MN-TF1 is made up of highly trained firefighters, police officers and paramedics who perform in a wide variety of disciplines. These disciplines include: Search Specialists, Heavy Rescue Specialists, Haz-Mat Specialists, Medical Specialists, Heavy Riggers and Structural Engineers. MN-TF1 draws these specialists from several public safety organizations including:
- Minneapolis Fire Department
- Dakota County Special Operations Team
- Edina Fire Department
- Rochester Fire Department
- St. Paul Fire Department
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) was required to develop a state strategy to identify gaps in the state’s emergency operations plan when responding to an act of terrorism. Through this process, it identified that Minnesota has been challenged for many years on how best to respond to a major building collapse within our state.
The initial response to a collapse structure is the primary responsibility of local government with assistance from state and federal government. In Minnesota, the ability of local and state government to respond to and manage a major multi–level structural collapse is limited. Assistance from a FEMA USAR Team is at least 24 hours away.
As a result of those meetings, the Minneapolis Fire Department, Edina Fire Department, Dakota County Special Operations Team, St. Paul Fire Department and the Rochester Fire Department were identified as the primary sponsoring agencies.
The Task Force has a full compliment of specialized equipment, which includes rescue trucks and trailers, various metal and concrete saws, pneumatic tools (jack hammers, air bags and air shores), hydraulic tools, search cameras, hazardous materials monitors, etc.
Each member of the team is trained to the level of collapse structure rescue technician. Collapse structure rescue technician training is a rigorous three–week course taught by an accredited institution with FEMA certified instructors. In addition to the collapse structure rescue technician training, each member is required to be trained as a first responder or EMT and to have attended or to be certified in the following classes, which are requirements within National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards 1006 and 1670:
- Minnesota Incident Management System (MIMS)
- Introduction to Technical Rescue
- Confined Space Technician
- Trench Rescue Technician
- Rope Rescue Technician
- FEMA-USAR Crush Victim Management
The success of this program has already been felt throughout the state when members of the MN-TF1 responded to, among other incidents, the Interstate 35W bridge collapse on August 1, 2007.
If you are in need of a team to respond to an emergency, call the Minnesota Duty Officer toll free at 1-800-422-0798 or 651-649-5451.