UK-ISAR Team Deployed to Singapore

In June, the United Kingdom International Search and Rescue (UK-ISAR) Team, which includes crew members from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) and South Wale Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) , held a training exercise in Singapore.

The training exercise, named Exercise Merlion, took place from June 12th-16th and allowed the UK-ISAR Team to prepare team members for working in heat and humidity and to experience the physiological effects of working in a tropical climate.  It also allowed them to familiarise themselves with new, hot-weather personal protective equipment, which can also be used as wildfire PPE. 

Over the 72-hour period, there were several challenging rescue scenarios for team members to undertake, which included ‘breaking and breaching’, lifting and moving, shoring and line access.  Some of these scenarios combined the additional challenges of water and height.

The exercise provided an excellent opportunity for interoperability, with members of the local Singaporean team assisting in some scenarios, as well providing their search dogs for casualty search training exercises, which also involved using search cameras in voids inaccessible to people.

There were also many opportunities for the UK-ISAR medical team to provide casualty care, on live victims as well as simulated casualty dummies.  The team practiced their response to a variety of injuries of varying severities.  The logistics team were required to familiarise themselves with the Singaporean equipment and played a vital part in providing stability for unsafe structures at simulated incidents remotely. This allowed our confined space rescue teams to demonstrate their capabilities to enter these structures, provide trauma care and subsequently rescue entombed casualties.

Throughout the exercise the team were subjected to numerous challenging scenarios to test their decision-making skills under pressure, which included gas explosions, gas leaks, site evacuation, gun shots and explosions and additional requests for assistance.


The UK-ISAR Team are on-call 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year to respond to humanitarian incidents, accidents or disasters anywhere in the world, to provide a search and rescue capability and support humanitarian efforts. The team has been operating for over 20 years and has components from 13 UK Fire and Rescue Services, who have successfully carried out search, rescue and relief missions around the world.