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3.3 General Guidance on Providing Support on Scene

Written by David Jardine-Smith. Posted in Resources

Contents

Contents

This paper discusses:

o   the balance between 'traditional' rescue and on-scene support
o   the types of casualty in which on-scene support may be a viable alternative
o   on-scene support prior to retrieval
o   on-scene support instead of retrieval
o   specialised on-scene support to enable retrieval

1 Overview

1 Overview

1.1 For a general introduction to the IMRF's mass rescue operations (MRO) guidance, please see MRO guidance paper 1.1 'Complex incident planning – the challenge: acknowledging the problem, and mass rescue incident types'.

1.2 Guidance paper 1.4 discusses the 'capability gap' inherent in the IMO's definition of a mass rescue operation as 'characterised by the need for immediate response to large numbers of persons in distress such that the capabilities normally available to the SAR authorities are inadequate'. Guidance paper 1.4 suggests three ways of filling this gap: regional cooperation; identifying additional rescue resources; and extending the time available for rescue by supporting those in distress on scene.

1.3 The guidance papers in this section focus on these three ways of filling the capability gap, and also consider some of the funding issues inevitable to MRO planning and response. The identification of additional rescue resources is considered in guidance paper 3.1. We look at the cooperative use of regional resources in guidance paper 3.2. Funding issues are discussed in guidance paper 3.4. This paper considers means of 'extending survival times' by using specialist resources and responses on scene.

2 'Rescue': Retrieval or Support?

2 'Rescue': Retrieval or Support?

2.1 Before we look at various ways of 'extending survival times', we should pause to consider what we mean by 'rescue', and whether the traditional view of rescue can be too limiting.

2.2 The IMO define rescue as the 'operation to retrieve persons in distress, provide for their initial medical or other needs and deliver them to a place of safety'. The idea of 'retrieval' comes from what we may call the traditional view of rescue: someone is in trouble at sea, a suitable unit goes out, picks them up and brings them to safety, tending to their immediate needs on the way.

2.3 In an MRO, however, we should think, and plan, more widely. 'Retrieval' means picking people up from their own vessel or survival craft or from the water. If people are in the water they will need retrieving if they cannot rescue themselves. But this is not necessarily so in other scenarios. If they are reasonably safe aboard their own vessel (despite the problem that has led to the emergency) or in their survival craft, there is no absolute requirement to remove them from that platform into a rescue unit. In an MRO we have the capability gap to consider: we cannot retrieve everyone at once. But we can help fill that gap by not attempting to rescue everyone at once – always assuming that the people we leave in situ will survive for the time being.

2.4 If we think about the remainder of the 'rescue' definition – that is, everything other than the 'retrieval' part – we see that it still applies whether people are 'retrieved' or 'supported'. People will still need to be taken to a place of safety, and will have immediate needs to be attended to in the meantime. There is still an emergency and a need for large-scale emergency response; particularly in the shoreside part of the operation, which will be unaltered if people are brought in aboard survival craft, and not greatly altered if they remain aboard the casualty vessel until it is alongside. The at-sea part of the operation, however, will be fundamentally different. Traditionally, we speak of 'search and rescue' at sea. In an MRO we might, in some circumstances, consider an alternative to this: 'locate and support'.

2.5 To summarise this dual approach we might effectively amend the definition of 'rescue' to read 'an operation to retrieve or support persons in distress, provide for their initial medical or other needs and deliver them to a place of safety'.

2.6 We still have to plan for a large-scale response at sea because full-scale retrieval may still be necessary even if the initial plan is to keep people aboard the casualty vessel. Responders need to be prepared for a range of possibilities: on-scene support, 'traditional' rescue, or combinations of the two. It is because of this range of possibilities that we go beyond the IMO definition of 'rescue' in our discussion of MROs in these guidance papers. It might be argued that people who remain aboard the casualty vessel until it arrives in port have not been 'rescued'. But this is irrelevant. The overall response structure will still be complex whether people are retrieved at sea or remain aboard their vessel and are supported there until they can be brought to safety.

3 Types of Casualty

3 Types of Casualty

3.1 There are many potential causes of MROs. We have noted that the cause is less important than the effect – a large number of people need to be rescued, in our wider sense, whatever the cause. But we should still consider the main causal types identified in guidance paper 1.1 when thinking about how support can be provided on scene. Broadly speaking, these incident types are:

o   passenger ship emergencies
o   offshore industry emergencies
o   passenger aircraft ditching
o   multiple incidents occurring simultaneously
o   migrants in unseaworthy vessels
o   land-based emergencies requiring rescue by sea.

3.2 In passenger ship emergencies the full range of support and rescue may be required, depending on the type of ship and the nature of the emergency. Large modern passenger ships are designed to remain habitable in the damaged condition – after partial flooding or a fire, for example. On the principle that 'the ship is the best lifeboat', the ship is intended to remain upright, and her people can be kept on board until the emergency is over; usually when the ship has been brought in to a port of refuge. The vessel's vertical compartmentalisation enables the problem to be contained. This design element is meant to deal with the 'MRO problem' by avoiding the need for such an operation (in the 'traditional' sense of evacuating the ship and retrieving people from survival craft). People are brought to the place of safety still aboard the ship.

3.3 The difficulties here are that, while this is a significant and lifesaving step forward in ship design, it does not necessarily remove the need for assistance – and it is not foolproof. If the process works as intended, and evacuation is unnecessary, emergency responders should be liaising with the ship and her operators on what support they may require (see below, and guidance paper 4.1). But there will always be scenarios in which even the most modern ship may have to be evacuated at sea. It is therefore also necessary to plan generally for retrieval. In borderline cases it will be necessary to provide support while the ship tries to make port, while also maintaining a full traditional rescue capability in case the attempt fails. Indeed, providing for this 'Plan B' is good practice in any event in which a ship declares herself in distress.

'Overkill' should be avoided, however. An emergency on board may require an unscheduled port call, or the provision of some specialist aid to the ship at sea – but if the emergency has been successfully contained a full-scale SAR response is not appropriate. On the other hand there have been cases of passenger ships being slow to declare an emergency to the SAR authorities because they fear the public relations consequences of an over-reaction. Emergency responders should allow for the possibility of things being worse than they at first appear, but they should also guard against deploying resources unnecessarily.

3.4 It follows that the full range of response capability should be planned for in such cases – from providing support as discussed below to a full-scale MRO in the traditional sense.

3.5 Evacuation of a passenger vessel is a decision for the vessel's master, and will depend on the circumstances. If there is doubt as to the merits of the various courses of action – remaining aboard, precautionary evacuation of passengers and non-essential crew, or full abandonment – and if time permits, the matter should be discussed by the master, the responsible person in the shipping company ashore and the SAR Mission Coordinator (see guidance paper 4.1). In some circumstances, however, and knowing that an evacuation takes time, it may be necessary for the master to commence an evacuation before all the desired information is available. Waiting until you are sure that an evacuation is necessary may mean waiting too long.

3.6 The recommended response has been usefully called "prudent over-reaction". This does not, of course, mean that an evacuation should always be carried out or that every available SAR resource should always be deployed. That would certainly be over-reaction, but it would not be prudent. 'Prudent over-reaction' means being a few steps ahead so that, if things go worse than hoped, we are ready to deal with the worsening situation. In a passenger ship emergency, for example, getting passengers into warm clothes and lifejackets and moving them to the assembly stations is prudent, as is alerting SAR resources in case they are needed later.

3.7 In offshore industry emergencies, because of the additional risks inherent in the installation's normal operation, it is more often the case that at least a partial evacuation will be ordered as a precaution. This will usually be a controlled measure conducted by the operators themselves, using their own resources, which may include providing some on-board support as discussed below. Peripheral SAR service support may also be required in a precautionary evacuation, but a full MRO response by the SAR authorities and their supporting organisations should not be. However, if the situation is not under control, a full MRO may be required. (For further discussion of this aspect, see guidance paper 4.1.)

3.8 Passenger aircraft ditchings are rare, but in this case on-board support is not an option. People escaping from a ditched aircraft will need to be rescued in the traditional sense. The same is usually true of migrants in unseaworthy vessels, and, by definition, in cases where people need to be rescued by sea from land-based emergencies. Many vessels in distress simultaneously – usually a fleet of small craft overwhelmed by the weather or sea conditions – may present a 'mixed bag' of support and rescue requirements; but traditional rescue is likely to preponderate.

4 On-Scene Support and Retrieval

4 On-Scene Support and Retrieval

4.1 For the purposes of this discussion we can divide the provision of on-scene support into three broad categories: extending survival times by providing support so as to enable retrieval to be delayed until resources are available to undertake it; providing support as an alternative to retrieval; and providing specialist support to enable retrieval. We will consider each in turn.

4.2 The provision of on-scene support is not necessarily an alternative to the other means of filling the capability gap discussed in guidance papers 3.1 & 3.2. If we are trying to help people survive until they can be retrieved, we are still very likely to need additional resources, including regional resources. If the circumstances permit survivors to be supported on scene long enough for the available rescue units to make repeated trips, utilising these units in a shuttle service may be a solution: see below. But we cannot rely on this always being the case.

4.3 If on-scene support is being provided as an alternative to retrieval, the need for a 'Plan B' discussed above means that rescue resources (including additional resources) should still be identified, alerted and, if thought prudent, brought forward to shorten response times, even if not fully deployed to the incident scene.

5 On-Scene Support Prior to Retrieval

5 On-Scene Support Prior to Retrieval

5.1 The main aim throughout rescue is, of course, to preserve life. That is the primary aim too when supporting people on scene. Put simply, we need to help them stay alive until they can be rescued.

5.2 Threats to life will vary according to the circumstances. People in the water without buoyancy aids will drown – sometimes very quickly. People in the water with buoyancy aids will also die, usually because of the cold – and remember that 'cold' water can be as warm as 25°C: see the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual, Volume II chapter 3.8.6. People in survival craft may die from the cold, although less quickly than if they were in the water. They may also die because of injury or other medical condition. In time they will die of thirst. Conversely, people tend to survive longer in any given condition if they know that they have been found and will be rescued.

For full discussion of 'cold' water survival and rescue techniques – including the risks of 'rescue collapse' – see the IMO's MSC Circulars 1185 Rev.1, 'Guide for Cold Water Survival' and 1182 Rev.1, 'Guide to Recovery Techniques'.

5.3 It follows that these threats to life should be addressed in order of priority. If there are people in the water without buoyancy aids who cannot be immediately rescued, buoyancy aids should be dropped to them. Such aids include lifebuoys, lifejackets and liferafts – although anything that floats will be better than nothing.

5.4 Getting people out of the water will be the next priority. If they cannot be recovered directly this means deploying survival craft or similar units. These should be so designed as to be boardable by people who are cold, tired or unfit.

5.5 To ensure that people can be found again when rescue units are available to retrieve them, it may be necessary to provide them with radios, lights, SAR transponders or emergency position-indicating radio beacons, unless a responding unit can be spared to monitor their position.

5.6 Guidance paper 2.6 provides guidance on supporting survivors during rescue, some of which applies to the provision of on-scene support too. Protecting people from the elements, ideally by providing a purpose-built survival craft they can get into, and additional clothing if necessary, is the priority after keeping them from drowning. Medical attention is the next most important consideration, together with the provision of drink and, if possible, food. If two-way communications equipment can be provided this will be of considerable help to the survivors' morale as well as enabling the exchange of information useful to the rescuers.

5.7 Deploying all this equipment will be a matter of lowering or dropping it from SAR units or from additional resources such as vessels of opportunity.

5.8 Fixed-wing SAR aircraft cannot rescue people directly, but they can often be the first on scene and they should be able to drop detection, communications and survival equipment such as liferafts etc. Other designated SAR units should be able to transfer this equipment to the scene and leave it for those they cannot immediately recover. As noted above, in some circumstances a relatively few SAR units can rescue many people by engaging in a shuttle service, either back to the shore or to larger units on or near the scene. This is another means of filling the capability gap – but it is dependent on the people waiting being able, or enabled, to survive until it is their turn to be rescued.

5.9 Implicit in the idea of supplying equipment to help keep people alive until they can be retrieved is the need to have such equipment available to be deployed. While some SAR units may carry some such equipment as a matter of course, only the largest can carry the large quantities that may be required in an MRO. This implies stockpiles of equipment which can be quickly loaded when required – but this, in turn, leads to planning difficulties. MROs are rare, and equipment needs to be bought, stored somewhere, and maintained. Can the expense be justified, for an event that may never happen within range? Where should such stockpiles be sited? Having survival equipment immediately available to designated SAR units will be a more practical proposition in most cases – but it is unlikely to be enough in an MRO.

5.10 Stockpiling equipment may be considered feasible in areas analysed as being at higher risk of experiencing an MRO, or for remote area operations, where it may take a considerable time to get rescue units to the scene: equipment can be airlifted in while the rescue units are en route.

5.11 An alternative to purchasing and stockpiling is to make arrangements with local equipment suppliers on an on-call basis. Realistically, however, this is an idea of limited application so far as at-sea support is concerned. (It is much more practicable as regards preparing shoreside reception facilities: see guidance paper 2.7.)

5.12 Vessels of opportunity will not, of course, be equipped for MROs – but they may be able to supply some of the equipment discussed above from their own stocks. Ships' liferafts and lifejackets as well as lifebuoys can be passed to survivors in the water around them, for example, and other equipment may be transferred to survival craft. MSC Circular 1182 Rev.1, 'Guide to Recovery Techniques', provides guidance on this subject.

In some circumstances, shipping in the area may be able to supply this sort of help quicker than designated SAR units can. While it is a serious matter for any master to deploy the ship's lifesaving appliances in this way, the actual risk to the people in distress can be agreed to outweigh both the hypothetical risk to the ship's crew of some future emergency and the expense involved.

5.13 It will be of great help if rescue personnel can be deployed to assist people being supported on scene pending rescue. Rescue personnel can assist people to board survival craft and can tend them there, undertaking triage, carrying out first aid, and reporting on their condition. Their presence will also calm survivors and raise their confidence, which will in itself extend their survival times.

5.14 The capability level of these supporting personnel can vary according to circumstances, but an individual should never be expected to undertake such work if too great a risk is entailed. Rescue personnel are unlikely to be deployed into survival craft from vessels of opportunity for the simple reasons that they are unlikely to have the necessary training and equipment, and if it is safe to deploy them it should also be safe to recover the survivors into the parent vessel. If recovery is not an option for them, such vessels will be more use providing equipment to survivors and standing by to give them some shelter and to direct rescuers to them. Designated SAR unit crews, on the other hand, can be trained for the on-scene support task. Some are very highly trained indeed: aircraft-deployed SAR Technicians, for example, can be deployed by air to remote-area SAR cases, and would be invaluable as forward responders in an MRO.

6 On-Scene Support Instead of Retrieval

6 On-Scene Support Instead of Retrieval

6.1 On-scene support as an alternative response to traditional SAR will usually mean on-board support – and this generally means that, as discussed above, the incident involves a passenger ship.

6.2 However, an interim scenario between 'traditional' SAR and on-board support while the casualty vessel is brought into port is one in which survival craft are either towed to a place of safety or reach it under their own power. This will usually be when the incident occurs near to a harbour. People in survival craft which have simply headed for the nearest beach will still need to be retrieved from that location. Survival craft on passage to a place of safety should be supported in the same way as survivors waiting on scene for rescue, as discussed above.

6.3 The IMO's MSC Circular 1183 contains 'Guidelines on the provision of external support as an aid to incident containment for SAR authorities and others concerned'.

The Circular usefully summarises the subject of on-board support to help avoid the need for a full-scale retrieval operation. Its introduction notes that

"In addition to the services that SAR authorities provide in accordance with the SAR Convention, other emergency support can be provided or arranged in order to assist the ship to remain habitable. While there is no obligation on SAR authorities to provide such services, they may be best-suited to assist if appropriate plans and resources to do so are developed." And it concludes: "The safety of those involved in an emergency remains the chief priority at all times. If a ship remains habitable following an emergency, the SAR authorities and others concerned should seek to provide support as an aid to containing the emergency and specifically to reduce the need for evacuation."

6.4 MSC Circular 1183 lists the following types of on-board assistance that may be available:

o   Fire-fighting personnel and equipment
o   Assistance in extricating people who are trapped
o   Salvage personnel and equipment
o   Emergency towing
o   Damage control equipment
o   Engineering support
o   Medical assistance
o   Decontamination teams
o   Welfare support – shelter, water, food, heating, clothing and additional lifesaving equipment
o   Security support
o   Extra communications – personnel and equipment, including interpreters if necessary
o   SAR liaison support – assistance with on-scene coordination and communications
o   Other specialist support – marine pilots and other officers from the coastal State, and additional or replacement ship's staff, for example.

6.5 Not all of these are SAR facilities, of course – but that is the point. In responding to emergencies of this scale we need to think holistically. It is agreed that saving life takes precedence over protecting the marine environment, which in turn takes precedence over salving property. But if you save a ship, you save those aboard her. Filling the MRO capability gap involves using whatever resources are to hand.

6.6 Some of the resources listed above – firefighters and other on-board rescue personnel, including divers – may be used to assist during retrieval. We discuss this further below.

6.7 MSC Circular 1183 goes on to emphasise the importance of identifying all such resources, agreeing response procedures with their providers, and maintaining a register of the resources available. It points out the need to coordinate with the operator of the ship or other casualty in this respect, and cites IMO Assembly Resolution A.950(23), which deals with the concept, establishment and duties of the Maritime Assistance Service (MAS), "the point of contact between ships and the coastal State for incidents which do not amount to distress". Many of the on-board support functions listed above would normally fall into this category but, as discussed above, can have major parts to play in an MRO too. The Resolution suggests that the MAS function should be vested in the Rescue Coordination Centre, giving a single point of contact between the coastal State and any ship with an emergency to report.

6.8 The support given directly to survivors during the transfer to a place of safety should be the same whether they are aboard a rescue unit or still on their own vessel. See guidance paper 2.6.

7 Providing Specialist Support to Enable Retrieval

7 Providing Specialist Support to Enable Retrieval

7.1 We consider retrieval in general terms in guidance paper 2.4. But we must also consider the possibility that people will be trapped on board the casualty unit – the ship, offshore installation or ditched aircraft. This may be the result of fire, flooding or other damage, and retrieval of people in such circumstances may be beyond the capability of 'traditional' SAR unit crews.

7.2 Again, the MRO planner should liaise with the relevant specialists: firefighters, divers and salvage experts, as recommended in MSC Circular 1183. Procedures for alerting the necessary specialist units, transporting them to the scene, and supporting them there should be agreed at the planning stage.

7.3 The details of these special capabilities are outside the scope of the IAMSAR Manual, other IMO guidance or these guidance papers. What can and cannot be done in this regard should be a matter for discussion between the MRO planner and the specialist units themselves.

8 Summary

8 Summary

o   'Traditional' maritime rescue – retrieval of survivors and their transfer to a place of safety aboard a rescue unit – is not the only option available. On-scene support may be used to supplement or even replace this approach in some circumstances.
o   MRO planners and response organisations should be ready for either option, or a combination of both.
o   The 'support' approach is more likely to be applicable in some types of casualty, especially passenger ships, than in others.
o   On-scene support should not be seen as the answer to the 'MRO problem'. It will work in some cases, but not all.
o   On-scene support should be provided in priority order: preventing drowning, providing shelter, providing detection aids, providing medical care and sustenance, providing communications. If rescue personnel can be deployed to tend survivors while they await rescue, so much the better.
o   Consideration should be given to stockpiling the necessary equipment in some circumstances, and to its delivery by SAR units. Vessels of opportunity should be encouraged to deploy their own equipment if it will save lives.
o   On-scene support may be an alternative to 'traditional' rescue in some circumstances, particularly on passenger ships which, although in difficulty, can be maintained in a reasonably safe condition.
o   Specialist support may be needed to retrieve people trapped aboard casualty units. Providers of such support should be identified and involved in the MRO planning.

9 Further Reading

9 Further Reading

9.1 For further reading on resourcing mass rescue operations, follow this link.

9.2 For on-board support, see IMO's MSC Circular 1183, 'Guidelines on the provision of external support as an aid to incident containment for SAR authorities and others concerned'; and for survivor support during rescue see guidance papers 2.4 & 2.6.

9.3 MSC Circular 1182, Rev.1, 'Guide to Recovery Techniques', and the IMO Pocket Guide to Recovery Techniques include guidance on providing assistance prior to recovery, and on standing by survivors when they cannot be recovered immediately.

3.4 General Guidance on Funding

Written by David Jardine-Smith. Posted in Resources

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Contents

Contents

This paper discusses:

o   the problem of funding rare but large-scale and challenging operations
o   permanent SAR capability, compared to that required for MROs
o   the funding of MROs in progress – at sea and ashore
o   the need to ensure that questions of cost and payment do not delay response
o   planning and preparing for MROs as necessary, and ongoing, expenses
o   the categories of expenditure to be expected in planning, training, and the testing of plans and training

1 Overview

1 Overview

1.1 For a general introduction to the IMRF's mass rescue operations (MRO) guidance, please see MRO guidance paper 1.1 'Complex incident planning – the challenge: acknowledging the problem, and mass rescue incident types'.

1.2 Guidance paper 1.4 discusses the 'capability gap' inherent in the IMO's definition of a mass rescue operation as 'characterised by the need for immediate response to large numbers of persons in distress such that the capabilities normally available to the SAR authorities are inadequate'. Guidance paper 1.4 suggests three ways of filling this gap: regional cooperation; identifying additional rescue resources; and extending the time available for rescue by supporting those in distress on scene.

1.3 The other guidance papers in this section focus on these three ways of filling the capability gap. The identification of additional rescue resources is discussed in guidance paper 3.1. The use of regional resources is considered in guidance paper 3.2. We look at 'extending survival times' by using specialist resources, including on-board support, in guidance paper 3.3. In this paper we consider some of the funding issues inevitable to MRO planning and response.

2 The Funding Problem

2 The Funding Problem

2.1 Funding is one of the basic issues underlying the MRO question. An MRO, by definition, is one in which "the capabilities normally available to the SAR authorities are inadequate". In other words, what constitutes an MRO depends on the SAR facilities to hand.

2.2 In this guidance we tend to distinguish between 'designated SAR facilities', which are equipped and trained for SAR as at least a part of their regular function, and 'additional facilities' such as vessels of opportunity. We have focussed on the latter in guidance paper 3.1 as one means of helping fill the capability gap. In practice, in many parts of the world, only such 'additional' units will be available for SAR. Reliance on vessels of opportunity and similar units, however, will usually mean that actual response capability at any one time will be uncertain. The more designated SAR facilities available, the more certain will be an adequate SAR response – and the greater the number of people who can be rescued without the incident becoming a 'mass rescue operation'.

2.3 It may be that, as the planning proceeds and the risks are quantified by analysis, a case may be made for enhanced SAR resource provision. The MRO threshold – the point at which extraordinary responses have to be instigated – will rise accordingly. SAR capability will improve in the areas in which enhanced resources can be provided.

2.4 However, the premise underlying the IMO definition of an MRO is that designated SAR facilities cannot cover every eventuality. MROs are rare. The expense of maintaining sufficient resources within range just in case such a rare need arises cannot be justified by governments or individual organisations.

2.5 While this certainly is not a justification for taking no action at all to improve local SAR capability –especially in areas in which heightened risks have been identified – it does mean that the question of MRO funding is primarily one of ensuring that sufficient planning and training have been carried out in preparation for such events. Having sufficient designated SAR facilities for any eventuality permanently on stand-by is simply impractical.

2.6 Nevertheless, there is still significant potential and actual expense involved in MRO preparation and response. As the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual says:

"There will often be resistance to paying the high price in terms of time, effort and funding that preparedness for major incidents entails, particularly as they are rare events. The required levels of cooperation, coordination, planning, resources and exercises required for preparedness are challenging and do not happen without the requisite commitment of SAR authorities, regulatory authorities, transportation companies, sources of military and commercial assistance and others."

IAMSAR Volume II chapter 6.15.11.

3 The Funding of MRO Response

3 The Funding of MRO Response

3.1 There are thus two separate issues to be considered as regards MRO funding: the funding of preparations and the funding of actual response, including its ad hoc components. We will consider the funding of MRO preparations below. First, let us look at the question of funding an MRO actually in progress. We may broadly distinguish between the costs of the at-sea and the shoreside parts of the response.

3.2 Traditionally in at-sea SAR, costs lie where they fall. The obligation to assist people in distress is long-established by custom and international regulation, and the help needed is given freely, both to the casualty and to the coordinating authority. This is the fundamental position, which should be defended.

3.3 In this guidance series, however, we have discussed the extension of 'rescue' into such areas as on-board support and, to an extent, salvage. The people aboard a disabled passenger vessel on a lee shore, for example, are in distress – but their rescue can be achieved by towing their ship to shelter. The line between 'SAR' and 'salvage' is blurred in such cases. Yet one important distinction between SAR and maritime assistance services such as salvage is that the latter is not provided free of charge.

3.4 The important point here is not that questions of payment for non-SAR services – or services seen as being distinct from SAR in the traditional sense – should not arise: they inevitably will. The point is that such questions should not be allowed to delay the response. This, as a general principle, should be understood and accepted at the highest levels of management. Funds should be identified to cover potential MRO expenditure, and means of apportioning these funds without delay should be agreed. MRO planners should seek to ensure a common understanding among stakeholders at the planning stage, identifying any services for which charges may be made, and agreeing a process of assessment and payment which will not delay the MRO itself.

3.5 Not all responders can be involved at the planning stage. The SAR Coordinator (see guidance paper 4.2) should ensure that clear policies and procedures are in place to ensure, so far as possible, that any questions of costs that may arise do not cause delay.

3.6 Questions about the costs of the response ashore should be easier to agree as the stakeholders can be more readily identified and involved at the planning stage. Authorised expenditure – on hiring accommodation and transport, and providing welfare and medical support, for example – should be agreed in general beforehand, as should accounting and payment processes.

4 Funding the Preparation for MROs

4 Funding the Preparation for MROs

4.1 How to handle expenditure at the time of an MRO should have been agreed at the planning stage. Until an MRO occurs, however, it will be the planning and preparation processes themselves that actually require funding.

4.2 The first principle here is that planning and preparing for MROs should not be regarded as an optional expense. It need not be a very great expense, but it is essential to effective response.

4.3 The second principle is that MRO planning and preparation is not a one-off expense. While it will be higher at the outset if plans and training are not yet in place, it will remain an ongoing expense at a lower level once they are. Plans need to be tested and revised over time; training needs to be repeated for new personnel or on a refresher basis.

4.4 Expenditure on planning will chiefly be composed of planners' time and on meeting and other administrative costs – the setting up of websites for sharing plans and information, for example. The initial formulation of the plans will inevitably incur considerable effort, and therefore greater cost. Keeping the plans under frequent review is also necessary, but will be less onerous.

4.5 Planning leads to training, which may be a significant cost in itself, involving trainee and trainer time, travel and accommodation as well as venue and other costs. It should be noted that not everyone needs to be trained in everything, however: training should be carefully and appropriately targeted, which has the additional benefit of keeping the cost down. See guidance paper 5.1.

4.6 Planning and training lead in turn to tests of both, in drills or exercises. These can appear particularly daunting in terms of time, use of resources, hire of equipment and venues, etc. However, it should be noted that not every exercise must (or, indeed, should) be a full-scale live affair, with all the expense such an event entails. Tabletop discussion exercises can sometimes be more valuable, and cost less. See guidance paper 5.3.

4.7 Planning, training and testing all need to be supported at the organisational level as well as in concert with other stakeholders, which implies and includes the necessary funding. Identifying, agreeing and allocating the necessary funds is a part of the ongoing planning process.

5 Summary

5 Summary

o   Funding the capability to respond to rare and challenging events is a question of balance.
o   The level of SAR capability resourced should be based on risk assessment. It will be less than that needed to deal with every conceivable MRO, for practical economic reasons.
o   MRO funding is therefore a matter of funding planning, training, and the testing of plans and training, and being prepared to fund the additional expenses likely to occur in an actual operation.
o   As regards expenditure, the main aim throughout is to ensure that no delay occurs during an MRO due to uncertainties or disputes over cost and payment. This, as a general principle, should be understood and accepted at the highest management levels.
o   MRO funding should be accepted as both a necessary and an ongoing expense.

6 Further Reading

6 Further Reading

6.1 For further reading on resourcing mass rescue operations, follow this link.

6.2 The IAMSAR Manual discusses SAR funding in general in Volume I, particularly at chapter 5.4, 'Resources'. MRO funding is discussed briefly at Volume II chapter 6.15.11, quoted in full above.

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3.1 General Guidance on Identifying Additional Resources

Written by David Jardine-Smith. Posted in Resources

Contents

Contents

This paper discusses:

o   the need to identify additional SAR resources to help fill the 'capability gap'
o   possible additional search resources
o   possible additional rescue resources
o   building known local resources into the planning
o   planning generically to include resources that happen to be in the area at the time
o   planning for the potential involvement of volunteer 'non-professionals'
o   planning additional shoreside resources
o   planning additional coordination resources

1 Overview

1 Overview

1.1 For a general introduction to the IMRF's mass rescue operations (MRO) guidance, please see MRO guidance paper 1.1 'Complex incident planning – the challenge: acknowledging the problem, and mass rescue incident types'.

1.2 Guidance paper 1.4 discusses the 'capability gap' inherent in the IMO's definition of a mass rescue operation as 'characterised by the need for immediate response to large numbers of persons in distress such that the capabilities normally available to the SAR authorities are inadequate'. Guidance paper 1.4 suggests three ways of filling this gap: regional cooperation; identifying additional rescue resources; and extending the time available for rescue by supporting those in distress on scene.

1.3 The guidance papers in this section focus on these three ways of filling the capability gap, and also consider some of the funding issues inevitable to MRO planning and response. The use of regional resources is considered in guidance paper 3.2. We look at 'extending survival times' by using specialist resources, including on-board support, in guidance paper 3.3. Funding issues are discussed in guidance paper 3.4. This paper considers the most obvious means of extending rescue capability to fill the gap: identifying additional SAR resources.

2 Search, and Rescue

2 Search, and Rescue

2.1 In this guidance material we tend to focus on the rescue part of search and rescue. This is partly because the search area will be relatively small in many cases in which an MRO is required: a sinking passenger ship, for example. However, there are other scenarios in which this will not be the case.

2.2 The organisation and conduct of searches at sea are specialised subjects, well covered in the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual. The reader should refer to Volume II chapters 4 & 5 and Volume III. Guidance paper 2.5 also refers to the search aspects of an MRO.

2.3 Many of the units best-suited to searching at sea are also those best-suited to rescue operations – the retrieval of people from the scene of the emergency and their transport to a place of safety. However, by definition, there are insufficient such units available in an MRO. We should therefore consider how to find additional search and rescue units. IAMSAR Volume II chapter 1.3 also provides guidance on this.

3 Identifying Additional Search Resources

3 Identifying Additional Search Resources

3.1 The lack of sufficient designated SAR units in an MRO means that those units which are capable of carrying out rescue should be reserved for that part of the operation. Some designated SAR units that cannot rescue people – typically fixed-wing aircraft – may be required in a communications or coordination capacity, for example as Aircraft Coordinator. See guidance papers 4.5, 4.6 & 4.7.

3.2 It follows that additional search units may be required in an MRO, particularly one which involves a large search area. MRO planners and coordinators should consider the following resources in particular for this purpose:

o   aircraft incapable of carrying out rescues and not required for coordination / communication work (or capable of combining these tasks with a search function)
o   units for which it would be unduly hazardous to attempt to carry out rescue work in the prevailing conditions
o   units not required for rescue work because there are sufficient other units on scene better able to carry it out
o   for incidents close inshore, land SAR units able to see the search area.

4 Identifying Additional Rescue Facilities

4 Identifying Additional Rescue Facilities

4.1 Although there will be a search element in an MRO – and in some cases this will require major effort – the chief concern is likely to be finding sufficient rescue capacity; that is, enough units to retrieve the people in distress and transfer them to a place of safety. (See guidance papers 2.4, 2.5 , 2.6 & 2.7 for discussion of the rescue process.)

4.2 The extra rescue resource required must be identified from among units in the area which, although not designated SAR units, are still capable of carrying out rescue operations in the prevailing conditions. These units are likely to include:

o   rescue-capable military and civilian aircraft – usually helicopters fitted with winches or able to land on or low-hover to recover casualties
o   merchant shipping in the area, including ferries
o   government vessels in the area, including military, customs and border control craft
o   port and harbour authority vessels nearby
o   offshore industry support craft in the area
o   fishing vessels in the area
o   leisure vessels in the area.

4.3 These can be roughly grouped into two broad categories: units known to operate in a particular area, and units that just happen to be in the area at the time of the incident.

4.4 When vessels or rescue-capable aircraft operate in a particular area, MRO planning for that area can specifically include them. For example, where two or more ferries are working a particular route, they can support each other in the event of an emergency: they should be prepared to do so, and their capability and availability should be built into the MRO plan for that area. This capability extends beyond a ferry accident: the vessels concerned, ready to help each other, will also be ready to help in other cases. The same principle applies to offshore industry support vessels. Although they are there principally to support the offshore installations they serve, they will also be prime additional facilities for other MROs within their reach. Other vessels which operate in a specific area should also be built into the planning. If they are potentially useful resources, include them!

4.5 Other units will simply happen to be in or passing through the area when the emergency is declared. They too will be useful and should also be included in the planning but, in this case, generically. Traffic patterns should be analysed to gain an idea of the sort of resource that can generally be expected to be available.

4.6 In both cases – units that can be pre-identified, and passers-by – the crucial questions are how to alert them to the emergency and how to best use them in the MRO. The alerting process should be part of the planned MRO communications network: see guidance paper 4.9. IAMSAR Volume II chapter 1.3 discusses identification and broadcast alerting systems that should be available to the Rescue Coordination Centre. At the beginning of an MRO there will be a huge amount of information to gather and much pressure on communications systems in consequence; but finding out who is available to help with the rescue, and asking for their help, should be an early priority. For the use of both surface units and aircraft, whether designated SAR units or not, see guidance papers 4.6 & 4.7 .

4.7 A class of potential responders and rescuers that requires additional attention are the 'non-professionals', if we may call them that to distinguish them from those about whose capabilities, including communications capabilities, we can be more certain. These 'non-professionals' will chiefly be leisure craft in the area. While it is important to acknowledge that some of their crews will be highly capable, and their vessels potentially very useful, the problem for the SAR Mission Coordinator lies in not knowing whether or not this is the case, particularly in terms of crew capability. Well-meaning but inexperienced leisure boaters can put at risk their own lives, those of other rescuers, and those they are trying to save.

4.8 Guidance papers 4.44.6 discuss how such craft might be used – or not used. Here we must identify that, in some scenarios, they may represent additional rescue and/or search resource. We should also acknowledge that, where such craft are present, they are likely to respond. If an obvious incident occurs in an area busy with leisure craft, many will want to help. Means of controlling and coordinating their actions will have to be established – and communicating with some of them may be difficult. Again, see guidance papers 4.4 & 4.9 .

5 Additional Shoreside Facilities

5 Additional Shoreside Facilities

5.1 'Rescue' includes delivery to a place of safety, usually ashore. Significant measures need to be put in place at the place(s) of safety, as discussed in guidance paper 2.7 . These will include facilities such as reception centres and transport, the provision of which will be part of the MRO planning. Necessary facilities additional to those under the direct control of the emergency response authorities should be identified at the planning stage.

5.2 As noted above when discussing the offshore phase of the MRO, volunteers who were not part of the original planning may well come forward offering to assist in the shoreside response. Some will have useful capabilities; but including them in the response on an ad hoc basis involves risks, including disruption of the planned process. MRO planners should develop a policy on whether, and how, to use such volunteers, and how to communicate that policy at the time of an incident.

6 Additional Coordiantion Facilities

6 Additional Coordination Facilities

6.1 The capability gap is not necessarily restricted to the rescue itself. Maritime and shoreside emergency response coordination facilities designed and staffed for day-to-day work are likely to be inadequate in an MRO. The communications traffic in particular will be greatly increased, with more information to be gathered and exchanged and more units and organisations to talk to.

6.2 It follows that additional coordination facilities should be identified at the planning stage, both in terms of additional staff and, if necessary, equipment at the usual coordination facilities, and additional points in the coordination structure. These should include an On Scene Coordinator and, if multiple aircraft are involved, an Aircraft Coordinator, and additional coordination and communications facilities at landing sites and reception centres etc.

6.3 Key coordinators at each of these points, and especially at the main coordination centres, should be specifically trained in MRO coordination, including, of course, the local MRO plan. In some circumstances it may not be possible for the On Scene Coordinator appointed to have had this specific training; when the master of a passing ship is given the role, for example. In such cases the SAR Mission Coordinator should ensure that the On Scene Coordinator understands as much of the plan as is necessary. See guidance papers 4.1, 4.3, 4.4 4.5 & 4.8 for discussion of the various links in the coordination structure.

7 Summary

7 Summary

o   One of the ways of filling the MRO 'capability gap' is by identifying additional SAR resource.
o   We may need additional search as well as rescue facilities.
o   Units selected for search action should be unsuited for rescue work, or sufficient more capable rescue units should be available.
o   There are two broad categories of potential additional rescue facility: those that can be previously identified as likely to be in a particular area and which can therefore be specifically included in the MRO plan; and those which simply happen to be in the area when the incident occurs and which can only be included in the plan generically. The plan should include how units in both categories are to be identified and alerted.
o   Additional facilities will also be required ashore, and to supplement coordination of the MRO. These should be identified and included at the planning stage.
o   A policy should be developed and procedures agreed regarding help volunteered by 'non-professionals'.

8 Further Reading

8 Further Reading

8.1 For further reading on resourcing mass rescue operations, follow this link.

8.2 IAMSAR Volume II chapter 1.3 discusses the identification and alerting of additional SAR resources, and the reader should also consult Volume II appendix G, 'Facilities and equipment selection'. Sections G.1-4 are particularly helpful on the selection of SAR facilities for maritime MROs.

8.3 For detailed guidance on searching, the reader is referred to IAMSAR Volume II chapters 4 & 5, and Volume III.

3.2 General Guidance on the Use of Regional Resources

Written by David Jardine-Smith. Posted in Resources

 

Contents

Contents

This paper discusses:

o   the cooperative use of regional resources to extend SAR capability
o   extending operational and tactical mutual support arrangements between neighbouring States into the strategic sphere for MRO planning purposes
o   the recommendations of the United Nations and its specialised agencies regarding regional cooperation
o   the types of resource that may be shared by States regionally
o   planning, training and exercising regionally
o   other regional, non-governmental resources that may be available

1 Overview

1 Overview

1.1 For a general introduction to the IMRF's mass rescue operations (MRO) guidance, please see MRO guidance paper 1.1 'Complex incident planning – the challenge: acknowledging the problem, and mass rescue incident types'.

1.2 Guidance paper 1.4 discusses the 'capability gap' inherent in the IMO's definition of a mass rescue operation as 'characterised by the need for immediate response to large numbers of persons in distress such that the capabilities normally available to the SAR authorities are inadequate'. Guidance paper 1.4 suggests three ways of filling this gap: regional cooperation; identifying additional rescue resources; and extending the time available for rescue by supporting those in distress on scene.

1.3 The guidance papers in this section focus on these three ways of filling the capability gap, and also consider some of the funding issues inevitable to MRO planning and response. The identification of additional rescue resources is considered in guidance paper 3.1. We look at 'extending survival times' by using specialist resources, including on-board support, in guidance paper 3.3. Funding issues are discussed in guidance paper 3.4. This paper considers the cooperative use of regional resources to extend search and rescue capability.

2 Regional Cooperation Between States

2 Regional Cooperation Between States

2.1 It should always be the case that, in the event of any SAR operation at or near the borders of different SAR Regions, the relevant States will cooperate in the response, sharing SAR facilities etc. Usually one State will take the coordination lead and the other(s) will act in support, to avoid confusion on scene. In some cases the places of safety to which survivors are taken will be in more than one State. This international response needs to be carefully coordinated by and between the States concerned.

2.2 It makes good operational and tactical sense, therefore, for neighbouring States to plan cooperatively for 'normal' SAR incidents near the boundaries of their SAR Regions and to exercise their plans together, so that they are ready to respond efficiently in such cases.

2.3 This mutual support arrangement can be extended into the strategic sphere for MROs, assessing all potential resources in the wider region. Distances, and therefore transit and on-scene endurance times, may limit the extent to which States can share on-scene search and rescue resources, but, where it is feasible to do so, every effort should be made to help close the 'capability gap' by this means. Borders should not hold back SAR resources.

2.4 We recognise that there are sometimes tensions between neighbouring States, concerning disputes over territorial waters, for example. But it is generally agreed internationally that lifesaving at sea takes precedence over such concerns. This guidance is written in that spirit, and in the spirit of the relevant international Conventions – the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (the 'SAR Convention'), the Convention on International Civil Aviation, and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

4 Regional Cooperation Between States on MRO Planning

4 Regional Cooperation Between States on MRO Planning

4.1 As well as concerns about territorial rights etc, it may be felt that there is a political difficulty in the cooperative approach, along the lines of 'We should be able to do this by ourselves'. But an MRO, by definition, cannot be handled with the resources normally available. Anyone in favour of self-sufficiency in this regard must either significantly increase their spending on permanent resources or show that they can manage with the additional facilities likely to be available at the time of any incident (see guidance paper 3.1). The first option is unlikely to make economic sense, granted the rarity of such incidents (see guidance paper 3.4).

4.2 The second option, the identification of additional SAR resources, should be part of the MRO planning in any event. In some cases neighbouring States may be too far apart geographically to make on-scene resource-sharing a practical option (although mutual support can still be a possibility – see below). Where resource-sharing does make practical sense, however, it should be included in the planning in addition to the other ways of filling the MRO capability gap discussed in guidance papers 3.1 & 3.3.

4.3 This requires a strategic approach, at the SAR Coordinator level (see guidance paper 4.2). SAR Coordinators should link their MRO planning regionally, to make best use of all available resources. These may include:

o   COORDINATION FACILITIES: with modern telecommunications equipment, rescue coordination centres can be remote from the MRO. It may be best use of the available resource to agree a regional centre, suitably staffed and equipped, to lead on an MRO wherever the incident occurs across the region. IAMSAR Volume I notes that "Each SRR [SAR Region] needs an RCC [Rescue Coordination Centre], but each State does not necessarily need an SRR if one RCC can be supported by and serve more than one State" (Chapter 1.7.1).
o   COMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES: an MRO inevitably involves very many communication requirements, but the load can be shared, by prior agreement.
o   SAR FACILITIES: units to actually do the search and rescue work on scene. A pre-planned regional pooling of surface and air SAR assets will obviously increase capability, always provided that they can reach the scene within survival times. IAMSAR Volume I makes these points at Chapter 1.7.2.
o   LANDING SITES, and the shoreside facilities to service them. As discussed in guidance paper 4.8, the nearest landing site to the incident is not necessarily the best. An MRO will involve major demands on shoreside transport, medical and survivor reception facilities. It may be that the best landing site – in terms of accessibility as well as infrastructure – is in a neighbouring State. It will also spread the load if, granted the necessary access and shoreside support, several landing sites are used, and again it is possible that these will be in more than one State across the region. This approach gives rise to additional challenges of international information exchange, but that is preferable to overloading landing sites locally.

4.4 SAR Coordinators should liaise with their counterparts in neighbouring States to agree the mutual assistance that can be provided in the event of an MRO. In doing so, it should be noted that mutual support goes beyond the provision of SAR units on scene. Regional rescue coordination arrangements have already been mentioned, for example. Search planning can also be done remotely, relieving the lead rescue coordination centre of that particular task. And States too remote to send rescue units to help with the at-sea operation may still be able to provide help later in the rescue process, sharing medical, transport, welfare support and/or communications resources.

4.5 If it is agreed that there would be benefits in cooperating regionally in one or more of these areas – rescue support, on scene or later; search and search planning support; coordination and communications support, etc – SAR Coordinators should arrange either to link their individual MRO plans or to draw up a regional MRO plan. See guidance paper 2.1.

4.6 Regional planning should then lead to regional training. There are considerable benefits to be achieved in training people from across the region together, especially those who may be interacting directly when an MRO occurs. This training should at least include the international, regional element of the planning. See guidance paper 5.1.

4.7 Finally, to test both planning and training, regional exercises should be arranged: see guidance paper 5.3.

5 Other Regional Resources

5 Other Regional Resources

5.1 So far we have discussed regional cooperation between governments. It should also be remembered that there may be other resources in the region which can help fill the capability gap.

5.2 We discuss the involvement of air and surface craft operating in the area in guidance paper 3.1, including the units associated with the various offshore industries (oil, gas, wind etc). These industries usually have sophisticated shore-based emergency response systems in place in support of their own personnel. This resource too may be of significant help in MROs generally. Where there is such an industry presence, the operators should be included in the planning.

6 Summary

6 Summary

o   Neighbouring States should cooperate as necessary in any SAR operation. 
o   Regional mutual support arrangements should extend to the strategic level for MRO planning purposes, to help close the 'capability gap'.
o   This approach is recommended in international conventions, regulations and guidance. Local tensions or national pride should not be allowed to impede this humanitarian work.
o    Activities and resources that may be shared include search planning, rescue coordination, communications facilities, surface and air SAR assets, landing sites, and shoreside resources and infrastructure.
o    If benefits through regional cooperation are identified, MRO plans should be linked regionally or a regional MRO plan should be agreed; responders should be trained in the plan; and both plan and training should be tested.
o    All regional resources should be considered in this respect, including non-governmental resources such as those of the offshore industries.

7 Further Reading

7 Further Reading

7.1 For further reading on resourcing mass rescue operations, follow this link.

7.2 As noted above, the UN and their specialised agencies, the IMO and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommend regional cooperation in various Conventions and other texts. In the IAMSAR Manual the subject is covered in Volume I chapter 1, especially sections 1.6 & 1.7, and in Volume II chapter 1.1.

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