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Heavy Urban Search and Rescue
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In Canada, Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) refers to the technical search and rescue skills that are used in the event of a disaster and emergency situations, such as urban building collapses, mudslides, flooding, and forest fires, amongst other disasters.


What is HUSAR?


"Heavy" Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) is the most technically specialized form of USAR. These are interdisciplinary Task Forces teams that are comprised of specialists from across the emergency response spectrum. Their capabilities include search and rescue, communications, logistics, emergency medical assistance, technical and canine search, and structural assessment.


Why it’s important


As cities are growing, infrastructures are aging, and climate variabilities and increasing across the country, ensuring that there is sufficient HUSAR capacity in more and more important. Our national approach to emergency management needs to reflect the needs of all partners and variables of the changing risk environment.


It was during our 2017 Annual General Meeting that a devastating earthquake hit central Mexico.  As a result of that tragedy, Chief Matt Pegg (Toronto, ON) and Chief Darrell Reid (Vancouver, BC) proposed that the CAFC begin asking the federal government to build up its HUSAR (Heavy Urban Search and Rescue) Task Forces so that they are qualified to deploy internationally and across provincial boundaries.


Keep in mind that:


Canadian HUSAR teams are not presently qualified with the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) which makes them ineligible for international deployment.


International deployment is not only an issue of good international relations and reciprocity building for when we need help; it is also an important training opportunity given that catastrophic events are rare.


Canadian HUSAR teams do not have national deployment agreements in place as Forest Fire suppression teams do, which means that our HUSAR capacity is not agile even within Canada. This is a safety, efficiency and training issue.


For more information on the Task Forces please visit these links:


Vancouver, British Columbia (CAN-TF1)

Calgary, Alberta (CAN-TF2)

Toronto, Ontario (CAN-TF3)

Manitoba (CAN-TF4)


Other Resources - March 29,2019


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