On Thursday, May 26, 2022, the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) conducted a full-scale disaster drill, known as the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Mobilization Exercise (MOBEX), involving members of the Department’s USA-2/CA-TF2 USAR team at the Del Valle Training Center in Castaic.
When natural disasters occur within the borders of the United States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has 28 USAR teams and three Incident Support Teams (IST) located throughout the nation to respond. LACoFD’s CA-TF2 is one of the 28 teams that can be assigned to disasters domestically when requested.
Additionally, members of CA-TF2 are also part of the team designated as USA-2 which is one of only two teams within the United States that can be requested for international deployment; the other team, known as USA-1, is located in Virginia.
Last week’s MOBEX training gave USA-2 the opportunity to demonstrate and evaluate the skills its team members perform during international deployments when working for the federal Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA).
USA-2 must maintain technical skills and abilities, defined as high-risk and low-frequency, to keep its professional certifications and remain a participant in the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG). INSARAG is a network of disaster-responding countries and organizations dedicated to urban search and rescue and operational field coordination.
“With the threat of COVID subsiding, training is occurring all over the globe,” said Fire Captain Kenneth Lee. “Exercises of this magnitude happen annually as long as our Department’s operational mission of protecting life, environment, and property continues to be served.”