The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the renewal of partnerships with the Fairfax County (Virginia) Fire and Rescue and Los Angeles County (California) Fire Departments to provide urban search-and-rescue services as part of USAID’s response to disasters overseas.
Through a five-year cooperative agreement with USAID, urban search-and-rescue units from these Departments will be deployable on short notice as part of a USAID Disaster-Assistance Response Team (DART)—the elite group of experts who lead the U.S. Government’s response to large-scale international disasters.
Because first-responders to a disaster have the potential to save the most lives, USAID’s urban search-and-rescue partners play a critical role on the teams that respond to sudden-onset disasters. In recent years, USAID has deployed urban search-and-rescue teams as part of our humanitarian responses to Hurricane Dorian in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in 2019, and to earthquakes in México in 2017 and the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal in 2015.
The United States is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance globally, and USAID responds to an average of 75 disasters in more than 70 countries every year.