By Chief Wade Watkins
The Urban Search and Rescue Utah Task Force 1 (UT-TF 1) is one of 28 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Urban Search & Rescue task forces in the United States. The task force is based in Salt Lake City and is managed by the Unified Fire Authority. Activation and rapid deployment of the task force is initiated by the State of Utah, or FEMA. The task force is self-sufficient for up to 72 hours and includes physicians, search dogs, heavy rescue technicians, firefighters and paramedics, and structural engineers. The task force manages $6.3 million in specialized vehicles and equipment that is maintained by personnel trained by FEMA.
A great example of a UT-TF 1 team member is K9 Senka, a 5-year-old female Belgian Malinois. Her handler, Craig Orum, found her when she was 13 months old at an animal rescue in Ogden.
As a team, they deploy nationally to disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes. Craig said, “If our dogs were to alert on a possible victim, other team members from UT-TF 1 would help with cameras and listening devices to support the rescue and removal of the victim.”
Senka and Craig are just another example of how teamwork helps when serving the community. Additionally, Senka really enjoyed showing off during Riverton Public Safety Night, as she was able to search out and find multiple residents in her live interactive search training. Please say hi to Senka and Craig at our next Riverton Public Safety Night in 2023!