Missouri Task Force 1 prepared for civil unrest in Ferguson
COLUMBIA - Missouri Task Force 1 has rostered a full 80-person team in case there is civil unrest in Ferguson, Mo. and help is needed.
Battalion Chief Gale Blomenkamp said Task Force 1 has not been contacted or asked to roster a team.
"Just like everyone else in the state of Missouri and a lot of places around the country are leaning forward in their preparations, we're preparing for possible civil unrest," Blomenkamp said.
Blomenkamp said there is a small chance the task force would actually be deployed to Ferguson, but that it never hurts to be prepared.
"I think things would have to deteriorate very rapidly, and to a very large scale disaster," Blomenkamp said.
Even though the task force is managed by the Boone County Fire Protection District building, it is not a firefighting squad
"Missouri Task Force 1 is an urban search and rescue task force. It has speciality equipment when it comes to breaking, breaching, and shoring up buildings," "Things that collapse is really the speciality. Being able to go in and search those downed or collapsed buildings for survivors."
Blomenkamp said the task force's services might be called in for support even though they were not needed the first time there was civil unrest.
"There is the possibility and the potentiality that the firefighters and the people in St. Louis play multiple roles within their own organizations, so should they be pulled in to do firefighting tactics and other tasks in the St. Louis area, that leaves them exposed for urban search and rescue capabilities," Blomenkamp said. "We would be the backup for that."
Blomenkamp said the task force will only be called upon if support is requested.
"The locals have to recognize the fact that they have gone beyond their capabilities and that they need more expert help and equipment," Blomenkamp said. "Then they request that through their region, and then through the state, and then it goes federally."
There is no current date for when the grand jury's decision on whether or not to indict a police officer in the killing of Michael Brown will be released.
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