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Mayor Bloomberg Recognizes Joint Fdny/nypd Urban Search & Rescue Team That Saved Lives In Haiti

January 26, 2010

Urban Search & Rescue Team Deployed to Haiti for Week-long Rescue Mission

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today recognized New York Task Force One for their life-saving work in Haiti. The task force is the City's Federal Emergency Management Agency-sponsored (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue team composed of specially-trained personnel from the New York City Fire and Police Departments. The Mayor awarded each team member a certificate of recognition to thank them for their service. The Mayor was joined by Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano, Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph F. Bruno, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Deputy Administrator Richard Serino, Council Members Dr. Mathieu Eugene and Jumaane D. Williams, and Carine Jocelyn, Executive Director of Diaspora Community Services.

"We are glad to have the members of our Urban Search & Rescue Team, who worked on the frontlines of the global rescue effort in Haiti, back home, safe and sound," said Mayor Bloomberg. "There's an awful lot of work ahead in Haiti, and an awful lot of mourning, but today, we thought it was important to recognize the members of Task Force One, who've made us proud once again."

"The entire team deserves our gratitude and admiration for the heroic work they did in Haiti under extremely difficult circumstances, and we are enormously proud of what they accomplished on this mission," said Commissioner Cassano. "While highly skilled and experienced in this type of dangerous work, the challenges facing them in the aftermath of this devastating earthquake were particularly daunting - yet they successfully rescued six people, including three children."

"The remarkable photo of young Kiki, with arms outstretched, pulled from the rubble of Port-au-Prince, captured the hope that New York's Finest and Bravest gave Haiti and the world," said Commissioner Kelly. "New York's team delivered life at the end of the tunnel."

"The team effort displayed by New York Task Force One in Haiti reminds us why we call them the Bravest and Finest," said Commissioner Bruno. "Training together and working together has prepared this team to be effective any where they are needed, and we are proud of the heroic work they did on their first international deployment."

The certificate presented to each team member reads:

"For your selfless and heroic service in Haiti to those affected by the terrible earthquake.  In dedicating your time, training, and skill to New York Task Force One, and in committing yourself to help wherever tragedy strikes, you truly represent the very best of our City's spirit of compassion and community. On behalf of all New Yorkers, we are grateful for your safe return and thank you for a job well done."  

The team members conducted six rescues, including their first rescue within hours of arriving in Haiti. The team is trained in the use of specialized equipment including listening devices that can detect a heart beat, motion detection devices that can detect the smallest movements, and thermal imaging cameras and search cameras for use in confined spaces. Eighty members of New York Task Force One, trained to respond to catastrophic events involving the collapse of heavy steel and concrete, spent one week in Haiti. New York Task Force One is managed by the Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

Under the direction of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), six Urban Search and Rescue Teams from the United States were deployed to Haiti. These teams were part of an international force of over 40 search and rescue teams from around the world comprised of over 1,700 first responders. The international force has rescued 132 individuals, with 47 of these rescues being made by U.S. Search and Rescue teams.

Media Contact

Stu Loeser / Jason Post
(212) 788-2958

Media Contact

Chris Gilbride (OEM)
(718) 422-4888