We are an Urban Search and Rescue team responding to natural and man made disasters, using specialist skills and equipment. Our mission is ‘United To Save Life’ and this ethos applies to every action of our volunteer specialists.

Urban Search and Rescue

After receiving a request for help, our aim is to mobilise a self-contained rescue team within minutes for UK missions or within 24 hours for overseas missions.

We are registered with the United Nations allowing us to operate as a search and rescue team under their co-ordination in times of international disaster.

We are supported entirely by donations made by the public and corporate sponsorship. Every penny goes towards saving lives as we do not employ staff in administration, fundraising or any other role in the Corps.


More About Us

We are a UK based charity and offer our services completely free of charge, whether in the UK or overseas.



Responding 24×7

A request for assistance can be made direct to IRC Headquarters or, following news of a disaster being received, we will make the initial contact with the most relevant authorities. Permission to enter a country or attend incidents in the UK is always obtained prior to mobilisation.

The size of a rescue team varies on the nature and location of the incident as well as health and safety requirements which we adhere to. Additional or relief teams can also be despatched as required.

Flexibility of role is essential as teams inevitably become involved in humanitarian work, communications or relief co-ordination.

Whilst mobilised overseas, our teams have the support of IRC headquarters, which is manned 24 hours a day by volunteer staff to maintain communications and close liaison with the host government and international authorities.


34 Years

30 Year Milestone

IRC was formed in 1981 following the Italian earthquake. Having seen the scenes of chaos and devastation portrayed in the media, we were determined that a co-ordinated search and rescue team should be available to attend all future catastrophies, wherever they took place.

It is this determination that has carried us forward to where we are today, as a specialist volunteer search and rescue teams with experience behind us. We have operated for over 30 years with an outstanding track record of saving lives.

The first introduction that many people have to us is when they see the distinctive royal blue overalls in television news footage of a disaster, whether at home or abroad.
You may have seen or read about IRC’s involvement in overseas earthquake search and rescue, taking part in missing person searches or helping rescue the victims of floods in the UK.



Qualified & Experienced Teams

We are a nationwide organisation with an extensive training programme in urban search and rescue for the UK and overseas. We audit teaching methods and assessment processes several times a year.

We are currently rolling out a new modular training programme and all members wishing to become operational, whatever their previous skills or knowledge, must complete and pass the relevant elements of the course before being considered ‘mission ready’.

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.

Before being considered for overseas missions the training will also include all the skills needed to carry out missions safely and successfully in different environments.


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A Reminder

IRC have NO paid staff.
We are ALL volunteers.
ALL donations go to helping IRC operations

We are a UK based charity and due to the voluntary nature of the Corps, combined with the need for extensive training this means that operational membership of the IRC is restricted to residents of the UK.