The SD Office of Homeland Security supports Taskforce 1. Members of Taskforce 1 come from fire departments from Aberdeen, Watertown, Sioux Falls, and Rapid City. Taskforce 1 can respond to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive threats. Team members are also trained in specialized rescue techniques including, land-based search, structural collapse, swift water, confined space, high-angle, and rope rescue.
Training and exercising as a team is critical to the team’s performance during a real emergency. During the 75th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August 2015, team members gathered in Rapid City to practice several specialized rescue techniques. Members drilled on breaching and moving concrete panels; cutting wood, concrete, and steel; and installing bolt and anchor systems all while suspended in harnesses several stories off the ground. The training scenarios mimicked conditions and angles team members would encounter while attempting to rescue someone from a structural collapse, a fall off a cliff, or a high-rise building.
Besides providing top-notch training, the Rapid City exercise also made the team members available for emergency response during the Rally, should a major emergency occur. Thankfully, the 75th Rally concluded with no major incidents; however, having Taskforce 1 available enhanced the state’s capability to respond effectively to any incident.