National Search And Rescue Committee

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The National Search and Rescue Committee is a federal-level committee formed to coordinate civil search and rescue (SAR) matters of interagency interest within the United States.

2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave, SE * Washington DC 20593
Phone: (202) 372-2090 * Facsimile: (202) 372-8357*
Email NSARC Secretariat here

NSARC Library

Catastrophic Incident SAR
A catastrophic incident, as defined by the National Framework, is any natural or manmade incident, including terrorism, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the population, infrastructure, environment, economy, national morale, and/or government functions. A catastrophic incident could result in sustained national impacts over a prolonged period of time; almost immediately exceeds resources normally available to State, local,tribal, and private-sector authorities in the impacted area; and significantly interrupts governmental operations and emergency services to such an extent that national security could be threatened. All catastrophic incidents are Incidents of National Significance. These factors drive the urgency for coordinated national planning to ensure accelerated Federal/national assistance.

  • Catastrophic Incident SAR Addendum--June 2012
    Catastrophic Incident Search and Rescue (CISAR) Addendum (CIS) to the National SAR Manual Supplement is intended to: 1) provide a concise description of the Federal Government's civil search and rescue (SAR) response to catastrophic incidents; 2) Guide Federal Agencies involved in the response; and 3) Inform States on what to expect of Federal SAR responders.
  • Emergency Support Function #9--May 2013
    Under the National Response Framework, Emergency Support Function (ESF) #9 assigns responsibilities of the Primary and Support Agencies in the conduct of search and rescue operations under the Stafford Act.
  • USCG Incident Management Handbook, COMDT Pub P3120.17B--May2014
    The newly revised 2014 version of the Coast Guard Incident Management Handbook (IMH) is designed to assist Coast Guard personnel in the use of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Incident Command System (ICS) during multi-contingency response operations and planned events. The Incident Management Handbook is an easy reference job aid for responders."


FEMA Documents and Links

  • FEMA Directive: Use of the United States National Grid (092-5)
    The purpose of this Directive is to require use of the USNG as FEMA’s standard geographic reference system across all preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery activities as well as land-based and land-air operations and to provide instruction for effective implementation.
  • National Preparedness )(First Edition) -- September 2011
  • National Preparedness System--February 2016
    This document contains an overview of the National Planning System and includes:
    • The Planning Architecture, which describes the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of planning and planning integration; and
    • The Planning Process, which describes the steps necessary to develop a comprehensive, from forming a team to implementing the plan.
  • National Planning System Fact Sheet
    This document contains an overview of the National Planning System and includes:
  • National Response Framework Resource Center
  • National Response Framework (2nd Edition) -- May 2013
    The National Response Framework is a guide to how the Nation responds to all types of disasters and emergencies. It is built on scalable, flexible, and adaptable concepts identified in the National Incident Management System to align key roles and responsibilities across the Nation.
  • Overview of the National Planning Frameworks -- May 2013
  • Catastrophic Incident Annex
    The Catastrophic Incident Annex to the National Response Framework establishes the context and overarching strategy for implementing and coordinating an accelerated, proactive national response to a catastrophic incident.
  • National Incident Management System (NIMS), Third Edition (October 2017)
    The National Incident Management System (NIMS) provides a systematic, proactive approach to guide departments and agencies at all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work seamlessly to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity, in order to reduce the loss of life and property and harm to the environment. NIMS works hand in hand with the National Response Framework (NRF). NIMS provides the template for the management of incidents, while the NRF provides the structure and mechanisms for national-level policy for incident management.
  • National Incident Management System Guideline for Mutual Aid (Guideline) (November 2017) 
    The National Incident Management System Guideline for Mutual Aid (Guideline) supplements the Resource Management component of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) by providing guidance on different types of mutual aid agreements, the key elements of a mutual aid agreement, and the key elements of mutual aid operational plans used for implementation.
  • National Interoperability Field Operations Guide (NIFOG) -- Version 1.4
    The Department of Homeland Security Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) publishes the National Interoperability Field Operations Guide (NIFOG) as a reference guide for public safety radio technicians and communications planners. The waterproof, pocket-sized guide (also available in PDF format) contains radio regulations, tables of radio channels, and technical reference information. This guide is ideal for those establishing or repairing emergency communications in a disaster area.
  • Joint Field Office Aviation Branch Operations Manual (September 9, 2009)
    The main purpose of the Aviation Branch operations manual is to amplify the guidance and information in the JFO and NIMS manuals. The manual will outline basic organizational structures and operating procedures to enable the personnel who are assigned to a JFO Aviation Branch to coordinate aviation operations with a State through a multiagency coordination group.
  • FEMA National Incident Support Manual -- February 2011
    The FEMA National Incident Support Manual describes how FEMA national staff support FEMA incident operations and briefly discusses steady-state activities pertinent to incident operations.  This manual defines the activities of Federal assistance - across the nation and within FEMA's statutory authority - supporting citizens and first responders in responding to, recovering from, and mitigating all hazards.  It includes definitions and descriptions of roles and responsibilities, functions, and organizational structures for those conducting FEMA incident support duties, thus forming the basis from which FEMA personnel plan and execute their assigned missions.  This manual also serves as the basis for developing related guidance (procedures, handbooks, incident guides, training materials, etc.).
  • FEMA Incident Action Planning Guide -- January 2012
    The IAP Guide explains how to plan and execute operations during any incident.  This document, based on the Incident management Handbook (IMH), explains the Incident Command System (ICS) incident action planning process, describes how to use it during FEMA incidents, defines the specific roles and responsibilities of the various participants, and establishes standards for incident action planning during FEMA incidents. 
  • National Urban Search and Rescue Response System
    Field Operations Guide Sept 2003
  • FEMA Training website
  • FEMA Urban SAR