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Search and Rescue

It’s not just the police, fire and rescue, and ambulance services who are called upon in an emergency. A wide range other land and maritime based emergency services provide vital support.

Responder categories:

Under the Civil Contingencies Act, local responders are divided into two categories, imposing a different set of duties on each.

  • Category 1 responders (‘core responders’) are those organisations at the centre of the response to most emergencies (i.e. emergency services, local authorities, NHS bodies).

    If not already members, these organisations are all eligible to join either the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) covering England and Wales, or the One Scotland Mapping Agreement (OSMA).

  • Category 2 responders (‘co-operating bodies’) are less likely to be involved in the heart of planning work, but will be heavily involved in incidents that affect their sector so will need to co-operate and share information with Category 1 responders. Examples include transport and utility companies.

    Most of these organisations are not eligible to join either of the public sector agreements (PSMA and OSMA), but their Ordnance Survey licence can allow them to share data with members of those agreements. For more information about the ‘infrastructure’ licence click here.

UK SAR members update (Dec 2012)

For search and rescue organisations, some additional criteria were introduced in December 2012. It should be noted that, these criteria were agreed as they take their foundations from the “Search And Rescue Framework For The United Kingdom Of Great Britain And Northern Ireland” published by Dept. for Transport in 2008 and are available on the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s website.

Full details of all members were previously provided by the UK Sar site [http://www.dft.gov.uk/topics/uksar/] however this page has now been discontinued.

How are these organisations included in agreements?

The public sector agreements have allowed for limited flexibility with the eligibility criteria for membership where there is mutual agreement between Ordnance Survey and government. For organisations involved in emergency response, this is the case where we have agreed that the other contributing members of the UK Search and Rescue (UK SAR) can become members where they clearly require precise geographic data in order to locate people who are in difficulty.

These include:

  • Association of Lowland Search and Rescue (ALSAR)
  • British Cave Rescue Council (BCRC)
  • Mountain Rescue (England and Wales)
  • Mountain Rescue Committee for Scotland
  • The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI®)

Other organisations:

We also know that there are many other organisations – often sustained through charitable funding – who are frequently asked to assist in these emergencies. Through detailed research and discussions it has been found that, albeit these other organisations do provide some support in emergency situations, the manner in which they are involved and managed varies. The scenarios can be categorised as being:

  • A ‘formal’ contractor relationship with a member of either the PSMA or OSMA - that may include other operational responsibilities
  • Being called in by a member of either the PSMA or OSMA as an additional 'immediate' emergency responder
  • Being called in later on to provide additional support to another responder

If you are one of these ‘other’ organisations, the likelihood is that you will not be eligible to join either of the public sector agreements.

However, a member of either the PSMA or OSMA can provide you with the required information, in the form that they want you to use, under the terms of their PSMA or OSMA licence. Note: This provision could be under either a ‘Contractor’ licence or an ‘End User’ licence.

Are you an existing member?

If you are already a member of a public sector mapping agreement, please log in to the members area below:

Members - Log in

Not a member? - If you are a government organisation located in England, Scotland or Wales and have not yet taken advantage of joining a public sector mapping agreement then apply to join here.

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