Sub-WG C Response to Cultural Heritage composed of 2 Co-Chairs and 9 members, will review the draft UNESCO Guidelines on Response to Cultural Heritage and draft an INSARAG Technical Guidance Note on “INSARAG’s Response to Cultural Heritage Sites”.

Sub-WG Co Chairs

Jing WangChinaAsia-PacificSub-WG C
Co Chair
Co Chair
Clement Herbert KalongaAEMEINSARAG Secretariat

2023 Updates:

Urban Search and Rescue at Heritage Sites Version 9.0 – 31 March 2023

2022 Updates:

Presentation by Sub-WG Urban Search & Rescue at Heritage Sites at HNPW 2022 Link

Key Documents:

Draft ToR – Flexible Response WG, available on this LINK.

Annex B: Draft UNESCO Field Guidelines for USAR at Heritage Sites

Annex C: Draft FRWG Timeline

Background Information

In the last few years, humanitarian emergencies have been strongly impacted by climate change. Additionally, due to the challenges imposed by the pandemic, the humanitarian landscape has become even more complex. Therefore, there have been increasing discussions on ways to effectively deploy INSARAG teams in disasters beyond those strictly involving collapsed structures. Those events can often be caused by hydrometeorological and climatological reasons which could make INSARAG teams’ skills extremely relevant, such as specialized capacities for water rescue and flood disaster response.

Given the significant resources and costs associated with the establishment and maintenance of certified USAR teams as well as of their deployments, it is reasonable to explore ways on how to best maximize these professional life-saving resources of USAR teams under the INSARAG’s umbrella, and through global consultations with the three regional groups of INSARAG.

INSARAG has proved to remain flexible and effective despite the challenges of the pandemic and amidst a complex humanitarian environment. The FRWG will aim to contribute to the INSARAG network to continue being relevant and nimble despite the new challenges. The INSARAG network will be strengthened as a result of the review and further development of the Flexible Response concept, the strengthening of teams’ deployments in the BtR phase including the DACC concept and INSARAG’s role in response to affected areas where cultural heritage sites exist. 


The FRWG is composed of three Sub-Working Groups with respective assignments:

  1. Sub-WG A Global Position with 19 members, will develop a global INSARAG position on Flexible (Operational) Response, based on the drafted Regional Position Papers on this topic in 2020. The scope of the global position on Flexible Response can also encompass the response beyond collapsed structures and earthquakes, as some regions have already implemented this successfully.
  2. Sub-WG B Disasters Assessment Coordination Center (DACC) with 22, members will develop the Damage Assessment Coordination Centre (DACC) guidelines and methodology.
  3. Sub-WG C Cultural Heritage with 10 members, will review the draft UNESCO Guidelines on Response to Cultural Heritage and draft an INSARAG Technical Guidance Note on “INSARAG’s Response to Cultural Heritage Sites”.

FRWG OV Co-Chairs and SubWG Co-Chairs

Paolo VaccariItalyEurope (AEME)OV Co
Paul BaxterAustraliaAsia-PacificOV Co
Thomas ZeiterSwitzerlandEurope (AEME)Sub-WG A
Co Chair
Otty RusinarsetyoIndonesiaAsia-PacificSub-WG A
Co Chair
Solveig ThorvaldsdottirIcelandEurope (AEME)Sub-WG B
Co Chair
Joshua MacabuagUK/SARAIDEurope (AEME)Sub-WG B
Co Chair
Jing WangChinaAsia-PacificSub-WG C
Co Chair
Co Chair

Meeting Summaries:

Chairman Summary of the Meeting with the entire Flexible Response Working Group (FRWG), Friday 17th September, available on this LINK

Key Documents:

Draft ToR – Flexible Response WG, available on this LINK.

Final List of Participants, available on this LINK

Annex A: INSARAG New-Year Teleconference Chairman’s Summary (includes Summary of regional positions on Flexible Response)

Annex B: Draft UNESCO Field Guidelines for USAR at Heritage SitesFor Annex C: Draft FRWG Timeline

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.

Medical Guidance Notes:

  1. Amputations and Dismemberment Link – endorsed in 2023
  2. Identification of USAR Medical PersonnelLink – endorsed in 2011
  3. Post Mission Medical ReportingLink – endorsed in 2011
  4. Provision of Medical Care in an Austere Environment Specifically in a Confined Space Link – endorsed in 2011
  5. Recovery of Deceased During USAR Operations – Link – endorsed in 2011
  6. The Donation of Medical Supplies and Equipment Prior to DemobilisationLink – endorsed in 2011
  7. The Medical Management of the Entrapped Patient with Crush SyndromeLink – endorsed in 2023
  8. Patient Treatment RecordLink – endorsed in 2012
  9. Urban Search and Rescue in Extreme Environmental ConditionsLink – endorsed in 2014
  10. INSARAG Injury and Illness LogLink – endorsed in 2019
  11. Template Letter requesting Ability to Practice USAR MedicineLink – endorsed in 2019
  12. INSARAG Patient Treatment FormLink – endorsed in October 2019

Medical Guidance Note – Defining USAR MedicineLink

MWG Covid-19 USAR Response Technical Reference NoteLink

The INSARAG Guidelines remain a living document and will be subject to an ongoing process of development to improve and document the way we respond to save lives in major natural disasters like earthquakes, or building collapses in other disasters.

This is achieved through a regular five-year review cycle led by the INSARAG Guidelines Review Group (GRG), which aims to facilitate continuous improvement in classified teams. The INSARAG Steering Group (ISG) recognizes the importance of maintaining knowledge and process continuity between the 5-yearly GRG reviews.

The 2023 GRG is co-chaired by John Cawcutt (Australia) and Martin Evers (the Netherlands).

Guidelines Review Group 2023-2025
  Name CountryRegionPositionEmail
3Li LiChinaAsia-PacificMember
4Safrizan Bin SuhainiMalaysiaAsia-PacificMember
5Wee Keong LokSingaporeAsia-PacificMember;
6Sara RathbunUSAAmericasMember
7Patricio FuentesChileAmericasMember
8Martin PavekCzech RepublicAEMEMember 
9Emmanuel ChapeauFranceAEMEMember
10Yvonne GutmannGermanyAEMEMember
11Ciro BologneseItalyAEMEMember
12Fahad SultanQatarAEMEMember
13Ove SislakNorwayAEMEMember
14Belit TasdemirTurkiyeAEMEMember
 15Peter WolffGermanyAEMERepresentative of

Link to Draft Terms of Reference, to be endorsed by the ISG in April 2023

Guidelines Review Group 2023 – 2025 – Online Meeting

Minutes Online Meeting – 3 May 2023

Guidelines Review Group Minutes – 18 to 20 August, 2023

After Cyclone Idai ripped through Mozambique, entire communities were surrounded by water. Humanitarians did everything they could to save lives and provide vital assistance. Link