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November 13, 2012 > Urban Search & Rescue Team finishes first in Urban Shield Exercise

Urban Search & Rescue Team finishes first in Urban Shield Exercise

Submitted By Aisha Knowles

On Monday, October 29, the Alameda County Fire Department (ACFD) Urban Search and Rescue Team was announced as the First Place recipient of the 2012 Urban Shield Urban Search and Rescue Competition during the Urban Shield Awards Banquet at the Oakland Marriott.

Urban Shield is the largest annual Department of Homeland Security exercise in the United States. This year twelve Urban Search and Rescue teams from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area were presented with a variety of challenging scenarios that reflect the reality of operating in an "all-risk" environment. Urban Shield is a test of response readiness capabilities and is a performance-based training and exercise program involving local, state, and federal first responders in addition to personnel from public works and emergency medical services along with Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members.

The event provides an objective assessment of a response team's capabilities so that strengths and areas for improvement can be identified. "While promoted as a competition, the real benefit to participants is the opportunity to bolster preparedness and validate the benefits of such capabilities to the communities they serve," said Rob Schnepp, ACFD Division Chief of Special Operations.

Led by Urban Search and Rescue Task Force Leader, Captain Jim Call, the ACFD Urban Search and Rescue Team won the competition, outscoring 11 other teams from around the Bay Area. Given the level of training and experience in and around the region, this is a significant accomplishment for the 10-member team. Additionally, the ACFD Urban Search and Rescue Team won the competition in 2011, becoming the only team in event history to be repeat First Place recipients.

The members of the First Place 2012 ACFD Urban Search and Rescue Team are:
Task Force Leader Captain Jim Call
Captain Tom Pappas
Captain Clare Takhar
Engineer Dean Lundstrom
Engineer Brandon Franco
Firefighter Paige Bowie
Firefighter Anthony McAdams
Firefighter Carl Denyer
Firefighter Garrett Brown
Firefighter Brian Ferreira

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