJ 07601

Search & Rescue Training in West Virginia

June 11, 2005

    Hackensack Fire Department journeyed to Standard, West Virginia, for training. Some of the Special Operations Team Members of the Hackensack Fire Department participated in a joint training session with eight other fire departments to prepare themselves for Search & Rescue activities in a tunnel environment.

    Standard, West Virginia is the home to a Federal Government Training Site that has a large tunnel that goes through a mountain and is used for many different training evolutions. The members of the fire department deployed on a Monday evening and returned Thursday morning in May, from Lakehurst, NJ, for an around the clock training evolution in the tunnel that simulated a terrorist attack in the Lincoln Tunnel.

    One training scenario involved terrorists attacking a tunnel using explosives.  In the scenario, a part of the tunnel collapsed trapping people inside. Nine fire departments had to work together in rescuing the victims. They used many different techniques and tools to accomplish this task and performed the rescue effort in rotating shifts for two days straight. NJ-Task Force One (Urban Search & Rescue Team) coordinated this training evolution in order to prepare nine fire departments in the Northeast part of the State to be able to respond to emergencies that require specialized rescue techniques. NJ-Task Force One has been training these nine departments so they are able to pool their resources and provide an extremely beneficial service to the Northeast part of the State in a timely manner in the event something devastating should occur.

    Hackensack Fire Department was selected as one of the Departments to be part of this response team, which is federally funded through Homeland Security. The response team is part of the Urban Area Search Initiative (UASI) which is sponsored by NJ Task Force One (USAR TEAM) and is being trained to begin operations and work with the NJ State Team in the event of a disaster. This tunnel training prepared some members of the Hackensack Fire Department how to operate in a tunnel environment and perform rescue techniques that would save many lives of trapped victims.

    The other departments that are part of the response team are: North Hudson Regional Fire Department, Jersey City Fire Department, Bayonne Fire Department, Hoboken Fire Department, Newark Fire Department, Elizabeth Fire Department, Morristown Fire Department, and Paterson Fire Department. This training is scheduled to occur again in October of this year and March of 2006.