Test Drive Our New Site! We have some improvements in the works that we're excited for you to experience. Click here to try our new, faster, mobile friendly beta site. We will be maintaining our current version of the site thru the end of 2024, so you can switch back as our improvements continue.
Legislation Quick Search
05/22/2024 01:01 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Home / House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

Subscribe to PaLegis Notifications

Subscribe to receive notifications of new Co-Sponsorship Memos circulated

By Member | By Date | Keyword Search

House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: April 3, 2023 01:10 PM
From: Representative Dan L. Miller and Rep. Natalie Mihalek
To: All House members
Subject: Modernizing Urban Search and Rescue Operations in Western PA
 Last January, all eyes were on Pittsburgh when a heavily trafficked bridge (Fern Hollow) collapsed and fell into a park. By the grace of God, there were no fatalities, but for several hours it was impossible for first responders to know that because there are no Urban Search and Rescue teams in Western PA properly equipped and outfitted to serve as assets in an emergency of this magnitude. Officials who were on-site had to wait for nearly six hours for these assets to arrive from the Philadelphia based PA Task Force (PATF-1). PEMA was notified at 10:51 am of a request for a Canine search dog team, and it wasn’t until 4:15 pm until Canine assistance had made it to the scene to search for entrapped victims.

This is unacceptable. Communities in Western PA should not have to wait hours for urban search and rescue resources to arrive.

That is why this bill is so important.

To be clear, this bill does not reduce any coverage or resources from Eastern PA. It merely requires a creation of a second PA Task Force Urban Search & Rescue team, based in Allegheny County, to assume primary coverage in the west. Both teams would have access to the resources, training, and equipment they need to respond appropriately and quickly when an emergency arises on either side of the Commonwealth.

The need for this is obvious, not because of any failure of any individual or task force, but just because no injured or trapped Pennsylvanian should have to wait hours for a unit to arrive from across the state. We have the capability to do better and to build from our regional strengths.

Please join us in sponsoring this important, life-saving legislation.


View Attachment

Introduced as HB843