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Standards-setting and its implementation through the classification system for international urban search and rescue teams

Yosuke Okita, MA, Rajib Shaw, PhD

Abstract


The network of international urban search and rescue (USAR) teams, International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), has started its unique classification system called INSARAG External Classification (IEC) since 2005. In IEC, teams are classified into Heavy or Medium category, and as of the end of 2018, more than 50 teams have been classified. It seems that, through IEC, INSARAG successfully implements the standards such as the INSARAG Guidelines although the document is nonbinding. This article analyzes why IEC has got strong support from international USAR teams and what are the keys to successful implementation of standards in international emergency management. It concludes that it has been successful because, for example, INSARAG carefully gains a consensus from the member states when creating the standards, reiterates the minimum standards instead of the best practices, and sets the clear goal. The endorsement at the UN General Assembly Resolution also contributed to gaining support. Although there are some issues which need to be considered to maintain the system in the future, the lessons of the IEC model can be used for other fields of international disaster and emergency management.


Keywords


INSARAG, IEC, USAR, standards

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jem.2020.0469

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