Virginia Task Force 1 in New Jersey

Posted 12:58 p.m.

As New Jersey and other states north of us recover from a more devastating blow from Hurricane Sandy than we received, our own first responders are there helping.

Virginia Task Force 1 — Fairfax County’s Urban Search and Rescue Team — was deployed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to Little Ferry, N.J., and participated in water rescues and evacuations Tuesday in an area where a levee broke. VATF-1 worked through the night with one team as well as the military.

This morning, the team was briefed by FEMA and they are in the planning stages for the next 24 hours.  The water has receded in the Little Ferry area and the team is now able to drive through the entire neighborhood with little difficulty. It was anticipated the team would finish with the neighborhood around noon today 

The 80-member team and four canines are doing well and members have been able to get some rest.

The team consists of firefighters, paramedics, search and rescue specialists, structural engineers, physicians, hazardous materials specialists, planning and logistical staff, and canines and handlers. In addition to its regular complement of equipment, the team will also deploy with two inflatable boats, and water rescue specialists.

As the federal sponsoring agency, FEMA pays for all costs and expenses incurred by VATF-1 when members are activated or undergo training. All training, equipment, and personnel costs of VATF-1 are paid for by the federal government on a regular basis, including its new training facility in Lorton. Additionally, when firefighters and members are deployed, there is no loss in emergency response or service to Fairfax County residents, as minimum staffing for all apparatus is continuous for all fire and rescue stations. The training and expertise gained by working with our federal partners in times of local, regional, national and international disasters and emergencies enhances and improves the skill sets of firefighters and paramedics. The skills gained from this partnership provides a direct benefit to county residents by using these skills in making Fairfax County a safer and better place to live and work.

About Fairfax County Emergency Information

Official emergency information about preparedness, response and recovery from Fairfax County Government.

7 responses to “Virginia Task Force 1 in New Jersey”

  1. David McCormick says :

    Thank you to every first responder, whether deployed away from home or maintaining important services to Northern Virginia. We are fortunate to live in such a positive, supportive community. I am delighted to pay taxes to help support your capabilities and effectiveness. Quality does not come cheap. We are blessed to have such capable individuals and teams.

  2. Bill Concerned says :

    I wish our Taxes were lower. Fairfax Co. spends too much!

  3. hlirwin (@hlirwin) says :

    Thank you all for your service to our community and to others in crisis around the globe. You are an excellent example of what makes the United States such a great country.

  4. says :

    Thanks for the email. Another thing for us to be proud of in Fairfax County. Wish them godspeed and safe travel.

  5. Barbara Kreykenbohm says :

    Terrific! We are proud of our teams and we thank each member!

  6. Marty says :

    This is an example of what makes us a community. We should all be proud of our neighbors who are willing to go the extra mile to help those less fortunate.

  7. Ellen Pritchett says :

    Thank you for all that you do. I want to offer my 4br 3 ba home in Sea Colony, Bethany Beach, De to the family of a NYC or NJ or Va First Responder who lost their home in the storm. I know it’s a few hours away, but families could relocate to a fully equipped home, children could enroll in school, and the working spouse could drive down on the weekend. If you know of a family or families that might be interested please email me at
    The home is available until the end of May and they would only have to pay the utilities. I have contacted ResortQuest, Sea Colony and Long and Foster Realtors to see if other owners would be willing to provide their homes as well.