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Search And Rescue Response To The Japan Earthquake And Tsunami
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On March 11th at 2:46 PM an 8.9 magnitude earthquake occurred about 80 miles East of Sendai Japan. When this occurred, at a depth of about 20 miles, a Tsunami was generated that devastated the coast of Japan. The effects of this wave will be felt for many years to come. A call went out to the world and the response was immediate. Within 48 hours 13 countries had responded with highly trained personnel, equipment and experienced emergency teams. The United States deployed two of their best, the CA- TF2 ( California Task Force 2) and the VA-TF1 ( Virginia Task Force 1) both highly trained FEMA resources. The USS Ronald Regan aircraft carrier was tasked to this area as well.

After arrival and a bit of recovery from the long trip to Misawa Air Force Base in Northern Japan, the teams began their work. About half the team was dispatched to Ofunato city to begin search operations and implement a hasty search of the affected area. The remainder of the team remained at Misawa AFB to assist with search operations and planning. On the morning of March 14th the work began in earnest. Teams were deployed to their search areas and completed hasty searches of as much territory as possible given the devastation and conditions. It rained Tuesday and snowed all night which turned out to be a mixed blessing as the dogs work well in the cold and were able to continue their searching well without worry of overheating.

A typical deployment was for two teams to cover an area each searching individually. Detailed searches were not done only hasty searches of the area so that maximum coverage could be done. Alerts were logged for further investigation by human search teams. This allowed for the maximum coverage in the time available.

These teams are ready to be deployed at a moment's notice and flown to remote areas of the world to assist in some horrible conditions. To get ready for this takes constant training for both the dogs and the searchers. Becoming a Search and Rescue team is no small commitment and we need to thank these teams from the bottom of our hearts for the work that they do to beat the ready for deployment.

Throughout the United States, and around the world there is a massive network of volunteers that are constantly training to provide Search and Rescue services when they are needed. New York State, where I live, has the NYSFEDSAR( The New York State Federation of Search and Rescue Teams). This federation is a group of dedicated professional volunteers that are ready to search for those lost or missing in New York. My team, Massasauga Search and Rescue covers the Rochester NY and surrounding areas but have been deployed throughout the state as needed. Should you wish to make a donation to any of the teams or the Federation please do so and help us out. Training and Equipment are expensive and any assistance is greatly appreciated.


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