FRNSW Team deployed to NZ earthquake

Published: 23rd February 2011

A multi-agency Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) taskforce, managed by Fire and Rescue NSW, has been deployed to New Zealand.

The team consists of:

  • FRNSW Firefighters
  • ACT Firefighters
  • NSW Ambulance Paramedics
  • Doctors from Department of Health
  • Engineers from Department of Services, Technology and Administration
  • Police from Bomb and Forensics.

The deployment is to assist and relieve NZ rescuers in Christchurch. An initial reconnaissance has been completed, and our USAR resources have been deployed to an area where there are confirmed victims. This morning a woman was rescued by the NSW Task Force and is now receiving medical treatment.

FRNSW’s first rescue team arrived at the centre of the disaster at 4am Australian time today. A base of operations has been established and rescuers have been tasked with their first search and rescue mission at the PGB building.

The team includes an advanced medical, search and rescue and logistical support capability.

The team carries more than 20 tonnes of advanced rescue and engineering equipment, tents, generators, food and water.

In the first couple of hours after arrival, as they established their base of operations, the team made a rapid assessment of the area. This included structural triage of buildings by our engineers to determine which ones were most likely to remain sound.

The various search and rescue teams are ‘blitzing’ the site. This is an initial process of flooding the areas with rescue teams to reach as many people as possible.

The teams will examine buildings to determine ‘collapse patterns’. These patterns determine if a building has collapsed in such a way as to provide void spaces where victims could survive.

After several hours the teams will split in two which affords 24-hour operations. The team can continue in this mode for up to 10 days, after which they will be relieved by a second task force if necessary.

Learn more about Urban search and rescue (USAR) here.