International Search and Rescue Training

Six crew members from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS), who also form part of the United Kingdom International Search and Rescue (UK-ISAR) Team, have recently been deployed to attend various courses in recent weeks.

Two UK-ISAR technicians attended cold weather survival courses in Sweden, where they were taught how to survive and work in environments as low as -22°C for seven days at a time.  Sleeping in tents in forests, they were taught personal administration, map reading, how to interpret weather conditions, cooking skills, surviving falls in cold water and building fire and shelters in conditions that are difficult to duplicate in the UK.

Meanwhile, Operations Commander and Crew Leader courses were held in the mountains of Shropshire, with four UK-ISAR technicians in attendance.  The Operations Commander course is a brand-new one and run by the UK-ISAR management team.  As part of the course, UK-ISAR technicians had to collate, evaluate and assess information given to them by the instructors and members of the Crew Leaders course.  They were taught the importance of recording information being used to make decisions and planned a simulated deployment of technicians to emergency incidents.

The Crew Leaders stayed in tents and were placed in realistic environments and situations as experiences by UK-ISAR technicians from deployments across the world.  These training sessions are an essential part of a team member’s deployment, giving them the necessary skills and experience to allow them to make tough, calculated decisions in simulated natural and man-made disasters.


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.