The INSARAG is organised into the three regional groups: Africa/Europe/Middle East Region, Americas Region and Asia/Pacific Region. These Regional Groups meet annually to take measures to strengthen regional USAR response and ensure the strategic direction and policies from the INSARAG Steering Group are implemented and to assimilate relevant information from participating countries for submission to the INSARAG Steering  Group.

Regional Groups encourage the participation of all countries in their region and aim to provide a forum to discuss USAR related issues, regional cooperation and capacity building. One of the primary outcomes of these meetings is an annual regional work plan that addresses capacity building, training and other issues relevant to integrated approaches to disaster response. Each Regional Group has at least one Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, elected annually and sits on the INSARAG Steering Group.

For more details on regional events, such as exercises and meetings, visit the links to each region’s dedicated page.


The INSARAG Technical Guidance Notes provide non-binding guidance to USAR teams beyond what is specified as minimum requirements by the INSARAG Guidelines. These Technical Guidance Notes are prepared by the INSARAG working groups and then endorsed by the INSARAG Steering Group. Please note that these Technical Guidance Notes are not parts of the INSARAG Guidelines, they are only good practices and recommendations. They are not the expectations from INSARAG member USAR teams or those USAR teams that undergo the INSARAG External Classification (IEC) process.

The following Technical Guidance Notes have been endorsed so far:

Medical Guidance Notes:

1. Amputations and Dismemberment (endorsed in 2011)
2. Identification of USAR Medical Personnel (endorsed in 2011)
3. Post Mission Medical Reporting (endorsed in 2011)
4. Provision of Medical Care in an Austere Environment Specifically in a Confined Space (endorsed in 2011)
5. Recovery of Deceased During USAR Operations (endorsed in 2011)
6. The Donation of Medical Supplies and Equipment Prior to Demobilisation (endorsed in 2011)
7. The Medical Management of the Entrapped Patient with Crush Syndrome  (endorsed in 2019)
8. Patient Treatment Record  (endorsed in 2012)
9. Urban Search and Rescue in Extreme Environmental Conditions  (endorsed in 2014)
10. INSARAG Injury and Illness Log (endorsed in 2019)
11. Template Letter requesting Ability to Practice USAR Medicine (endorsed in 2019)
12. INSARAG Patien Treatment Form (endorsed in Octobor 2019)

Recommended USAR Operations Guidance Notes by the Training Working Group:   

1. Generic Risk Assessments – Rescues From Confined Spaces and Collapsed Structures (Source: UK) (uploaded June 2013) 
2. Manual for cold conditions (Source CMCFinland) (Upload October 2013).
3. USAR dogs and cold conditions (Source CMCFinland) (Upload October 2013).
4. Medical Guidance Note – Defining Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Medicine

Guidelines 2020

The INSARAG Guidelines provides a methodology to guide countries affected by a sudden-onset disaster causing large-scale structural collapse, as well as international USAR Teams responding in the affected country. The Guidelines also outlines the role of the UN in assisting affected countries in on-site coordination.

Reviewed and updated between 2018 to 2020, the INSARAG Guidelines 2020 incorporates six new areas from the 2015 version that were endorsed by the ISG; (i) IER Pre-Greening Process, (ii) INSARAG Recognised National Accreditation Process (IRNAP), (iii) USAR Coordination Cell (UCC), (iv) Information Management, (v) Classified Light Teams and (vi) Beyond the Rubble.

S/N Item Download Link
1 Volume I – Policy Link
2 Volume II, Manual A – Capacity Building Link
3 Volume II, Manual B – Operations Link
4 Volume II, Manual C – INSARAG External Classification & Reclassification Link
5 Volume III – Operational Field Guide Link

Note: INSARAG endorsed manuals, selected annexes and checklists have been reorganized and can now be found in the Guidance Notes section

Other reference notes can be found in the Technical Reference Library.

You can also find the complete Guidelines 2020 with their annexes at the following link: Link

Diagram describing the Guidelines

The INSARAG Secretariat welcomes the Members States and donors to translate the Guidelines into other languages for greater outreach.

Please find below the Guidelines in other languages:

Japanese Version (Link)

Hungarian Version (Link)

Spanish Version (Link)

French Version (Link)

Farsi Version (Link)

Provisional – Chinese Version (Link)

The methodology of INSARAG is described at its Guidelines. The INSARAG Guidelines address international USAR response in a cycle that includes the following phases: Preparedness, Mobilization, Operations, Demobilization and Post-Mission. For each of these phases the INSARAG methodology as defined by the INSARAG Guidelines and the INSARAG Technical Guidance Notes describe what is expected of international USAR teams as they respond to an earthquake affected country. It also describes how coordination between USAR teams should take place and what is expected of the affected country.

INSARAG Secretariat
Emergency Response Section – Response Support Branch
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Palais des Nations – CH 112 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Duty officer mobile (emergencies only): +41 22 917 16 00

Secretary of INSARAG
Mr. Sebastian Rhodes Stampa
Office : +41 22 917 59 65
Mobile : +41 79 691 11 80

Mr. Winston Chang (INSARAG Secretariat Worldwide)
Office: +41 22 917 11 73
Mobile: +41 79 469 85 88

Ms. Haruka Ezaki (INSARAG Secretariat Asia-Pacific)
Office : +66 2 288 24 23
Mobile : +66 62 592 03 09

Ms. Cecile Thibaud (support Asia-Pacific)
Office : +41 22 917 1394
Mobile : +41 76 691 14 24

Ms. Ana Maria Rebaza (INSARAG Secretariat Americas)
Mobile: +51-9 89581862

Mr. Martin Perez (support Americas)
Office: + 41 22 917 32 18
Mobile: +41 79 469 85 90

Mr. Lucien Jaggi (INSARAG Secretariat Middle East and North Africa)
Mobile : +41 76 691 02 26

Ms. Marie Mure (support Europe- Central Asia – INSARAG Global)
Office : +41 22 917 3484
Mobile : +41 79 477 08 80

Ms. Stefania Trassari (INSARAG Secretariat Europe and CIS)
Mobile : +41 76 691 02 30

Mr. Clement Kalonga (INSARAG Secretariat Africa )
Office : +254 20 762 2166
Mobile : +254 780 460 582

Ms. Johanna Medina Contreras (support Africa)
Office : +41 22 917 1693
Mobile : +41 79 477 08 84

The INSARAG has managed to achieve many goals over the years. In all cases, these achievements have helped either directly or indirectly the goal of saving more lives following incidents of structural collapse. These achievements include but are not limited to:

• The successful creation of a UN General Assembly (GA) Resolution 57/150 of 2002 on “Strengthening the Effectiveness and Coordination of International USAR Assistance”. This resolution is widely considered to have underpinned much of the progress achieved by the group in recent history.

• The development of INSARAG Guidelines and methodology for USAR operations to ensure standardised training and structures of international USAR teams.

• The development of INSARAG External Classification (IEC) system and IEC Guidelines.

• The development of internationally accepted markings for use on buildings in USAR operations to improve communication of USAR teams on site.

• The development of the methodology for the establishment of a Reception/Departure Centre at the entry points into the affected country to better coordinate team assignment and logistics support on-site.

• The development of a concept for rapid disaster assessment and coordination (the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) concept).

• The development of the concept of On-Site Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC) in sudden-onset disasters in general, not only for earthquakes.

• The establishment of a ‘Virtual OSOCC’ on the Internet for real-time information exchange during ongoing emergencies among involved disaster managers.

Membership with INSARAG is open to all countries and /or organisations involved in Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) activities. Countries that are interested in joining the INSARAG network are requested to identify an INSARAG national focal point that acts as interface with the INSARAG Regional Group and the INSARAG Secretariat. Organizations wishing to apply for INSARAG membership can do so by addressing an official request to the INSARAG Secretariat through their respective INSARAG National Focal Points with the USAR team profile form. Organisations from countries that already have a national INSARAG focal point are encouraged to express interest through this focal point. In cases where a national focal point is not designated, organisations may make contact with the INSARAG Secretariat directly. 

INSARAG members are part of a worldwide knowledge-sharing network on collapsed structure rescue and operational field coordination. They are invited to annual meetings of the relevant INSARAG Regional Group, USAR Team Leaders and to participate in INSARAG working groups.  Furthermore, members have access to INSARAG’s information and knowledge-sharing tools, through the “Virtual OSOCC” (Virtual On-Site Operations Coordination Centre) and the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) on the internet, which provide alert notification in the event of a sudden-onset disaster and real-time information updates and coordination during ongoing disasters. Responsibilities attached to the INSARAG membership can be found in the INSARAG Guidelines.

While USAR teams deploying internationally are strongly recommended to undergo the INSARAG External Classification (IEC), this is not a requirement for membership to the INSARAG as IEC is a voluntary process (Please refer to the IEC page for further information). Countries with no USAR capacity who expect to receive USAR assistance if required or who build up local USAR capacity are as welcome to become INSARAG members.