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Developed and maintained
by the NFCC

Control measure
National Resilience: Urban search and rescue team arrival at incident

Control measure knowledge

The process for booking-in on arrival at the assigned rendezvous point (RVP), strategic holding area (SHA) or multi-agency strategic holding area (MASHA), will depend on the urban search and rescue (USAR) level of response; this could be a single unit or group response.

USAR single unit response

The designated unit leader will report to the incident commander and hand over a copy of the ‘USAR 01 Unit Fact Sheet Form’, which provides an overview of the USAR modules, personnel deployed and their specialist skills. A second copy of the form should be handed to the USAR tactical adviser (TacAd) or group response co-ordinator. A third copy is retained by the unit.

USAR group response

USAR units should report to a pre-determined RVP, SHA or MASHA. USAR teams will book in using the standard process with information on personnel, vehicles and modules being captured on the asset management tool (AMT); this may be via the enhanced logistics support (ELS) team if in attendance. ‘USAR 01 Unit Fact Sheet Form’, should be handed to the USAR group response co-ordinator, or USAR co-ordination cell upon arrival at the incident ground.

The ELS team will retrospectively capture information for any units that are sent straight to the incident.

Fire and rescue service briefing

When the USAR capability arrives at the incident an initial plan of action (POA) should be provided by the affected fire and rescue service. This should support the carrying out of rapid USAR operations.

The following should be included in the initial POA:

  • Details of potential worksites – size, nature, scale
  • Numbers of people trapped or missing
  • Allocated escape routes, RVPs or marshalling areas
  • Presence and status of significant hazards, such as utilities
  • Allocated location for USAR vehicles and equipment
  • A fire and rescue service point of contact name and number
  • Details of the incident command organisational structure
  • Information on any specialist advisers or investigating organisations requested or in attendance, for example:
    • Structural engineers
    • Health and safety regulatory bodies
    • Environmental agencies
    • Local authorities
    • Transport enforcing authorities

USAR co-ordination cell

As USAR becomes more embedded into the incident, a USAR co-ordination cell (UCC) will be implemented.

The primary function of the UCC is to:

  • Support the affected fire and rescue service incident commander
  • Provide leadership and management for the USAR group response

The role of the UCC is to act as a focal point for all USAR operations, to support the management of the incident. It will be staffed by the TacAds from the units attending, but can be supplemented by the wider national USAR tactical adviser cadre if necessary.

All information relating to USAR operations will be held in the UCC, including:

  • Plans
  • Worksite information
  • Copies of risk assessments
  • Unit fact sheet (personnel accountability)
  • Assignment or tasking information
Figure: Diagram showing the USAR co-ordination cell structure


Strategic actions

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

Tactical actions

Specialist responders should:
  • Report to the rendezvous point, strategic holding area or multi-agency strategic holding area and book in

  • Receive the initial plan of action, and agree a USAR Tactical Work Plan with the incident commander prior to deploying

  • Support the management of the incident by implementing a USAR co-ordination cell (UCC) if required