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by the NFCC

Control measure

National Resilience: Carry out a rapid search and rescue (ASR level 3)

Control measure knowledge

This is usually carried out in the early stages of a large-scale event, when a relatively small number of urban search and rescue (USAR) teams are in attendance.

USAR units are assigned to one or more worksites as rapid progress is required to ensure the allocated areas are searched quickly to maximise any life-saving opportunities. Rescue operations will usually consist of structural monitoring, debris removal, mechanical shoring, and limited breaking and breaching.

There is limited deep penetration into the structure and the search or rescue operations at this level are normally possible to complete within a few hours. Assessment personnel should identify those structures or worksites where a full search and rescue (ASR level 4) is required.

If trapped casualties are located and require extrication, the assessment team should move into assessment, search and rescue (ASR) level 4 operations. This would require liaison with the incident commander or USAR group response co-ordinator. Any unsearched worksites assigned to that assessment team should be reassigned to a new ASR level 3 team.

A range of USAR forms are available and should be completed as appropriate to support information management, these may include:

  • Assignment Briefing
  • Structural Monitoring
  • Analytical Risk Assessment
  • Casualty Extrication
  • Worksite Report

Marking systems

Marking systems are used in USAR operations to display and share key information between USAR teams and other agencies. They are also used to strengthen co-ordination at sites with multiple scenes of operations and large numbers of casualties involved, and to minimise duplication of effort.

The USAR capability has adopted an abbreviated version of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) marking system, as it is an internationally recognised system. USAR operations use two of the principal marking elements:

  • Rapid clearance marking system
  • Victim marking system

Strategic actions

National Resilience should:
  • Provide USAR guidance material and supporting documentation for completion by specialist responders

Tactical actions

Specialist responders should:
  • Liaise with the incident commander when carrying out a rapid search and rescue

  • Complete appropriate USAR documentation

  • Use worksite marking when carrying out a rapid search and rescue

  • Be prepared to carry out assessment, search and rescue (ASR) level 4 activities if authorised