Virginia Fire & Ambulance
Minnesota Task Force Two
Minnesota Task Force Two (MN-TF2) is one of two state Urban Search & Rescue (USAR) teams. Its original inception was in 2017, thanks in part to an AFG grant awarded to the City of Virginia Fire Department. The initial 14-member team was comprised of personnel from Virginia and Duluth Fire Departments. With help from the REACT Center, the Arrowhead Regional USAR members received their initial training in; Structural Collapse Rescue, Rope Rescue 1 & 2, and Trench Rescue.
After our team was up and running we began talking with members of the State Fire Marshal’s Office to start addressing our needs of long-range funding. Working collaboratively with the State Teams Coordinators, the Fire Marshal, and the FSAC board, we secured a one-time funding award that allowed for the expansion of our team. This funding, allowed us to bring the team up to 40 members.
After creating an MOU between the Virginia, Duluth, and MN Air National Guard 148th Fire Departments, and continued efforts between us and the State Fire Marshals office we reached our goal of becoming a state USAR team.
MN-TF2 is a 40-member strong type IV USAR Team. We specialize in structural collapse rescue, Rope Rescue, Trench Rescue, and Confined Space Rescue. Our mission is to provide an initial response to USAR-type events in northern Minnesota and across the state. We are self-sufficient for up to 12 hours and work collaboratively with MN-TF1 and other state and Federal USAR teams.
Our deployment model is based on current Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) standards with a minimum 22-person response when activated through the State Duty Officer. Our goal is to have command staff respond within 15 minutes of the initial call-out, and the bulk of the equipment and team moving within 1 hour of notification.
Since our inception, we have had four activations, through the State Duty Officer. We responded to two trench events, along the Line 3 pipeline, in 2021. We responded to a house explosion in Grand Rapids, in order to provide guidance on safely obtaining evidence from the remnants of the damaged structure. In the spring of 2023, the team was activated for a roof collapse at the Miller Hill Mall in Duluth.
As we look to the future, we will continue to improve our response capabilities and adapt to the ever-changing environment that we respond in. We look forward to training with our regional and state partners, and working with departments in order to help prepare for and respond to USAR-type events.