Some 28 areas around the nation maintain “urban search and rescue” teams that help deal with disasters. But where should the teams keep the equipment they need? A dispute has erupted in one of the sites, Seattle. Now, items like radio gear, generators, hazardous-material suits and high-tech cameras for locating survivors in collapsed buildings are kept in a South Seattle fire station, the Seattle Times reports.
County-level officials want to consolidate it with similar items in Tacoma and move it all to a suburban warehouse. Fire fighters and politicians say the equipment should remain in the state’s largest city. But the chief of another city, Kent, says “Just because you’re biggest does not mean you’re correct…Everyone would like to have this stuff in their back yard, but it isn’t intended as a back-pocket item for any individual jurisdiction.”
Washington state’s 62-member Urban Search and Rescue Task Force was sent to Oklahoma City after the federal building was bombed in 1995 and to New York City after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.