Urban Search and Rescue Task Force
Empact Northwest's Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Force is an all-volunteer, non-governmental team that provides specialized rescue and medical services after disasters. This includes locating and extricating victims and providing emergency treatment to those who have been trapped in collapsed structures, or otherwise affected by disaster. The team meets FEMA and UN training and equipment standards, and provides technically specialized response personnel to all who benefit in times of need.
Specialized rescue services are labor intensive and expensive. Maintaining professional standards for qualified rescue specialties requires many hours of training and specialty equipment. Tripling the current number of national USAR resources would not meet the domestic need during the aftermath of mega quakes, super hurricanes or equivalent scale disasters. highly specialized teams who are properly equipped are rare-especially in poor countries who are most vulnerable to disaster.
Because Empact's USAR Task Force is a non governmental entity, we have the autonomy to respond to a wide variety of domestic and international locations. We are staffed with volunteers who are technically competent and can be deployed at a fraction of the cost of career based teams. Our volunteer model certainly has its merits economically, and can be an adjunct resource to to federal teams here at home in addition to providing valuable services in places where federal teams are not deployed.
In addition to immediate response and mitigation, Empact northwest is in a unique position to train and support high risk communities before a disaster strikes. Dollar for dollar, this is the single most effective strategy in saving lives, before future disasters occur. Educating local responders and at risk international communities is key to increasing self sufficiency and rescue capacity. Your support of our members allow us to deliver these vital services, before the next "big one."
Meeting National and International Standards
In addition to attending monthly hands-on drills, team members must also complete regular on line/off line cognitive courses and outside training's. Our internal training programs not only meet the criteria for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), due to our high level of international activity, we also train to the United Nations International Search And Rescue Advisory Group (UN INSARAG) standards. Our team members must have a MINIMUM of the following standards to deploy on our search and rescue missions:
Many of our task force members also maintain current certifications in Confined Space and Trench Rescue training, as well as advanced medical training. Our team members bring over 125 combined years of disaster and technical rescue experience, from Hurricane Katrina, the Indonesian Earthquake and Tsunami in 2004 to the recent 2015 Nepal Earthquake.
Rescue Canine Program
In August of 2015, six search canines and their handler partners were added to the Empact rescue capability. This is an exciting development in the history of our organization, and a critical component of a professional rescue team.In addition to the current new members, Empact Northwest Urban Search and Rescue Team was selected by the Search Dog Foundation to receive four fully trained and supported search and rescue dogs.
The dogs play a vital role in quickly locating survivors of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornado's or floods. The window of survival for trapped disaster victims diminish exponentially by the day. Together with the human partners, they work systematic search grids in the debris until a victim is located.
Disaster Medical Team
Empact Northwest was founded as a medical disaster relief team. True to the origins of the Pacific Northwest and its founding firefighter/paramedics, the members of Empact are used to wearing many hats.
Today, Empact fields a deployable medical unit of up to 14 personnel, consisting of physicians, registered nurses, paramedics, EMT's, and logistical support personnel. Our medical unit meets the WHO requirements for a Type 1 Outpatient Foreign Medical Team (FMT) and specializes in breaking out into lightweight, foot-mobile Rapid Assessment & Triage (RAT) Teams. These specialized teams provide medical surveillance, immediate community assessments, and referrals to larger entities for those in immediate need of advanced care.
Past Medical Projects
Empact embarked on a continuous effort through 2010 and 2011 to send medical relief teams to Haiti, first in a rudimentary field hospital hosted by AMIER HAITI, then effort shifted to staffing support at Project Medishare/Bernard Mevs Hospital. Finally, in late 2011, Empact Northwest designed and delivered Haiti's first EMT education course, graduating 14 EMT's with guaranteed employment from partnering medical facilities.
In 2012, Empact graduated a second class of 20 students. Since then, these graduates have formed the sister organization "Empact Haiti" and continue to deliver medical first responder education in Port Au Prince. In September of 2015, three of Empact Haiti EMT alumni, who are employed as flight EMT's by Haiti Air Ambulance, became the first recognized certified EMT's in Haiti's history.
Empact continued deployments to Haiti through early 2013 and deployed several more medical and educational missions to Africa and Pakistan.
Kelly Melton, Project Leader for Empact's Sierra Leone mission, again returned to Freetown amid the 2014 Ebola epidemic. Together with Philip Bahoy, Kelly assisted in the design and construction for an Ebola treatment center for pregnant women who until then, were deemed too high-risk to receive treatment. The team also delivered critical supplies to outlying clinics before safely returning home. Kelly returned home safely and received several community awards for her bravery and dedication.