News from: The Oakland Fire Department
October 20, 2023
Oakland Fire Department Awarded $1.2 Million Grant

The Oakland Fire Department has been awarded a FEMA / Department of Homeland Security grant that will be instrumental in supporting ongoing disaster response and rescue operation efforts. The total amount of the grant is $1,263,456, and the funds will be utilized by the California Task Force Four Urban Search & Rescue Team, which is based in Oakland.

The National Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Response System grant program provides funding to ensure adequate management, training, vehicle and equipment procurement, and storage and maintenance for the 28 national task forces. These teams are staffed and equipped to assist state and local governments, tribes, and territories to conduct around-the-clock search-and rescue operations, following a Presidentially declared major disaster or emergency under the Stafford Act. In the event of natural or man-made disasters, these task forces lead the U.S. response, conducting mass search and rescue operations and assisting in stabilizing and restoring community lifelines.

“This week marks the anniversaries of both the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake and the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire, two significant events that devastated our local community, tragically claimed the lives of both residents and first responders, and reshaped the culture and mindset of the Oakland Fire Department and others first responders across the state,” said Interim Fire Chief Damon Covington. “This grant award represents not only a significant financial boost but also a recognition of our dedication to safeguarding our community and having the tools and training to respond effectively to disasters.”

This year marks nearly 30 years of the Oakland Fire Department proudly serving as the Sponsoring Agency for USAR California-Task Force Four. This task force system was borne out of the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. The members of the rescue squad at Station 1 were the first responders to the Cypress Structure collapse. Their efforts, and those of our local politicians, were the beginnings of this Federal Response Program.

More information on USAR California Task Force 4:

“A more resilient Oakland has risen from the rubble and ashes of the Loma Prieta Earthquake and Oakland Hills firestorm. A key lesson we learned from these tragedies was the importance of collaborating with local, state, and federal partners before disaster strikes,” said Mayor Sheng Thao. “This grant will strengthen Oakland’s ability to respond to disasters in the Town while ensuring we maintain a rapid response team that deploys anywhere in the world when other communities need our help.”

Urban Search and Rescue is considered a “multi-hazard” discipline, as it may be needed for a variety of emergencies or disasters, including earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, storms and tornadoes, floods, dam failures, technological accidents, terrorist activities, and hazardous materials releases. The events may be slow in developing, as in the case of hurricanes, or sudden, as in the case of earthquakes.

Posted in Public Safety.