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Modern Search & Rescue Equipment

by Marcus
Modern Search & Rescue Equipment

Modern search & rescue equipment encompasses a wide range of tools and technology designed to assist in finding and rescuing victims of natural disasters, emergencies, and other hazardous situations. Modern search and rescue technology has advanced significantly over the past several years. These tools aim to enhance efficiency, safety, and effectiveness during search and rescue operations, enabling rescue teams to carry out their mission of protecting life and property with greater precision and speed. Search and rescue operations can be broadly classified into Sea/Air, Mountain, Ground and Urban. Our focus here is on Urban Search and Rescue (USAR). 

USAR is a specialised type of emergency response that is typically associated with firefighting services. It involves the location, extrication, and initial medical stabilisation of victims trapped in an urban area, often in situations of structural collapse. Structural collapse incidents can comprise both unstable and already collapsed structures. Usually collapse incidents leave large voids within the debris that can result in numerous casualties trapped beneath large amounts of very heavy and often unstable debris. People are often found alive many hours and days after rescue operations commence, and the corresponding services should be planned accordingly. 

Modern Search & Rescue Equipment
Modern Search & Rescue Equipment

USAR and firefighting services work closely. Firefighting services have specialised teams which operate outside of the typical mission of firefighting. These specialised teams are trained to respond to a wide range of emergency situations, including technical rescues, hazardous materials incidents, and other complex situations which require additional skills and capabilities. Such situations may include confined spaces, elevated heights, and areas with hazardous materials. USAR teams rely heavily on specialised equipment to conduct their operations safely and efficiently. The importance of USAR equipment cannot be overstated, as it directly impacts the safety and success of USAR missions. USAR equipment can be split into several categories, including cutting and breaching, lifting and moving, search and rescue, and personal protective equipment.

Cutting and breaching equipment is used to cut through, break apart, or breach various materials such as concrete, metal, or wood, to gain access to trapped individuals or create pathways for rescue teams. Lifting and moving equipment is used to lift and move heavy objects or debris to create pathways for rescuers to access trapped individuals. Search and rescue equipment is used to locate and extract trapped individuals from collapsed structures. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn by USAR responders to protect them from hazards such as debris, dust, and hazardous gases.

Modern Search & Rescue Equipment
Modern Search & Rescue Equipment

The search and rescue equipment offered by LEADER is a comprehensive range of tools designed to provide safety and protection during Urban Search and Rescue, and structural collapse operations. The equipment range includes life detectors/locators, search cameras, vibration or seismic detectors, radar movement detectors, unstable structure stability monitors, and warning alarms, such as the Leader WASP, which can be used in various search and rescue operations.

LEADER WASP - Warning Alarm Stability Protection Device
LEADER WASP – Warning Alarm Stability Protection

LEADER’s thermal camera head for search camera TIC head is another essential tool used by firefighters to see through smoke and identify hotspots that may cause danger or require immediate attention. Additionally, the electric current/voltage detector is used to detect electric current/voltage in a live wire or equipment, ensuring that rescue personnel are not exposed to electrical hazards while conducting operations.

The Leader Search Life Detectors detect and locate victims entombed in collapsed structures by effectively turning the entire structure into a giant microphone. The slightest of vibrations can be pinpointed, allowing the rescue personnel to identify the victim’s location. 

FirstLook has more than 40 years experience of developing search and rescue equipment and understand the challenges that emergency teams face. The FirstLook FL360 mobile app is an innovative, wireless 360° spherical imaging search and rescue camera that offers live streaming and advanced features to aid search and rescue operations. The FL360 camera instantly captures a live 360-degree spherical view and comes with two-way audio, GPS/time/date, pinch zoom, and much more. This far more quickly in emergency situations than was previously possible.

The FL360 camera utilises dual cameras and custom-built software to stitch multiple live spherical streams together to create a smooth image landscape that can be viewed and manipulated on a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone. The digital streams broadcast in HD quality and are designed to transmit both wired and/or wirelessly to a receiver or mobile device. The FL360 comes with a preloaded mobile application that offers an intuitive user-focused experience

FL360 Camera
FL360 Camera on Boom

Savox Communications is a leading provider of communication and rescue equipment for public safety and industrial professionals. Founded in 1982, the company has offices in Europe, Asia, and the United States, and has a reputation for producing high-quality products that are designed to meet the needs of its customers.The Savox Search and Rescue Equipment range covers a wide variety of products.

Savox SearchCam® Video Cameras are designed to be used in low-visibility situations, such as in collapsed buildings or during search and rescue operations in smoke-filled environments. These cameras help USAR teams see in areas that would otherwise be impossible to navigate, improving their ability to locate victims and assess the situation. Savox Hardline Communication Systems are designed to work in high-noise environments, such as those found in collapsed buildings or during rescue operations involving heavy machinery. These systems are highly reliable and help ensure effective communication and coordination between team members.

Modern Search & Rescue Equipment
Modern Search & Rescue Equipment

The Savox USAR Task Force Kit is a comprehensive, multi-purpose, multi-user Hardline communication system designed for a variety of rescue operations, including confined space rescue, collapse structure rescue, trench rescue, mine rescue, high-angle rescue, shoring, tunnelling, and victim location. Savox Communications and Rescue Kits are designed to help USAR teams communicate and coordinate their efforts during rescue operations. These kits come in different configurations, from basic kits that include radios and headsets to more advanced kits that include video cameras and other communication tools.

Modern urban search and rescue equipment and firefighting services play a crucial role in disaster response. technology has come a long way in recent years. From robotic tools to cloud-based data management and AR, these advancements have improved the effectiveness and efficiency of USAR teams and firefighters worldwide. With these advanced tools responders can quickly locate and extract individuals in need, even in the most challenging environments. These cutting-edge technologies have not only improved the efficiency of search and rescue operations but have also helped to save countless lives. As technology continues to evolve, search and rescue equipment will become progressively sophisticated, ensuring that emergency responders can provide rapid and effective assistance in any situation.

Modern Search & Rescue Equipment is written by David Blackbourn Contributing Editor at Marcus Media.

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