During the Urban Shield Exercise, fire agencies within the Metro-Boston Homeland Security Region will be evaluated on their skills and abilities related to Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), including:

Building Collapse

•    Exterior and Interior Shoring-
•    The participants will lead with the engineered shoring (struts) backed up with wood shoring just as in a response to a real incident.
•    As the shoring proceeds, making the area safe, the Search and Rescue Specialists will proceed with their operations.

Concrete Breaching – Breaking- Lifting

•    Concrete obstacles will be breached and removed to reach victims.  This would include both vertical and horizontal breaches.

Metal Cutting and Burning

•    Metal obstacles will need to be breached as well.  This could consist of sheet metal, large appliances (washing machine, refrigerator, vending machine, etc).


Performing the basic rescue core competencies is paramount to the success of any major incident.  Successful outcomes of emergency/disaster scenes are dependent upon the performance and capabilities of an organized Technical Rescue Unit.  The Fire Branch scenarios will enable regional Rescue Teams to exercise their core competencies, as well as test the ability of mutual aid rescue teams to mitigate multiple rescue situations.

Fire participants will work in (3) areas including, Building Collapse,(Exterior-Interior Shoring), Rubble Pile Search, and Confined Space Rescue.  Fire Rescue Teams will be evaluated on their ability to size-up the victim and hazard situation, establish visible command and control, mitigate general scene hazards, make the rescue area safe, assign shoring and extrication assignments, and patient packaging and removal techniques/

Rating dimensions will include leadership, decision making during critical incident, teamwork, problem solving ability, communication, safety, use of resources and equipment, patient rescue and care, and overall command and control.  All teams will follow the general requirements and protective systems regulations found in OSHA CFR 1926 Subpart P, Excavations., CFR 1910 120 and applicable NFPA Rescue Standards, and will wear  appropriate PPE during the exercise.