Two hope to join rescue task force

Two Columbus firefighters hope to be selected for a special search and rescue task force.

The Columbus Board of Works on Tuesday approved a memorandum of understanding between the City of Columbus and the City of Indianapolis, through the Indianapolis Fire Department, regarding participation in Indiana Task Force 1. Local firefighters Jarrad Mullis and Marcus Gruner are candidates for this task force, said Captain Mike Wilson, spokesman for the Columbus Fire Department.

If selected, they will need to undergo specific training, Columbus Deputy Fire Chief Mike Kutsko said.

“I think it will benefit a great group of people, not just the task force to get great candidates from Columbus, but the Columbus area,” he said. “… They’ve already brought some of that training back and shared it with the Columbus Fire Department.” “

Kutsko said search and rescue tactics could have come into play when rescuing a disabled woman from a residential fire on June 17, for which firefighters and emergency service personnel were awarded medals of valor and courage earlier in the meeting.

Indiana Task Force 1 is part of the National Urban Search &; FEMA Rescue Response System. The task force is ready to respond to any natural or man-made disaster around the clock, managing all risks, from local search and rescue to large-scale national incidents, according to Indianapolis officials.

The team was deployed during September 11, as well as various hurricanes.

The team describes itself as “made up of emergency responders from diverse professional backgrounds across the state.”

“Columbus Fire would be our 34th participating agency,” said Indiana Task Force 1 division chief Tom Neal. “We actually go from Columbus Fire to South Bend, Indiana. So the main concentration of our agencies participants are, of course, in central Indiana, around the surrounding counties of Marion County and the city of Indianapolis.

He said the working group pre-registers a team each month and sends the list to participating agencies in advance, so they know which staff are on the list.

Depending on what a specific situation requires, Indiana Task Force 1 may send a large “Type 1 Heavy Rescue” team or deploy smaller assets, such as Type 3 units.

While the team is a federal resource, it can also serve in a state disaster.

“For example, right now, that meltdown in Surfside, Florida, Florida one and two are federal assets, but they’re being used as a state resource,” Neal said. “And that’s the same as we would be here in the state.” If the state had an emergency requiring search and rescue resources, we could be used as a state resource first, before committing to a federal resource. “

In such a case, they would send an alert to participating team members and agency managers that the team has been activated, so that if these people are on duty, they can be removed from service and their positions. can be filled.

Neal added that neither FEMA nor the task force wants a city to be understaffed, so they will cover the cost of replacing people.

“We’re pretty proud of our fire department, and as you saw here a few moments ago, it’s a pretty professional group,” said Mayor Jim Lienhoop. “So we are happy to share and hope it will improve your organization as well as ours. “

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