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Developed and maintained by the NFCC

Control measure

Urban search and rescue work plan

Control measure knowledge

The urban search and rescue (USAR) unit leaders or USAR co-ordination cell should develop and implement search and rescue strategies and tactics. These are detailed in a USAR work plan and recorded on ‘USAR 02 Tactical Work Plan Form’. The USAR work plan should be discussed and agreed with the incident commander, and be consistent with the overall incident objectives and action plan to ensure:

  • There are suitable arrangements to ensure the safety of all personnel, including the deployment of structural monitoring and its results and nomination of a USAR safety officer.
  • Prioritisation of rapid casualty extrications where possible
  • Effective management and co-ordination of USAR operations
  • Effective and documented dynamic and analytical risk assessment
  • Improved use and co-ordination of USAR resources and specialist personnel
  • Provision of a clear overview for all responding agencies
  • Assistance from other agencies, such as structural engineers, is incorporated into the USAR response
  • The provision of simultaneous 24-hour multiple-site search and rescue operations

The USAR work plan is used to identify the operational objectives for a work period, including the number of operational sectors and work sites to which USAR resources will be deployed. USAR operations will be conducted by using the assessment, search and rescue (ASR) levels as a framework, with the addition of specific objectives if required.

The USAR unit leader or group response co-ordinator should advise the incident commander when each of the objectives of the plan has been carried out. However, it is likely that ASR levels may run concurrently across multiple sectors, dependent on the size and scale of the incident.

Strategic actions

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

  • Provide resources to facilitate simultaneous 24-hour multiple-site search and rescue operations

  • Maintain a register of 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 to develop a USAR work plan

  • Advise the incident commander when each of the objectives of the plan has been carried out