Evaluating Florida's urban search and rescue system : its current structure and future direction
DeIorio, John J.
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Since September 12, 2001, The Florida Urban Search and Rescue System (FLUSAR) in Florida has grown from a nascent system to a full-fledged, multi-tiered, statewide search and rescue system. Through an urgent need for Urban Search and Rescue (US and R) capabilities, good planning and a unity of purpose after September 11, 2001, Florida was able to establish a system that is emulated by other states. However, due to a lack of state control, sustainable funding, a strategic plan and policies to protect integral members from professional liability, the system is in jeopardy of ceasing to exist. If this were to occur, Florida could not adequately protect its citizens during emergencies that cause structural collapse. By examining the qualitative information gleaned from the literature review, a survey of state US and R systems, interviews with personnel who were involved with the establishment of FLUSAR, or have a role in other state's US and R systems, and the author's experience with the FLUSAR system with state and local governments, this thesis will also evaluate the present capability of the US and R system within the state of Florida and provide a description of where FLUSAR has been, where it is today and to recommend changes for the future. In order to ensure the highest degree of performance and accountability to the citizens of Florida, including recognizing the real strength of a US and R system is one that is based on the rapid, local and regional response of specially trained US and R teams and task forces from within a state, the author will recommend that the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal establish a \US and R advisory board and \US and R program coordinator and dedicate sufficient funding to support an Advisory Board and US and R program coordinator and that the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal should be the agency in charge of the state US and R system, or FLUSAR.
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