The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, based out of College Station, has been selected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to develop curriculum for nearly 6,000 search and rescue experts for the next five years. The $5.9 million contract will allow TEEX members to prepare instruction that will be relayed to teams across the United States.

For the past five years, the FEMA has used urban search and rescue curriculum created by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service to train those with the National US&R Response System. This month, a new five-year contract was signed, under which TEEX will create material for 28 FEMA-sanctioned teams comprised of 5,800 men and women.

"As a designated 'center of excellence' and leader in search and rescue training, TEEX has experience and expertise in curriculum development, as well as the associated training and exercises, that are combined with realistic, state-of-the-art facilities such as Disaster City," said Paul Gunnels, rescue program director with A&M Engineering Extension Service, in a press release from TEEX. "We are pleased to provide training support for the FEMA [urban search and rescue] teams in the life-saving work they do."

Gunnels said actual instructors who implement the training will be FEMA employees hired by TEEX at relevant locations across the nation. While some FEMA-sanctioned search and rescue teams will travel to College Station to train on site at Disaster City, many will complete coursework in their own regions.

"This puts TEEX in a position to help coordinate US&R training throughout the nation," he said.

Members of the National US&R Response System work under a variety of specialties and responsibilities. TEEX must continue to provide curriculum for safety officers, logistics specialists, K-9 specialists, technical search specialists and 14 other professions under the US&R umbrella.

"The Texas A&M System is proud of all the training that takes place at Brayton Fire Training Field, Disaster City, and all of the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service facilities," said Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp in the TEEX press release. "I believe there is no better place in the nation to train all of FEMA's Urban Search and Rescue teams."

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