UK Fire & Rescue Services on standby and ready to assist Beirut

UK Fire and Rescue Services are on standby to assist Lebanon following yesterday’s catastrophic explosions which have claimed at least 100 lives and injured thousands of people.

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) is in talks with the government as to what support the UK FRS could offer. If requested to assist, a team would be mobilised within a few hours prior to being deployed to support the rescue effort.

While no formal request has been made from Lebanon as yet, the situation is being monitored.

UK International Search and Rescue (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. It is part of the NFCC’s National Resilience work.

NFCC is in contact with the Department for International Development (DFID) as UK ISAR deploys on behalf of the department and other government departments to assist with international search and rescue work.

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

The team can provide specialised, technical search and rescue assistance in collapsed structures. This will include locating and rescuing people deeply entrapped or entombed, canine support, medical provision, structural engineering assessments to confirm damage and stabilising solutions.

It is one of the 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 a United Nations classified search & rescue team 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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