Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)

Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) is a general term for a group of specialized rescue skills that are integrated into a team with resources that include, search, medical and structural assessment capacity. Heavy USAR (HUSAR) Task Forces locate trapped persons in collapsed structures and other entrapments using specially trained dogs and electronic search equipment. The Task Forces breach, shore, lift and remove structural components, use heavy construction equipment to remove debris, and medically treat and transfer victims.

Public Safety has published the Canadian Urban Search and Rescue Classification Guide, which defines the standard array of tools, equipment and supplies suitable for teams at Light, Medium and Heavy operational levels. Three Canadian cities (CAN TF1 Vancouver, CAN TF2 Calgary, and CAN TF3 Toronto) and the Province of Manitoba (CAN TF4) currently have interoperable HUSAR capacity and capability.

Links to Canada’s HUSAR teams:

The main elements of HUSAR are based on Task Force interoperability and modularity, as well as 24/7 operational readiness to deploy on short notice in response to domestic incidents.

In addition to HUSAR development, Public Safety has contributed to Light and Medium USAR in smaller urban centres across the country. Since 2001, Public Safety has contributed over $23 million to develop Light, Medium and Heavy USAR structural collapse capabilities to support local and provincial jurisdictions in times of emergency.



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