Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) ISAR team is made up of 18 dedicated team members that come from across Greater Manchester. The team prides itself in recruiting new members who must undertake an extensive and at times, arduous selection and training process. This helps to ensure that new team members are highly motivated and passionate to gain the required knowledge and skills to operate in a hostile environment such as an earthquake. We have members of the team that have deployed to disasters across the globe such as Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Wide Area Flooding’s in countries such as Algeria, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Haiti, Bosnia and Japan. The team also respond to local and regional disasters at home in the UK including explosions, collapsed structures, confined space incidents and rope rescue.

The GMFRS ISAR team are based at two Technical Response Stations (TRU), this ensures they are constantly training and possess the skills required to perform International Search and Rescue Operations. These specialist skills include Rope Rescue, Confined Space Rescue, Swift Water Rescue, Chainsaw/Hot cutting, Trauma care and Urban Search and Rescue.

All of the team are trained in the required rescue techniques to operate and maintain the equipment however, some of the team also specialise in other areas such as canine search and rescue, chainsaw operation, hot cutting and technical search.

The team runs regular National Training Workshops and events.  Over the years Manchester have hosted and coordinated a number of training events. This included a Medical training workshop to give the UK ISAR Medical team Operational Awareness, a Rope Rescue Workshop to prepare the National Team for a United Nations assessment and also a “beyond the rubble” training event to assist Cumbrian villagers after severe flooding in The Lake District. GMFRS ISAR also conducted an independent national recruitment and selection test for another ISAR team in an arduous mountain environment.

The team is now looking forward to preparing both a National and International exercise at Manchester’s brand new state of the art USAR/ISAR training complex. This will test both the incoming USAR team’s abilities and the new facility to the limits. More National Exercises will be conducted in Rope Rescue and Wide Area Search.

The team leader for GMFRS is Dean Nankivell nankivdj@manchesterfire.gov.uk and the Deputy Team Leader is Martin Foran foranmc@manchesterfire.gov.uk