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by the NFCC

Control measure

National Resilience: Carry out a full search and rescue (ASR level 4)

Control measure knowledge

This level involves search and rescue work that should identify, locate and rescue any casualties who are severely trapped, for example by debris or in voids that the assessment, search and rescue (ASR) Level 3 operations were unable to achieve.

If the incident commander has already identified specific sites, the ASR level 4 operations may commence as soon as the urban search and rescue (USAR) unit or group arrives at the scene of the incident.

ASR 4 operations will usually be at a single worksite and involve penetration into most, or all of the structure. By this stage structural specialists may have been deployed to assist in structural monitoring (level 3 structural monitoring).

They are likely to be longer-term operations requiring a wide range of USAR skills and liaison with other agencies. Activities may include:

  • Using search techniques and equipment; this is repeated as access is achieved
  • Extensive shoring to make the structure or access and egress routes safe
  • Heavy and repeated breaking and breaching of the full range of structural elements
  • Lifting or moving of large structural elements, including some delayering if access is needed to reach a casualty
  • Working in enclosed or confined spaces, sometimes deep inside structures

Strategic actions

National Resilience should:
  • Maintain a register, and build relationships with other agencies that may be able to assist with USAR operations

  • Request assistance from other agencies if required, using agreed protocols

Tactical actions

Specialist responders should:
  • Liaise with the incident commander or USAR co-ordination cell when carrying out a full search and rescue

  • Use all available techniques and equipment to carry out full search and rescue activities

  • Manage equipment use and availability, to ensure that equipment no longer required at a worksite is made available for use elsewhere

  • Monitor structural stability while carrying out a full search and rescue

  • Liaise with other agencies when carrying out a full search and rescue