Got What It Takes To Become Mission Ready?



Urban Search and Rescue work can be very unpleasant and requires coolness in harrowing circumstances. Team members must be able to work as part of a close-knit integrated team, yet also be able to work independently and show initiative. They must be level headed, calm and clear thinking in a highly stressed situation.


Training is thorough and covers a wide range of topics associated with search and rescue activities in the UK and abroad. These include –

  • Rope rescue
  • Confined space rescue
  • Water rescue
  • Safe use of heavy cutting tools, generators and other rescue equipment
  • Location of casualties using sound, heat and visual tools
  • Surface search techniques & procedures
  • Survival, campcraft and orientation skills
  • Communications
  • Team discipline & safe working procedures
  • Triage, first aid & casualty care
  • Working with other agencies in the UK and overseas

Taking the first step

The first step to becoming operational is to join as a member and get in touch with your regional co-ordinator once their details have been sent to you.

You will then be invited to attend the next available session to experience training for yourself.

Training & Assessment

Training is generally carried out at weekends across the UK and follows an intensive curriculum. Trainees will need to attend training, exercises and assessment weekends in order to gain their individual skills qualifications.

The culmination is a week long assessment based on a scenario of an international deployment to a disaster zone. Learned skills and physical endurance will be tested to the limit in order to simulate the stresses of working in the difficult conditions of an overseas mission.

Along the way members can qualify for UK work and become part of national teams attending emergencies within the UK; such as flood rescue, missing persons or providing specialist assistance to the emergency services.

Operational Exercises

The success of any disaster rescue mission depends, not only on having sufficient experienced personnel and equipment from the many international agencies, but on the ability to co-ordinate them into a unified, controlled operation.

Operational members maintain their skills by taking part in regional and national exercises as a team and with other emergency rescue services. The scenarios are designed to simulate UK and overseas missions across the spectrum of IRC’s rescue work.

New members will be assessed at various stages on these exercises. Members who wish to volunteer as casualties are equally welcome to take part.

Want to join us? See The Membership Page Here →


  • The minimum age to begin training is 18 years of age.
  • Membership can begin at the age of 16 but in line with the UK emergency services cannot go operational until 18.
  • Our training is broken down into a series of modules and trainees receive signatures in their ‘Training Passport’ which allows them to deploy on the type of missions for which they have trained, once they have passed that relevant training.
  • There is no requirement to complete the training for all types of disaster, though deployment overseas for an earthquake would require comprehensive training in most modules.
  • Most trainees will probably choose to tailor their training to a particular type of UK mission, rather than completing all.
Image Square - Tunnel Rescue Training

Acceptance Criteria For Operational Status

At time of assessment for operational status you must fall within the ages ranges of 18 – 60 for the UK and 23 – 54 for Overseas.

The voluntary nature of the Corps, combined with the need for extensive training, means that operational membership of the IRC is restricted to residents of the UK.

We do, however, work with many overseas teams and are always looking to forge links that may further help to save life by sharing best practice.