1 Jul 2020

International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG)Quick read

What is it?

The International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) is a network of disaster-prone and disaster-responding countries and organizations dedicated to urban search and rescue (USAR) and operational field coordination.

The International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG)

  • It was established in 1991 following initiatives of international SAR teams that responded to the 1988 Armenia earthquake.
  • The United Nations was chosen as the INSARAG secretariat to facilitate international participation and coordination.
  • The Field Coordination Support Section (FCSS), located within OCHA Geneva’s Emergency Services Branch (ESB), functions as the INSARAG secretariat.

Activities of INSARAG

  • INSARAG activities are guided by United Nations General Assembly resolution 57/150 of 16 December 2002 on “Strengthening the Effectiveness and Coordination of International Urban Search and Rescue Assistance”.
  • Activities are also led by the INSARAG Hyogo Declaration adopted at the first INSARAG Global Meeting in 2010 in Kobe, Japan.

INSARAG mandate includes:

  • Field Coordination Support
  • Render emergency preparedness and response activities more effective and thereby save more lives, reduce suffering and minimize adverse consequences.
  • Improve efficiency in cooperation among international USAR teams working in collapsed structures at a disaster site.
  • Promote activities designed to improve search-and-rescue preparedness in disaster-prone countries, thereby prioritizing developing countries.
  • Develop internationally accepted procedures and systems for sustained cooperation between national USAR teams operating on the international scene.
  • Develop USAR procedures, guidelines and best practices, and strengthen cooperation between interested organizations during the emergency relief phase.

INSARAG External Classifications

  • INSARAG has developed a voluntary, independent peer-review process of international USAR teams – the INSARAG External Classification (IEC).
  • The INSARAG Steering Group endorsed the IEC in 2005.
  • According to their operational capabilities, USAR teams deploying internationally are classified as “Medium Teams” or “Heavy Teams” through the IEC process.

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