- Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) provides critical resources and a specially trained taskforce of up to 125 personnel with medical, fire suppression, emergency response, search and rescue, and engineering backgrounds.
- The teams are multi-disciplined, totally self-sufficient and able to deploy with trained dogs, electronic search equipment and heavy construction equipment to remove debris and help extract people trapped in major structural collapses like one might expect from a catastrophic earthquake.
- The team is also able to support a community in crisis with Incident Support, particularly assisting and supporting the Command structure.
- The Vancouver team is trained to perform searches for survivors, assist with purifying water, apply medical treatment and provide transportation to the critically injured. They are one of four teams in Canada (Can-TF1-Vancouver B.C., Can-TF2-Calgary AB, Can-TF3-Toronto ON, and Can-TF4-Brandon, MB).
- The Vancouver HUSAR team is made up of an elite group of emergency response personnel, individuals from many organizations including:
- Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services
- Vancouver Police Department
- City of Vancouver Engineering Department
- Vancouver Park Board
- BC Ambulance Service
- The catastrophic earthquakes that hit northern and southern California in 1989 and 1994, the Kobe Japan earthquakes, and the events of Sept. 11, 2001, demonstrated and re-defined the need for specially trained HUSAR resources to respond to incidents of structural collapse caused by natural or man-made disasters.
- The City of Vancouver now oversees the HUSAR team in Vancouver with financial assistance provided from the province through Emergency Management BC.
- Vancouver’s HUSAR team has previously assisted internationally in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina (2005), as well as the mudslides in North Vancouver, B.C. (2005) and in Johnsons Landing, B.C. (2012), and to Calgary, Alta. floods (2013).
- Can-TF1 varies the response and deploys depending on the needs of the event. They conduct a capability gap assessment of the affected jurisdiction, compare against the skill set of the HUSAR team and then would deploy them in consultation with City of Vancouver. As this team is highly specialized, it is a relatively quick assessment.
B.C. Earthquake and Tsunami Exercise
Exercise Coastal Response is Western Canada’s first, full-scale earthquake and tsunami response is a test of the BC Immediate Response Plan IRP) that outlines the steps that the Province and its partners will undertake in the immediate aftermath of a massive earthquake. The goal is to exercise elements of the IRP and strengthen relationships among and across partners and stakeholders to enhance operational co-ordination. Learn more about Exercise Coastal Response