Virginia Task Force 1 at the scene of an earthquake.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department sponsored Urban Search and Rescue Program, Virginia Task Force-1, will continue providing international urban search and rescue services as part of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) disaster response efforts.

The Program completed an extensive competitive process to obtain a cooperative agreement with BHA that goes into effect December 1, and will last for five years. This continues a formal partnership that has been in place since 1991 and allows the department, and its personnel, to provide emergency response and technical assistance around the world. This partnership is run alongside the urban search and rescue team’s work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a domestic disaster response team.

“I am extremely proud of the men and women of our urban search and rescue team,” said Fire Chief John Butler. “This accomplishment was made possible by their hard work, dedication, and innovation. We are honored to continue our partnership with USAID and provide urban search and rescue services around the world.”

In recent years, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s urban search and rescue team has deployed numerous times in support of USAID’s humanitarian response efforts, including to the Bahamas in 2019 for Hurricane Dorian and Nepal in 2015 for a magnitude 7.8 earthquake.

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