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Mayor's Office Heading City Letter Head

January 4, 2002
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Chief Mike Spadt, Fire Department, 441-8350

Nebraska Task Force One Will Head to Olympics

Nebraska Task Force One, the Urban Search and Rescue Team based at the Lincoln Fire Department, is headed to Salt Lake City, Utah in February to serve as emergency responders if needed at the 2002 Winter Olympics. The team will leave February 10th and return the 17th. All expenses will be covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

"This team performed admirably when it was deployed to the New York City last year," said Mayor Don Wesely. "We can be very proud that this team of highly trained professionals is based here in our Capital City."

Fire Chief Mike Spadt, who will remain in Lincoln, said team members will participate in training exercises during their week in Salt Lake City. They will be led by Deputy Fire Chief Dean Staberg. The local unit has 70 members, including 60 members of the Fire Department as well as physicians, structural engineers and K-9 handlers. Although the individuals on the team vary, Spadt said many of those who assisted in New York City September 24th through October 1st will be going to Salt Lake City.

"This is another outstanding opportunity for the team and the Fire Department," said Chief Spadt. "We certainly hope we aren't called on to use our skills, but if an incident happens, we'll be ready, and we'll be there."

Nebraska Task Force One, formed by the Lincoln Fire Department in 1991, is one of 28 in the country that make up the Urban Search and Rescue Team and one of only six in the nation the to be designated as a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Task Force. FEMA will deploy all six WMD Task Forces to Salt Lake City for the training and stand-by duty.

Salt Lake City will host the 2002 Winter Olympics from February 8th through 24th.

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