Urban search-and-rescue (US&R) involves the location, rescue (extrication), and initial medical stabilization of victims trapped in confined spaces. Structural collapse is most often the cause of victims being trapped, but victims may also be trapped in transportation accidents, mines and collapsed trenches.
Urban search-and-rescue is considered a "multi-hazard" discipline, as it may be needed for a variety of emergencies or disasters, including hurricanes, storms and tornadoes, floods, dam failures, technological accidents, terrorist activities, and hazardous materials releases. The events may be slow in developing, as in the case of hurricanes, or sudden, as in the case of earthquakes.
A Structures Specialist (StS) performs various structural assessments for a Florida Urban Search & Rescue Task Force during incident operations. The StS reports directly to the Planning Officer but will often be assigned to the Search Team or Rescue Team Manager. The StS may be assigned other duties working directly in support of the IST Structural Unit Leader or as a Technical Liaison to the AHJ (Agency Having Jurisdiction) or some other Agency.
To print out a copy of the US&R Structures Specialist Program, download this PDF here.
Description of Duties
The Structures Specialist is responsible for:
- Assessing the immediate structural condition of the affected area of Task Force operations, which includes identifying structure types, specific damage and structural hazards.
- Recommending the appropriate type and amount of structural hazard mitigation in order to minimize risks on site to task force personnel.
- Cooperating with and assisting other search and rescue resources.
- Monitoring assigned structures for condition changes while rescue and recovery operations are proceeding.
- Assuming an active role in implementing approved structural hazard mitigation as a designer, inspector, and possibly a supervisor.
- Coordinating and communicating the structural related hazard mitigation with IST Structural Unit Leader.
- Accountability, maintenance, and minor repairs for all issued equipment.
- Adhering to all safety procedures.
Position Requirements and Criteria
In addition to the basic US&R System requirements the StS must:
- Have completed the FEMA Structural Specialist Course (StS1), facilitated by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
- Be currently licensed as a Professional Engineer with specialization in structures or equivalent as sanctioned by the Florida Fire Chief´s Association Structures Specialist Working Group.
- Have a minimum of 5 years experience in structural design and analysis to include evaluation of existing structures, field investigation or construction observation/inspection experience.
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