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Developed and maintained by the NFCC

Control measure

Carry out urban search and rescue logistics management

Control measure knowledge

USAR initial logistics area

Due to the potentially protracted nature of an incident involving urban search and rescue (USAR) operations, large amounts of specialist modules and equipment are required to support activities. To facilitate this, a USAR initial logistics area will need to be established in order to enable the prompt availability of tools, equipment and consumables. The incident commander should be advised of this USAR requirement, along with an estimate of the size of area that will be needed.

In the early stages of an incident, the establishment and management of a USAR initial logistics area will be carried out by the first USAR units to arrive at the affected fire and rescue service, through liaison with the incident commander. The USAR initial logistics area consists of a series of demounted USAR modules and air shelters that provide a principal point for the management of equipment being checked into and out of the area.

USAR personnel are trained to carry out procedures related to equipment issue, tracking and retrieval, as outlined in USAR SOP Logistics, and two technicians will be appointed as the initial logistics team. This will allow a basic function to be established at local or cross-border incidents. However, for national incidents involving a single or double group response, a USAR Logistics Team from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service will be deployed to manage and co-ordinate the logistics support framework.

USAR logistics team

The USAR logistics team are mobilised on request and as part of any USAR group response. They will take responsibility for the overall management and co-ordination of the USAR equipment being deployed to and retrieved from the scene of operations, and are primarily responsible for:

  • Establishing a main logistics area
  • Identifying any missing inventory items on USAR modules as they arrive within the main logistics area
  • Recording information about missing inventory items on the inventory hard copy list
  • Co-ordinating and tracking the movement of specialist tools between worksites (see Control measure – Carry out a sector assessment (ASR level 2) for information about worksites) and sectors, using a logging system
  • Ensuring pre-use checks are carried out before equipment is released
  • Monitoring equipment use – where the condition of safety-critical parts are repaired or replaced as required
  • Ensuring cleaning and checking equipment for any damage prior to returning to storage on the relevant module
  • Collating information on all items used, damaged, lost or remaining at the scene of the incident, and reporting this to the USAR group response co-ordination cell
  • Liaising with
    • The National Resilience Assurance Team (NRAT) operations recovery support cell (ORSC) if established
    • The prime contractor
    • Equipment Maintenance and Repair Centre (EMRC)
    • Mobile maintenance units (MMUs)
  • Liaising with the USAR group response co-ordinator or other agencies to ensure the security of the forward logistics area

The USAR logistics team will normally consist of a minimum of two operators per shift. However, this will depend on the geographical spread of the incident and the number of worksites and sectors in use, and may require additional operators.

Strategic actions

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

Tactical actions

Specialist responders should:
  • Establish and manage a USAR main logistics area