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Investments to Improve Emergency Response in Ontario

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Investments to Improve Emergency Response in Ontario

Ministry of the Solicitor General

The province's investments to support municipal Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) teams, and Hazardous Materials (HazMat) teams, will enhance program capability, reduce response times and increase geographic coverage across the province.

Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)

USAR is the general term for a group of specialized rescue skills including search, medical and structural assessment resources combined in a mobile, highly integrated team. These teams respond to large-scale or complex incidents to locate and extricate victims trapped in collapsed structures, provide immediate medical treatment to survivors, and conduct other life‐saving operations when the local jurisdiction is beyond its capacity. Provincial USAR classification is based on international guidelines and is rated as light, medium or heavy. For example:

  • Light capability teams can operate for up to 12 hours and are trained to search and stabilize structural wood systems, light metal components and un-reinforced masonry. 
  • Medium capability teams can operate for up to 24 hours and can search and stabilize all collapsed or failed structures and includes search and rescue operations for heavy timber, reinforced masonry construction, or steel frame buildings. 
  • Heavy capability teams can operate for up to 10 days, with teams resupplied every three days, and can search and stabilize all collapsed or failed structures and includes capability for structural engineering and rigging for massive structural collapse.

Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) and Hazardous Material (HazMat) response teams

A CBRNE/HazMat team responds to large-scale or complex chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive incidents. 

These teams can also respond to incidents involving dangerous goods. These happen most often when dangerous goods are being transported. Dangerous goods are things like explosives, gases, toxic substances, flammable material, or corrosive substances. 


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