Published 10 February 2023

Latest update from the International Search and Rescue Team (UKISAR) in Turkey

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The UK International Search and Rescue team are successfully rescuing people buried under rubble in Turkey, including three members of one family.

All survivors were rescued from collapsed structures. The search and rescue dogs have successfully aided operations also with a number of people detected.

The 77-strong team from UK fire and rescue services arrived in Turkey earlier in the week – along with four specialist search and rescue dogs – to assist with search and rescue operations following the devastating earthquakes.

The team deployed through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office following a request for assistance from the Republic of Türkiye, after it announced its highest level of state emergency (level 4).

All personnel are now actively undertaking search and rescue operations, providing specialist technical support and expertise where it is needed most.

Following their arrival, the team established its base of operations in Hatay and began surveying buildings for live casualties as directed by the USAR coordination cell.

This is to identify worksites for rescue teams to start working on and ensuring the right teams are dispatched to the right places – with the most suitable equipment to undertake and complete live recues.

This approach also helps to support coordination of local, national and international teams as UKISAR locates people needing urgent assistance.

Other work includes liaising with local emergency authorities and national emergency management agencies – and deploying rapid assessment teams with the search dogs.

The team also includes medics, a structural engineer and a vet.

UKISAR has specialist search equipment including seismic listening devices to detect and locate people, concrete cutting and breaking equipment, propping and shoring tools, listening and heavy lifting equipment.

The team is on permanent standby to mobilise and assist when requested by disaster-affected countries. It always deploys as an official UK government team once a request has been made for assistance.

  • The team is made up from fire services in: Cheshire, Essex, Greater Manchester, Hampshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, London, Mid and West Wales, Merseyside, Scotland, South Wales and West Midlands.
  • The specialist team being deployed will undertake search and rescue work using a range of technical expertise, kit and equipment in a bid to save lives, while supporting other emergency services teams already working tirelessly in the area. The team will undertake work where it is needed most, over the next 14 days.
  • The team responds primarily to overseas urban search and rescue emergencies on behalf of the UK.
  • Any UKISAR team deployed is self-sufficient upon arrival and provides its own food, water, shelter, sanitation, communications and all necessary equipment to undertake search and rescue operations for up to 14 days.
  • This is to ensure no additional burden is placed upon a country already suffering demands on its resources following a sudden onset disaster.
  • All UKISAR staff are trained to use specialist kit and the equipment being taken will ensure the team has the ability and capacity to lift, cut and remove concrete and rubble from collapsed structures.


  • CDO- Foreign Commonwealth development office funded program supported by participating Fire services.
  • UK ISAR is the Official Government response under the Emergency deployable team program.
  • UK ISAR was established in 1993 with 30 years of experience, deploying internationally to such disasters historically and made up of 14 Fire and rescue services.
  • UK ISAR is a United Nations INSARAG Heavy Classified team assured by experts from across the globe.