Jeffco first responders tackle Hurricane Ida

Local search and rescue team deploys to help out in Gulf Coast

Bob Wooley
bwooley@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 9/10/21

Members of Colorado’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Force One (CO TF-1) were activated Aug. 27 for an Aug. 28 deployment to Lafayette, Louisiana.  The 45 task force members and 3 incident support …

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Jeffco first responders tackle Hurricane Ida

Local search and rescue team deploys to help out in Gulf Coast

Posted

Members of Colorado’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Force One (CO TF-1) were activated Aug. 27 for an Aug. 28 deployment to Lafayette, Louisiana. 

The 45 task force members and 3 incident support team members, hailing from 14 Colorado fire agencies, have been providing search and rescue efforts, conducting searches of structures and doing damage assessments in the wake of Hurricane Ida. The team is working in close proximity to where they deployed 16 years ago for Hurricane Katrina. 

CO TF-1 drove through the night to reach their Gulf Coast destination. 

After working two days in Lafayette, the team was reassigned to Grand Isle, Louisiana, a barrier island extremely hard-hit by the hurricane. 

According to Rod Tyus, CO TF-1 Program Manager and West Metro Fire Captain, West Metro Fire Rescue is a sponsoring agency for CO TF-1, which is one of 28 FEMA-directed (Federal Emergency Management Agency) teams across the country.

Tyus, a veteran of almost 39 years with West Metro, goes back nearly 30 years with CO TF-1. He said volunteers in the group are specialists with a wide range of skills. There are 19 position classifications with jobs in planning, logistics, rescue, search, communications, medical and hazmat.

Since its inception, CO-TF-1 has been deployed outside the state more than 20 times. Aside from hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, the task force has worked on high-profile incidents like the Oklahoma City Bombing and the 2003 Space Shuttle explosion. The most notable deployment for the team was being called upon to do search and rescue at the World Trade Center site after 9/11/2001. CO TF-1 has also been deployed six times within the state since 1997.

Funding for the task force is provided by FEMA. It covers day-to-day costs like administrative staff salaries, facilities lease and maintenance, training, and equipment purchase and maintenance. It also covers personnel costs, travel costs, and other operational expenses.

Deployments typically last 14 days, Tyus said, but may be extended if necessary.

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