The Strike Team, What it is, and what it isn't.
In its simplest form, the Strike Team is a group of specialists, ready to go anywhere on short notice, and able to bring everything they need along with them. It is to provide short-term support until a given situation can be evaluated, and further resources called in. Our Strike Team is designed to operate for 72 hours without outside support. By the end of that time, the incident will either be resolved (the record is currently one hour), or further support will have been brought in. This is an important part of the Strike Team concept, and the most often misunderstood.
The resources of a Strike Team could easily be exhausted if it was called in to every incident and expected to remain until the entire incident was over. Instead, its function is to provide a bridge between the initial incident and the arrival of the larger, but slower to mobilize resources. Once further resources have arrived, the Strike Team transitions itself out of the picture - ready to respond to another call. This technique has been developed to a science by the California Department of Forestry (CDF) which fields Strike Teams all over the state. It was their example, in part, that was used to develop our Strike Team.
Our Strike Team is comprised of RACES personnel who have taken extra steps to maximize their abilities and skills. What extra steps? Fireground safety, public safety radio operation and agency orientation are a few of the topics covered in training. Personnel must have served in RACES for at least a year, and be licensed as Technician or higher for a similar period. They must show a willingness and ability to serve as a RACES person before serving on the Strike Team. Membership in the Strike Team is by no means automatic. It requires a special level of participation, and members must have shown that they can meet this demand before they are accepted.
Strike Team members are normally assigned to other RACES functions, including operation of stations, EOCs and the Communications Center. If you belong to a Strike Team you will still be expected to attend the drills, training and activities that are part of your normal RACES assignment as well. In the process, you will be confident that no matter what may happen, you will be called!