UK International Search and Rescue team ready to assist search and rescue in Italy

According to reports, the number of people who have lost their lives in the Italy earthquake has reached 247.

The BBC website reports: “The search went on through the night, and there was a strong aftershock which rocked already damaged buildings. More than 4,300 rescuers are using heavy lifting equipment and their bare hands.”

While according to the Guardian: “At least 368 more people were injured, the national civil protection agency said in Rome, and an unknown number remained trapped in the rubble of collapsed and damaged buildings in the cluster of ancient hilltop towns and villages, some almost entirely razed by the 6.2-magnitude quake”.

The BBC is running updates on the earthquake and the search and rescue effort.

Currently national responders are leading the response effort.

During times of national disaster, the UK ISAR (International Search and Rescue) Team is often deployed to assist – a team can be mobilised within six hours. 

UK ISAR is formed from 15 Fire and Rescue Services from across the UK and is on permanent standby to mobilise and assist when requested by disaster affected countries.

UK ISAR is entirely self-sufficient. The team provides its own food, water, shelter, sanitation, communications and all necessary equipment undertake search and operations for up to ten days.

This ensures that no additional burden is placed upon a country already suffering demands on its resources when faced with the aftermath of sudden onset disasters.

UK ISAR has not received a request to deploy to Italy at this time (August 25th ). However if assistance were to be requested, a team would be mobilised within a few hours to then be deployed to help with the search and rescue operations, in support of the National Civil Protection Agency in Italy.

We are continuing to monitor the situation and speaking to colleagues from the United Nations and European Union.

UK ISAR deploys on behalf of DFID (Department for International Development) and other government departments to assist with international search and rescue work.

For example, the Nepal earthquake in 2015 saw a team of 67 UK ISAR personnel deployed to assist in the international response.

They undertook a range of tasks which included structural and medical assessment, making safe unstable healthcare facilities, medical treatment, evacuation of injured members of the public, and technical search and rescue operations.

UK ISAR has deployed 14 times to assist with earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes including Haiti, New Zealand and the Japanese Tsunami. The team responds to overseas disasters at the request of the disaster affected government and is one of 44 United Nations classified search and rescue teams from across the world.

UK ISAR provides:

  • Specialised, technical search and rescue in collapsed structures, confined spaces, in largely populated areas
  • Responds overseas at the request of disaster affected nations to sudden onset disasters on behalf of the UK Government
  • Supports the UK’s commitment to the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism, and offers Heavy (HUSAR) and Medium (MUSAR) modules
  • It is one of 44 United Nations classified Search & Rescue teams from across the world and responds to earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding events, as well as providing capacity building programmes
  • The main tools used in a search are cameras mounted on probes, highly sensitive listening equipment, thermal imaging cameras and trained search dogs
  • The team carries a range of rescue equipment for cutting and tunnelling through reinforced concrete and can operate at two large sites simultaneously providing 24 operations for up to 10 days
  • Previous deployments include Iraq, Turkey, Algeria, Pakistan, India, Iran, Mozambique, Indonesia, Haiti, New Zealand, Japan, Bosnia and Nepal
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