Formed in 1993 UK ISAR is a co-operative of fifteen Fire and Rescue Services (FRS). Each Service contributes competent personnel and equipment plus arrangements to provide these resources when requested. The team responds primarily to international disasters on behalf of the UK Government but also carries out activities to support other nations to develop local and national Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) capacity.

UK ISAR has been utilised to undertake highly successful Search and Rescue (SAR) missions all over the world, the most recent and very high profile disasters in Haiti, Japan, New Zealand and Nepal.