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Emergency Services: Overseas Aid

Volume 495: debated on Tuesday 30 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 14 January 2009, Official Report, column 834W, on overseas aid: emergency services, what assessment he has made of the effect of the decision that the UK Fire and Rescue Service will organise the overseas search and rescue capability for disaster response on the service's ability to respond to natural disasters in the UK. (282167)

The overseas deployment of resources to assist in an emergency is organised by UK International Search And Rescue (UKISAR). UKISAR are teams of Search and Rescue specialists drawn from the UK Fire and Rescue Services and voluntary organisations. Any overseas deployment of UKISAR is undertaken on behalf of the Department For International Development (DFID).

The UKISAR equipment and resources including specialist staff are in addition to the Urban Search and Rescue equipment and resources provided within the New Dimension programme to equip the FRS to respond to UK incidents.

Therefore the overseas deployment of UKISAR will not impact on the capacity of the UK Fire and Rescue Service to provide an appropriate Urban Search and Rescue response to incidents in the UK.

In addition, on receipt of a request for overseas deployment a further assessment of the risk to the UK is completed by DFID and CLG (via the Office of the Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser) prior to the approval for UKISAR deployment.