ERT Search and Rescue was originally founded in the UK on 1st December 2002 as a non-profit NGO by Gary and Virginia Foo and was registered as a charity in England and Wales in 2004. It’s genesis was many, many years before then, when the couple were working with the emergency services and involved in many medical based rescue and humanitarian activities as volunteers. They were both serving armed Police Officers with medical and rescue skills. They had the idea to gather a group of volunteers together to help suffering victims when disasters or emergencies struck… and so the team was born.
The UK team was originally known as Oxfordshire Search And Rescue (OSAR), named after the location of the County the team was founded and subsequently later – after three International Disaster Missions, renamed to ERTSAR (The Emergency Response Team – Search And Rescue in 2006 to reflect the international disaster response work it was involved in.
In 2010 the Canadian branch of ERTSAR was founded and continues to grow rapidly.
Our organisation relies on trained, professional, committed volunteers.
ERTSAR team members come from a variety of professions and walks of life including doctors, paramedics, ambulance and fire service, military and civilian backgrounds. They all bring a wealth of background knowledge and real-world experience to the team.
Most of our members have full-time jobs alongside the work they do with the charity, taking time out as ‘holiday’ or ‘unpaid leave’ when deployed.
There are two levels of membership, operational and non-operational. Operational members receive free regular training, covering foundation knowledge to enable them to be deployed nationally as part of the team. Membership progresses in levels towards being able to deploy internationally. Non-operational members are our support, logistics, fund raisers and coordinators.
Membership standards have always been high and continue to this day with training, fitness, equipment, standard operating procedures (SOPs), team work, etc.
Skills and Deployment
ERTSAR has deployed to disasters all over the world and aided Countries, Governments, Organizations, Citizens, Suffering and Displaced People and supported in Disaster Risk Reduction and Capacity Building.