People Strategy


Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)

Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)

Centrally located, outside of London with quick and easy access via the trunk road network, we are able to provide an excellent response to the South-East, the Midlands and reach into London. This can offer greater resilience than USAR team’s “city based” that could be targeted, or have access hampered due to location.

Local risks include the construction of HS2 across the area, along with Chequers and two football stadiums. There is also massive predicted growth through building development currently and continuing over the next decade.

Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes are identified as key growth areas. In Buckinghamshire HS2 will include the construction of the UK’s longest rail tunnel.


USAR trained personnel

  • 42 Specialist trained Technical Rescue Technicians based at our dedicated unit in Aylesbury.
  • 7 additional Technicians based at other Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service locations.
  • 14 internal Urban Search and Rescue Tactical Advisors.
  • 2 registered as National Tactical Advisors with National Resilience.
  • 10 Technicians on recall to duty contract – Includes response during industrial action.

We believe our Service are the only USAR team that were available during recent periods of industrial action.  We are currently looking to expand on this number to give greater resilience both within Service and Nationally.

Our USAR capability is completed with our search dog, which is currently provided through a collaborative agreement with Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service.

The above demonstrates our commitment to the fact that we are well resourced above the National Model, which in turn reinforces our overall resilience.


Expanding USAR skill sets to include:

  • Large animal rescue
  • Full rope rescue capability
  • Trench rescue
  • Bariatric capability.

In the future looking to work with the Police to assist with police search and rescue and missing persons.

USAR is key to driving our diversification agenda, ensuring that our Service is prepared to attend a wide range of incidents, including support to partner agencies.


Staff Skill Impacts

Firefighters are better trained, with flexible contracts and potential to attend a wider range of incidents and life-saving opportunities.

USAR Training Activity

As part of the new USAR ‘Concept of Operations’ and the grouping of USAR teams into Zones.  Buckinghamshire have been placed into Zone two who are meeting regularly, approximately six weekly.  Zone two is the first Zone to fully embrace the new zone set up.

Zone two includes:

  • Buckinghamshire
  • Essex,
  • Leicestershire
  • Norfolk
  • West Midlands.

Our team are involved in joint zoned training, taking place at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.

In January 2016, the our USAR team took part in an Ambulance Service ‘Hazardous Area Response Team’ training course at the Fire Service College, this building on our wider training framework agreement that has been in place over the past twelve months. Our assistance has been requested for future courses, progressing our wider training framework agreement in the future to include the utilisation of our internal Urban Search and Rescue Instructors to deliver specialist rescue disciplines at the Fire Service College.

Further specialist training and exercises are planned throughout the year at a specialist training facility.

We have taken part in the Chief Fire Officers Association, United Kingdom Rescue Organisation USAR competition on multiple occasions. Coming runners up in 2011, 2012 and USAR Best Team Leader in 2012.


To see the 2016 results click here:


[mkdf_button size=”” type=”” text=”USAR AWARDS” custom_class=”” icon_pack=”font_awesome” fa_icon=”” link=”″ target=”_self” color=”” hover_color=”” background_color=”” hover_background_color=”” border_color=”” hover_border_color=”” font_size=”” font_weight=”” margin=””]


Our USAR team participates in key training activities across fire and rescue services and partner agencies throughout the UK to ensure operational readiness. This has been validated by Chief Fire Officers Association, United Kingdom Rescue Organisation assessors during recent competitions and demonstrates a dedication to enhancing skills and developing disciplines.

Plans are currently being finalised for a bespoke Training rig/facility to be built at our planned multi agency hub in Milton Keynes.  This will support and giving greater opportunity for Zone working and training by use of shared facilities, with greater multi-agency interaction; such as Hazardous Area Response Team, Police Search and Rescue, Disaster Victim Identification and Voluntary Sectors etc.

All of the preceding information demonstrates Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s commitment and ability to the deliver cost effective front line services and resilient specialist capabilities, working collaboratively to offer best value, both locally and nationally.

0 comments on “Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.