Urban Search & Rescue Team

The Montgomery County Urban Search and Rescue (MCUS&R) Team falls under the Operations section of Montgomery County Emergency Management. The Team is a county-wide resource for municipalities/departments to utilize for incidents that are more technical in nature.


Montgomery County US&R is able to assist in structural collapse (breaching / breaking, shoring), technical search (visual, acoustic & wide area), heavy lifting, trench rescue, confined space rescue, specialized rope rescue, and flood / swift water incidents.

USAR patch

Training Levels

All US&R members are trained to NFPA 1670 and most are at the NFPA 1006 or FEMA levels. Most members are also technician level in rope, confined space, trench, vehicle/machinery, structural collapse, and water.

Examples of advanced training:

  • FEMA Heavy Rigging Specialist
  • FEMA Structural Collapse Specialist
  • FEMA Technical Search Specialist
  • FEMA Wide Area Search
  • FEMA Medical Specialist
  • FEMA Structure Specialist
  • Type III Planning Manager                
  • Paratech Advanced Structural Collapse
  • Tower Rescue

Team Structure

US&R is composed of local-level emergency responders from municipalities throughout Montgomery County.  We have (1) Task Force Leader, (3) Rescue Squad Officers, and numerous Rescue Specialists. Montgomery County US&R partners with the Montgomery County Hazardous Materials Response Team when specialized atmospheric monitoring equipment is needed.


  • Task Force Leader:                 Joe Dishler        US&R 1
  • Rescue Squad Officer:            **Vacant**         US&R 2
  • Rescue Squad Officer:            Dave Ellick        US&R 3
  • Rescue Squad Officer:            Don Lynch         US&R 4

Command Structure

The US&R Task Force Leader is responsible for managing all Task Force activities during an event, directs/supervises the Rescue Squad Officers (RSO) and works with the HazMat, Medical, and Logistics section leaders. MCUS&R operates within the established command structure of a local incident.

Levels of Response

A municipality or department can request a US&R officer (24/7) to an incident for a consultation or to bring a specialized piece of equipment (example: technical search camera).  If upon arrival it is deemed that more resources are needed, a full team dispatch will be executed.  US&R members will respond to the Montgomery County Fire Academy to staff apparatus while a Task Force Leader or Rescue Squad Officer will respond directly to your incident.  MCUS&R can have 8-12 members on scene within 1 hour.

Reasons to Request US&R

  1. Specialized equipment or skill sets required to safely handle an event. 
  2. To assist on an incident in which you have limited resources
  3. Safety – Technical rescue events are not every day occurrences.  Use our team to fulfill the safety/RIT requirements for your rescue operations.

Equipment Cache

MCUS&R apparatus/equipment are stored at the Montgomery County Fire Academy on three pieces of apparatus: Rescue 20, Collapse 20, and Utility 20. The team also maintains two water rescue boats, stored at Norriton Fire Engine Co., 61A.

Examples of specialized equipment:

(1)          Exothermic Torch kit
(2)          Oxy-Acetylene Torch kit
(1)          Petrogren Torch kit
(2)          Gas powered concrete chain saws
(1)          Hydraulic powered concrete saws and jack hammers kit
(6)          Assorted sized rotary hammers and breakers
(1)          Gas and electric power core drills
(5)          SearchCam 3000 with IR head
(2)          Delsar Seismic/acoustic system
(1)          Confined space communication system
(1)          Heavy rigging/lifting kit
(2)          Paratech Gold Raker kit
(1)          Paratech Gray Trench kit with whalers
(12)        Assorted high pressure air bags with capacity up to 70-ton
(2)          13-ton low pressure air bag
(2)          Tower rescue kit
               Assorted air bags up to 70 tons

Lumber carried on Collapse 20:

  (8)        Trench Finform with 2x12 strongbacks with rope
(18)        2” x 4” x 8’
(32)        2” x 6” x 12’
(16)        2” x 12” x 12’
(18)        4” x 4” x 12’
  (8)        6” x 6” x 12’
(16)        2’x 8‘ x ¾” CDX Plywood