Proceedings Of The Marine

FALL 2011

Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.

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U.S. SAR Framework Inside the United States, the SAR framework is developed under the National Search and Rescue Plan, which provides for a common federal response. Similar plans and capabilities at the state, local, and tribal level, when synchronized with the federal response, provide the holistic SAR framework for the United States. To align the efforts of the federal agencies, which include the rescue coordination centers, there are memorandums of understanding among state search and rescue or emergency management agencies and the rescue coordination center in the applicable search and rescue region. These documents provide the basis of the framework, but it is the constant coordination and partnership building among the different agencies that serve to continue the process into an effective networked response. It should be noted that inside the United States, the primary disaster response guidelines follow the National Incident Management System, which includes descriptions of the incident command system structure published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. However, the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue manuals and NIMS/ICS do not always coincide with each other. Therefore, the RCCs must "translate" between the two structural concepts. For example, a state SAR team responding to a rescue mission involving an international aircraft in the U.S. would likely call the leader of the element the "incident commander," or IC. However, in the international lexicon this individual would be referred to as the "on-scene coordinator," or OSC. While this may seem like an insignificant issue, the subtlest or smallest confusion or misunderstanding can result in lost minutes, and in all rescue events, minutes matter. ICAO/IMO Joint Working Group All this coordination and effort is constantly evolving. It takes dedi- cated representatives at the interna- tional level to continue the process of planning between states. The International Civil Aviation Orga- nization and International Maritime Organization have met this need by developing the ICAO and IMO joint working group on search and rescue. This international forum discusses coordination, tactics, techniques, and develops guidance to the inter- national community to best promote effective search and rescue across the globe. The United States is represented by members of the Air Force and the Coast Guard. The harmonization of the aeronautical and maritime envi- ronments is important to ensure an effective response regardless of the domain in which an aircraft or ves- VHO ÀQGV LWVHOI 7KH SURGXFW RI WKLV harmonization is the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual, which contains three volumes that provide guide- lines for international search and rescue. While not directive in nature, the signatories to the ICAO and IMO agreements utilize these guidelines in building their national search and rescue framework. How each state responds internally to its country is a sovereign issue; however, an effec- For example, recently the Air Force Rescue Coordi- nation Center received a call from the Japanese RCC regarding a U.S.-coded distress beacon just prior to the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center receiving the alert. This is an indication of the speed at which distress beacon alerts can be processed and the imme- diate link between RCCs. Information on the distress beacon, the owner, and the situation was shared between rescue coordination centers, and thankfully it was resolved as a non-distress situation. tive SAR effort in coordination with another country is best developed following this guidance. You Can Find a Friend in Emergency, but You Can't Make a Friend in an Emergency The true power in this harmonization is the ability for nations to understand the response of the other nation and synchronize rescue capabilities, commu- nication, and coordination. Within many nations there are requirements for air- craft and maritime vessels to carry distress beacons 42 Proceedings Fall 2011 www.uscg.mil/proceedings

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