Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), as defined by Public Safety Canada (PSC) as: “The location of trapped persons in collapsed structures using dogs and sophisticated search equipment; the use of heavy equipment such as cranes to remove debris; the work to breach, shore, remove and lift structural components; the treatment and removal of victims; and the securing of partially or completely collapsed structures.
Disasters can be defined as events that cause serious disruptions in the services that are essential for the normal operation of a community(s) and frequently result in widespread human and environmental losses. Such disruptions exceed the emergency management capabilities of the affected community(s).
The catastrophic earthquakes that hit northern and southern California in 1989 and 1994, and Kobe Japan, the events of September 11, 2001 demonstrated and re-defined the need for specially trained Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR, USAR) resources to respond to incidents of structural collapse caused by natural or man made disasters. Since then, this capability has been examined nationally and found to be lacking in most areas of Canada inclusive of Manitoba and the surrounding region.
USAR is considered a multi-hazard discipline. A USAR capable response may be needed for a wide variety of emergencies or disasters, including but not limited to earthquakes, winter and summer storms, tornadoes, building collapse from snow load or other factors, flood dam failures, technological accidents, terrorist activities and hazardous material releases.
The Manitoba USAR Project will act as a framework for structuring existing emergency service personnel, including both Provincial and Municipal Emergency Response into an integrated response Team. This community based USAR Team takes advantage of the pre-existing organizations that support them. The emergency service personnel who perform this work on a daily basis will be further trained in many related fields of rescue - giving them the ability to function as a unique and independent Team if necessary.