International Rescue Corps
International Rescue Corps
We are a specialist Urban Search and Rescue team responding to natural and man made disasters all over the world using our specialist skills and equipment to rescue trapped people.
Our mission is ‘United To Save Life’ and this ethos applies to every action of our volunteer specialists.
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After receiving a request for help, it is our aim to mobilse a self-contained rescue team within 24 hours for overseas missions or within minutes for UK missions. We are registered with the United Nations allowing us to operate primarily as search and rescue team under their co-ordination in times of international disaster.
We are supported entirely by donations made by the public and corporate sponsorship. Every penny goes towards saving lives as we do not employ staff in administration, fundraising or any other role in the Corps. We are a UK based charity and offer our services completely free of charge, whether in the UK or overseas.
The original Urban Search and Rescue team
IRC was formed in 1981 following the Italian earthquake. Having seen the scenes of chaos and devastation portrayed in the media, we were determined that a co-ordinated search and rescue team should be available to attend all future catastrophies, wherever they took place. It is this determination that has carried us forward to where we are today, as one of the world’s most respected search and rescue teams.
The size of an initial team will consist of around 15 people with additional or relief teams despatched as required. Flexibility of role is essential as teams inevitably become involved in humanitarian work, communications or relief co-ordination.
We have operated for nearly 30 years with an outstanding track record of saving lives.
A request for assistance can be made direct to IRC Headquarters or, following news of a disaster being received we will make the initial contact. Permission to enter the country and confirmation that the IRC’s assistance is required will always be obtained prior to mobilisation.
IRC Headquarters will be manned 24 hours a day by volunteer staff throughout the mission, maintaining communication and close liaison with the team and host government.
Often, the first introduction that people have to the International Rescue Corps is when they see the distinctive royal blue overalls in television news footage of a disaster, whether at home or abroad. You may have seen or read about IRC’s involvement in missing person searches, or helping rescue the victims of train crashes; floods; earth¬quakes and factory explosions.
The kind of work that we do and the intensity of training and attending disasters around the world means that our members are a tight knit team, often referring to IRC as a ‘second family’ Our members come from all different walks of life but the one thing that everyone has in common is that they are volunteers. There are no paid employees within the Corps. The transformation of a new member to a fully-trained Operational member is a process that takes a minimum of three years.
Certified College Course
We are the only UK search and rescue team to be classed as an educational institution via the National Open College Network. This means that we are robustly audited and our teaching methods and assessments verified at several points throughout the year.
All Operational members, whatever their previous skills or knowledge, must complete and pass the NOCN course and a series of challenging tests and exercises before being considered ‘operational’. Due to the wide variety of missions that the Corps may find itself deployed upon and Health & Safety legislation, the training for Operational members must include all the skills needed to carry out the mission safely and successfully in each of these environments.