SCDF unit gets top marks as urban search-and-rescue team in UN certification

SCDF unit gets top marks as urban search-and-rescue team in UN certification

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Civil Defence Force's (SCDF) overseas rescue unit, code-named Operation Lionheart, was certified a Heavy Urban Search and Rescue Team by rescue experts from the United Nations. The certification means the team can respond to disasters anywhere in the world.

Get the full story from The Straits Times.

Here is the full statement from the SCDF:

The Singapore Civil Defence Force Operation Lionheart (Ops Lionheart) Contingent has once again been classified by the United Nations as a Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Team. The 76-member contingent received their certification from Mr Terje Skavdal, Chief of Field Coordination Support Section and Secretary of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) at a ceremony held this afternoon at the Civil Defence Academy.

In his speech, Mr Terje Skavdal, said that "SCDF had passed with flying colours. The expectation of SCDF is high and I am very happy to say that SCDF had always met those expectations."

The Heavy USAR Team classification is the highest level of recognition accorded to USAR Teams by the United Nations. The Ops Lionheart contingent first attained the Heavy USAR Team classification in 2008. The reclassification exercise is a requirement that all INSARAG classified teams need to undergo once every 5 years.

The Ops Lionheart contingent had successfully completed the reclassification assessment by a team of international assessors over an exercise held from 26 to 28 Sep 2013. During the 36 hours exercise, the officers had to demonstrate their activation, equipping and deployment procedures. They had to race against the clock to search and rescue victims trapped under collapsed buildings using different techniques such as cutting and lifting, tunnelling and using life detectors and search dogs.

The Heavy USAR Team reclassification is a testimony of SCDF's capability to carry out difficult and complex technical search and rescue operations, as well as the robust system that we have put in-place to facilitate an efficient deployment of the Ops Lionheart contingent for overseas humanitarian missions. Since its formation, the contingent has been deployed to 13 overseas humanitarian missions.

The SCDF will continue to be an active and responsible member of the global community of disaster managers by providing humanitarian assistance to regional countries afflicted by major calamities through the deployment of the SCDF Ops Lionheart contingent.

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