Urban Search and Rescue (USAR): The 5 Categories of Equipment in a Cache


Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) is a general term for a group of specialized rescue skills used to form a team with capabilities that include, search, medical and structural assessment capacity. Heavy USAR (HUSAR) teams locate trapped people in collapsed structures using specially trained dogs and electronic search equipment.

These teams breach, shore, lift and remove structural components, use heavy construction equipment to remove debris, and medically treat and transfer victims. There are 5 categories of equipment usually associated with a USAR team; Medical, Search and Rescue, Communications, Technical Support and Logistics. Here is some further detail;


The medical portion of the equipment includes tools to provide sophisticated medical treatment for victims. Often included are supplies to provide limited treatment of disaster search canines. The treatment materials are designed to be enough to handle critical cases, moderate cases and minor cases. Items include medicines, intravenous fluids, blankets, airways, tracheal tubes, defibrillators, burn treatment supplies, bone saws and scalpels.

Search and Rescue

Contains all the equipment that the Search and Rescue teams will need to extricate victims from debris. Technical search tools include telescopic cameras with heat detecting sensors and seismic listening devices. Construction type equipment is also used such as; concrete saws, jackhammers, drills and rope, and technical rescue type equipment.


Generators, lights, radios, cellular phones, laptop computers are some equipment which the team personnel will be issued. Portable radios are provided at the point of departure to a disaster. Radios operated will have a range capable of penetrating structures.

Technical support

Teams will use snake-like cameras, fiberscopes, sensitive listening devices, measuring devices such as laser rangefinders, strain gauges and levels. They will also use haz-mat equipment and support equipment for canines such as kennels, harnesses and sleeping pads.


This is equipment used to maintain the team. It includes sleeping bags, cots, food and water, as well as cold weather gear, portable toilets, portable showers. Also included is safety equipment such as gloves, earplugs, kneepads, respirators and protective eyewear. Along with administrative equipment such as office supplies and reference materials.

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