Welcome to this ERT SAR News Feed for activities, training and information. 


Posts sent by writers from the H.Q. team will show as 'Anonymous' as the Author.        

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  • 20 Feb 2016 9:26 PM | Anonymous

    Like all Technical Rescue incidents, it is important we establish effective operational zones (such as hot, cold, and warm zones) to provide safe working areas and stage the incident outside of where the actual rescues are conducted (hot zone) and keep the public safe and media outside - etc. This article highlights some guidelines but all incidents should be taken on a case by case basis with the information and resources at the time in the conditions and environment faced.

    The graphic above illustrates a sample cordon for Operational Zones in a USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) incident but the principles are virtually the same whether it is a water rescue incident or a rope rescue incident.

    Once attending rescuers at any level have attended and stabilized the problem they must start with scene safety and maintain personnel accountability.  Communication must be stated and restated with Incident Command established and Triage started, if bodies present - such as an explosion with leaking gas or collapsed structure event with bodies and injured seen on the surface and area. 

    We should establish outer security perimeter which for general purposes - depending on the incident and HazMat / CBRN/E could be at least 300 feet from the incident. Then you can sub-divide the Control Zones (rule of thumb given below) however some zones are much smaller than that such as on a cliff face where a limber has fallen (where you may stage nearer and provide edge safety) or in a swiftwater rescue incident (where your warm zone will be probably well within that 100 feet... like just 10 feet from the hot zone!)  


    • 100’ for critical functions
    • Technician Level personnel
    • "Target Zone" for 'hands on' rescue
    • Personal Accountability before entry
    • Rescuer PPE worn here 


    • Warm Zone 200’ for support functions
    • Operations Level personnel
    • Tool/equipment staging
    • Decontamination
    • Rescuer PPE 'ready' or don/doff here


    • Cold Zone 300 for Command and Control
    • Command Post
    • Apparatus staging
    • Rehab
    • No requirement for PPE here
    REMEMBER: Each incident is different and will be assessed on a case by case basis but they all start with a basic understanding of rescuer safety and effective rescue staging for operational effectiveness and therefore basic standard principles and following SOPs / SOGs, apply.

    The point about this article is to have the mindset of operational zones and remember to establish your IC early on with communications and size-up given a priority.

    There a saying, that 

    "... the first 5 to 10 mins may dictate the next 5 to 10 hours" 

    so do things properly and do not be too hasty in your response. (And remember that "Hasty Searches are a type of search method - not a mental approach to rescue!")

    Whether you are deciding where to put the cordons and operational zones or facilitating them for incident command - it is important to understand why there is a 'Hot Zone' in a rescue or the Fire Ground and why we establish certain function within and away from it. This is a basic concept that can be built on in complex rescue and incident scenarios - such as have a multidiciplinary rescue and medical incident close together with different expected cycling phases of response and monitoring.

    Gary Foo

    SAR Chief

    Technical Rescue Section 

    Disaster Paramedic

    UN Coordinator

  • 18 Feb 2016 12:25 PM | Anonymous
    Here's our reminderof tips and guidelines for USAR INCIDENTS: Initial Actions


    for Collapsed Structures 


    Remember the scene may be chaotics and emotional. Prepare yourself and your team for what they may see and experience and remember to debrief the incident especially if there are many suffering, children injured or even one dead body or suffering, etc. CISD / CISM (Critical Incident Stress Debrief / Management) should be factored into your post op mission plan. PTSD can occur after some situartions like this. 

    Monitor your team and do your 'Buddy Check' operationally, physically and emotionally. Rescue teams don't work less than in pairs.

    Also remembert that there may be public and media so be careful of what you think and say aloud. You are human in a professional capacity.  You may also have information that the public and media do not know. Don't be loose with your comments and be careful who may hear them. Construct your reporting in a helpful way. Avoid ever saying "No Comment" - instead suggest you will get back wioth the answer or point to a time or the authority who may have such answers.

    As an Emergency Responder / First Responder / Rescuer - your 'first on scene operational considerations should include the following:

    Assume Command until relieved

    Keep Span of Control at 5 or less

    Identify urgent hazards & share

    Secure / cordon site

    Size up scene / DRA*

    Implement Incident Management

    Set up coms systems & message

    Send SITREP to control **

    Request specialist assistance

    Use Aide Memories and FOGs (Field Ops Guides)

    Perform “R-E-P-E-A-T” ***

    Start Recon & Shut off Utilities

    Constantly gather information

    Limit supervisory staff in logistics

    Centralise logistics

    Use an inventory control system

    Determine the length of the incident

    Plan logistics, personnel & welfare

    Constantly evaluate & Communicate


    Gary Foo and Dr Nicola Cullum of ERT SAR at the Haiti Earthquake Port-au-Prince: Feb 2010

    Performing USAR & Medical Rescue Operations with ERT SAR coordinated by INSARAG, United Nations


    * Dynamic Risk Assessments in a continually changing environment

    ** Situation Report

    *** REPEAT is a known USAR acronym we will cover again but includes Reconnaissance Elimination of utilities Primary surface search Exploration of voids Access by selected debris removal Terminate by general debris removal

    Based on established USAR protocols


    Thank you to DIMERSAR and The New South Wales & Australian Capital Territory Fire Services

  • 08 Feb 2016 8:11 PM | Anonymous

    We are very proud and honoured to announce that the very charming and hugely talented, JEREMY IRONS, is our PATRON.

    We have known Jeremy for some time and he is very adept on the water and we are so pleased that he is our Patron.  As always it was lovely spending time with him and in his lovely English home. Lovely man. 

    ERT Search and Rescue will be recruiting and training many new members and it was great to discuss many national and global plans for ERT SAR in the coming years. 

    --- More news to follow! ---

  • 03 Feb 2016 9:11 AM | Anonymous

    SAR Chief Gary Foo and UK Commander Jamie Read at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland

    SAR Chief Gary Foo and UK Commander Jamie Read attended the Humanitarian Network Partnership Week, specifically the UN INSARAG (United Nations International Search and Rescue Advisory Group sessions for Team Leaders) in Geneva Switzerland.

    With some 1000 delegates from the Government, non-Government and mixed global community it was an excellent event for information and networking. 

  • 11 Jan 2015 12:10 PM | Anonymous

    ERT Search and Rescue Doctors; Dr N. Cullum and Dr Shaikh treat women & children in an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Sindh Province, Pakistan.

    The team worked tirelessly in harsh environmental conditions and temperatures of 47 Deg. C. heat - treating victims who exhibited symptoms of fever, sweats, chills, Watery Diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethergy, body aches, fatigue, mal nourishment, etc.

    This included complaints that were Malaria, Cholera, Scabbies, and others.

    The team would like to thank and acknowledge the support of the United Nations who assisted the team in coordination and transport, the Pakistan Military, Police, Government and The Aman Foundation to be able to see and treat so many people. 


     (c) 2010 Photo  Free for non-commercial use.

  • 01 Jun 2014 5:56 PM | Anonymous

    Justin and Jamie at one of the hill's treatment tents overlooking the runner's course. 


    Today ERT SAR Medics and Rescuers had a fun and busy time in Buckinghamshire, UK!

    Event season has started with a busy few sessions and our Rescuers and Medics have been busy! Members provided Medical cover for a very physically taxing 'run through the hills' and the ERT MEDICAL STATIONS were kept busy all day treating patients with a variety of injures or conditions - although fortunately none too seriously!

    It was a great event and very successful and a great time had by all!... That's to all our members who came and volunteered their time including Amanda, Jamie, Justin, Nick, and Mark.

  • 04 May 2014 9:58 PM | Anonymous

    UK MARINE UNIT: She's all liveried up for our Water Rescue work.  This one will join the others and we'll be out on the water, in it soon! :-)

  • 03 May 2014 10:33 PM | Anonymous

    USAR INSARAG training: ERT SAR members getting training in the new UN INSARAG (International Search and Rescue Advisory Group) standards recently released. 

  • 12 Apr 2014 2:49 PM | Anonymous
    OPERATION CARABAO (Water Buffalo) - Philippines
    Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda

    ERT Search and Rescue Challenge Coins design was approved and fabricated for members of ERT SAR and anyone connected with the organisation / deployment in such a way that strongly supports our mission.

    These are earned by the proud men and women who support ERT SAR and are not available to the general public. Certain Challenge Coins may be but operational coins are note.

    The design shows the Foundation Graphic on one side of the ERT SAR Shield with the two country flags against a black background with our name at the top (ERT Search and Rescue) and our main raison d'etre and what we do on the bottom (Disaster Search and Rescue).

    On the other side of the coin is the specific Operational details including the Operation Name (every such mission and deployment carries the name of an animal usually connected or associated with the area and specifically chosen for at least 3 specific relevant connections. It also shows a graphic of the animal and the main National Country flag on the top.

    Below you can also see the Challenge Coin for the United States deployment to Staten Island, New York in response to Hurricane Sandy.

    OPERATION BOBCAT - New York, United States
    Superstorm Hurricane Sandy

  • 18 Mar 2014 10:30 AM | Anonymous


    18 March 2014: We are processing new applications again for Operational Members.

    Non-Operational Membership is processed year around but Operational Membership starts now.

    For those people interested in joining us as an Operational Member you will be processed as a GROUP C Member.

    (Not we do not recruit direct to GROUP D). If for any reason you do not make Group C Operational Membership or decide to step back you can always change to GROUP A or GROUP B with less or no operational requirement. APPLY HERE  

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