International Search and Rescue Advisory Group

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The International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) is a network of disaster-prone and disaster-responding countries and organizations dedicated to urban search and rescue (USAR) and operational field coordination. It aims to establish standards and classification for international USAR teams as well as methodology for international response coordination in the aftermath of earthquakes and collapsed structure disasters. The INSARAG Secretariat is located in the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).


INSARAG was established in 1991 following initiatives of international USAR teams that responded to the 1988 Armenia earthquake and the 1985 Mexico City earthquake.[1] The United Nations was chosen as the INSARAG Secretariat to facilitate international participation and coordination. The Field Coordination Support Section (FCSS), located within the Emergency Services Branch (ESB) of OCHA in Geneva, functions as the INSARAG secretariat.

INSARAG activities are guided by UN General Assembly Resolution 57/150 of 16 December 2002 on "Strengthening the Effectiveness and Coordination of International Urban Search and Rescue Assistance" and by the INSARAG Hyogo Declaration adopted at the first INSARAG Global Meeting in 2010 in Kobe, Japan.

The INSARAG Mandate entails the development of effective international USAR procedures and operational standards, implementation of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/150 of 22 December 2002 on "Strengthening the effectiveness and coordination of USAR assistance", improving cooperation and coordination amongst international USAR teams at disaster sites, promoting activities to improve USAR preparedness in disaster prone countries, development of standardized guidelines and procedures, and sharing best practices amongst national and international USAR teams and defining standards for minimum requirements of international USAR teams.


Any country or organization with a stake in urban search and rescue may join INSARAG. Countries that wish to join identify a national focal point that acts as an interface with the INSARAG Regional Group and the Secretariat. Organizations wishing to join apply to the Secretariat through their national focal point. Member countries with USAR teams deploying internationally are strongly encouraged to apply for an INSARAG External Classification (IEC), however this is not a requirement to be a member of INSARAG.

INSARAG members are part of a worldwide knowledge-sharing network on collapsed structure rescue and operational field coordination. They are invited to annual meetings of the relevant INSARAG Regional Group and to participate in INSARAG working groups. The members are expected to have access to the Virtual OSOCC (Virtual On-Site Operations Coordination Centre) and the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) on the internet, which provide alert notification in the event of a sudden-onset disaster and real-time information updates and coordination during ongoing disasters. The USAR Directory, managed by the INSARAG Secretariat, provides an overview of INSARAG member countries and their USAR teams.

Member organisations[edit]


External links[edit]