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Search and rescue

Supporting your vital work

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 – and we want to support you, too.

The public sector agreements permit limited flexibility with the eligibility criteria for membership.

Emergency services, local authorities and NHS bodies – Category 1 core responders under the Civil Contingencies Act – are all eligible for membership of either the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) covering England and Wales, or the One Scotland Mapping Agreement (OSMA).

We and the government agreed in 2012, based on the Search And Rescue Framework For The United Kingdom Of Great Britain And Northern Ireland (2008), that the other contributing members of 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®)

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, we found that how they are involved and managed varies:

  • Responding under a formal Contractor relationship, which may include other operational responsibilities, with a member of either the PSMA or OSMA.
  • Being called in by a member of either the PSMA or OSMA as an additional, immediate emergency responder.
  • Being called in later to provide additional support to another responder

If this is how you get involved, you are probably not eligible to join either of the public sector agreements. That said, under the terms of their licence, a member of either the PSMA or OSMA can provide you, as either a Contractor or an End User, with the information needed, in the form they want you to use.

You also have full access to our full range of OS OpenData products.

Through the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA), HANTSAR gains affordable and easy access to the accurate and up-to-date mapping data it needs to do its job effectively.

Collaboration with other emergency services by having instant access to digital map data using handheld devices has improved the coordination of resources and reduced search response times.


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If you have any queries, free free to post a question in our Public Sector forum or get in touch.

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