Armenian Rescuers Pass International Qualification Exam


The Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Team of the RA Ministry of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations passes the final qualification phase of the UN International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) on September 3-4.

For this purpose, the training exercise on “Organization and implementation of search and rescue operations in case of an earthquake” are conducted in “Lusakert” training center and in the canyon of Arzni.
INSARAG was founded in 1991, after the devastating earthquakes in Mexico - 1985 and in Spitak -1988, for increasing the efficiency of search and rescue operations in case of earthquakes. In 2011 Armenia had applied for passing INSARAG external qualification. Thereafter, receiving the relevant certificate, the Armenian team will have the right to participate in international search and rescue operations. Obtaining the corresponding certificate in the UN will be a great honor for Armenia, as even many developed countries do not still have sufficient preparation for membership in this organization.


A positive conclusion of special experts is needed for passing the qualification process of INSARAG. The Ministry of TAES had applied to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Poland, asking for assistance of their experts in providing trainings and necessary advice to the Armenian team.

The search and rescue team’s management capabilities, the rescuers’ knowledge and response skills, as well as medical and logistics provision will be tested during the qualification training exercise. The Armenian Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Team, consisted of 50 members participated at the training exercise. The UN Humanitarian Office experienced professionals were watching the entire training process, and they will assess the readiness of the Armenian team and decide, whether the team was ready to join INSARAG.


According to the scenario, a powerful earthquake occurred in the territory of the conditional country, there are destructions, victims and injured. The epicenter was located 9 kilometers northwest of the city of X, depth of epicenter was 15 km, magnitude- 7.2. The Government of the affected country applied to the international community for help, as the local forces were not enough to respond. After receiving the “information” about the earthquake, the available information was gathered and discussed at the RA MTAES Crisis Management National Center, which then was transferred to INSARAG’s National Coordinator. At the consultation, headed by TAES Minister A. Yeritsyan, the coordinator of the INSARAG in Armenia, r/s Colonel H. Yemishyan reported on the urban search and rescue team response capabilities and format, afterwards a team alarm was announcement.

In parallel, information about the disaster is being collected, the necessary list of rescue equipment, supplies and base deployment are being prepared and the team undergoes a medical examination.

The next area of the training exercise was the conditional airport, where the loading of planes with machines, tools, supplies was being performed. The search and rescue team “was leaving” for the affected country. There, as well, the USAR team passed passport, customs control, medical examination and rushed to the disaster zone. The qualification exercise will last 36 hours. A deployment base had already been located in Lusakert, and the search and rescue operations of the practical phase of the exercises would be held in Arzni canyon.

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