Michigan Task Force 1

MI-TF1, short for Michigan Task Force One, is Michigan’s urban search and rescue team who is called upon for major disasters or incidents that exceed the capabilities of local or regional emergency response teams. Deployable both inside and outside of the state, MI-TF1 is available to respond to local, state, or federal natural or man-made disasters including structural collapse, flood or swiftwater rescue, or wide area search and rescue.

At our core, we are built as a USAR Type III task force made up of 35 specialized members able to conduct self-sufficient, around-the-clock search and rescue operations in 12-hour shifts. Furthermore, the task force coordinates multiple, regional strike teams and “mission ready packages” available for immediate response to supplement local or regional emergency response teams with specialized equipment and personnel.

Our mission ready packages include:

  • Search, Logistics Support
  • Medical Support
  • Structures Specialist
  • Technical Rescue
  • Swiftwater/Flood Search and Rescue
  • Heavy Equipment and Rigging
  • Confined Space
  • Rope Rescue
  • Trench Rescue
  • Building Collapse
  • Tower Rescue
  • Hazardous Materials



Michigan Task Force 1 members hone mission critical skills during the team’s annual Operational Readiness Exercise at Camp Grayling, May 15-18.

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MI-TF1 Teams

Task Force Image

The Urban Search And Rescue (USAR) response system is designed to provide supervision and control of essential functions in incidents where technical rescue expertise and equipment are required for safe and effective rescue operations. USAR incidents can be caused by a variety of events such as a tornado or terrorist incident that cause widespread damage to a variety of structures and entrap hundreds of people. Other examples of USAR events can range from mass transportation accidents with multiple victims to single-site events such as a trench cave-in or confined space rescue involving only one or two victims. USAR operations are unique in that specialized training and equipment are required to mitigate the incident in the safest and most efficient manner possible.

The USAR System is based on a modular component concept and consists of the following:

• 1 USAR Task Force
• 3 USAR Strike Teams
• 2 Search Teams
• 1 Incident Support / Advance Team

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A Michigan Urban Search and Rescue Task Force (MI-TF1) response is comprised of 36 people specially trained and equipped for large or complex Urban Search and Rescue operations. The multi-disciplinary organization provides five functional elements that include Supervision, Search, Rescue, Medical, and Logistics. The USAR Task Force is designed to work 12 hour operational periods and is totally self-sufficient for the first 72 hours. Transportation and logistical support is provided by the task force and may need to be supported by the requesting agency.

A task force is comprised of different positions and consists of the following:

• 1 Task Force Leader
• 1 Safety Officer
• 1 Planning Team Manager
• 1 Communications Specialist
• 1 Technical Information Specialist
• 1 Search Team Manager
• 2 Canine Search specialists
• 2 Technical Search Specialists
• 1 Rescue Team Manager

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A USAR Strike Team is comprised of 14 people specially trained and equipped for Heavy Floor Construction, Pre-Cast Concrete Construction, Steel Frame Construction, high angle rope rescue (including highline systems), confined space rescue (permit required), and mass transportation rescue. Strike teams respond through the use of specially trained on-duty fire/rescue personnel stationed in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties. This provides for an immediate (non-delayed) search and rescue response. USAR Strike Teams respond with and work under the direction of the USAR Incident Support / Advance Team.

A strike team is comprised of different positions and consists of the following:

• 2 Strike Team Squad Officers
• 10 Rescue Specialists
• 1 Medical Specialist
• 1 Logistics Specialist

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A USAR Search Team is comprised of 4 specialists trained and equipped to locate victims in collapsed buildings and other urban environments. A search team response includes both canine and technical (electronic) search capabilities. USAR Search Teams respond with and work under the direction of the Incident Support / Advance Team.

A search team is comprised of different positions and consists of the following:

• 1 Search Team Manager
• 2 Canine Search Specialists
• 2 Technical Search Specialists

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The Incident Support/ Advance Team provides the initial effort to establish search and rescue management and support and to prepare for the arrival of the USAR task force at a disaster site. The IS/AT provides state and local officials with technical assistance, in the acquisition and utilization of search and rescue resources, through advice, incident command assistance, logistic support, management and coordination of USAR resources.

The USAR Incident Support / Advance team is trained and equipped to help local officials with the following:

• Gather search and rescue assessment information
• Provide State and/or local officials with technical assistance and advice
• Recommend activation of USAR task forces or other ESF #9 resource
• Determine the financial obligations for the USAR resources
• Recommend appropriate mitigation measures for USAR operations
• Identify the support needs of the USAR Task Force
• Make preparations for incoming USAR resources
• Provide management and coordination of USAR resources
• Provide a mechanism for resupply of important tools, supplies, and equipment for the USAR Task Force

MI-TF1 sponsoring agency


MI-MABAS functions as the sponsoring agency for MI-TF1 to provide the FEMA USAR Type III Task Force capability statewide. As the sponsoring agency, MI-MABAS provides administrative and financial oversight of the MI-TF1. MI-MABAS also serves as the liaison with Michigan State Police – Emergency Management Homeland Security Division (MSP EMHSD) for matters involving other special operations of the fire service in Michigan, as well as MI-TF1.