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 Canada 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.

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

With the new federal HUSAR Program, Public Safety Canada plans to contribute to the strengthening of HUSAR capabilities with six Task Forces located in Vancouver (British Columbia), Calgary (Alberta), the Province of Manitoba, Toronto (Ontario), Montreal (Quebec), and Halifax (Nova Scotia).

The Department’s work will include updating the Classification Guide, and working with provinces/territories and/or municipalities, HUSAR Task Forces, and other key stakeholders to determine the long-term vision for HUSAR in Canada.

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