COVID-19 & Pandemic Response

For the search and rescue (SAR) community, the pandemic offered a unique opportunity for SAR organisations to develop their own best practices and structures as they continued to respond to call outs.

The IMRF produced its ‘Pandemic Response Guidance for Maritime Search and Rescue Organisations’ document to help SAR organisations put these vital structures in place.

The guidance document, produced with the support of Lloyd’s Register Foundation, is designed to be used as a basis for the planning and delivery of maritime SAR services in future pandemics and major health emergencies.

It includes information on mitigation and containment actions, what maritime SAR organisations should prioritise, the training and well-being of SAR personnel and guidance for non-operational activities.

The document was developed following initial guidance produced by a working group formed by the IMRF and its Members in April 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic began to emerge.

The working group felt that the SAR community had the opportunity to develop a robust framework for SAR organisations to adapt their processes during not only the COVID-19 pandemic, but any future global health emergencies. 

The IMRF’s Pandemic Guidance document provides a strong basis for SAR organisations to continue providing effective SAR services, while mitigating the risks posed by global viruses and pandemics to SAR crews and those that they save. 

We held two webinars dedicated to the IMRF’s COVID-19 and Pandemic Response project.

The first Webinar, which took place in October 2020, provided an opportunity for participants to share their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The second webinar, which took place in February 2021, focused on the launch of the IMRF’s Pandemic Response Guidance for Maritime Search and Rescue Organisations’ document, as well as an overview of maritime SAR safety for crews. 

We also held a session at our 2022 G5 MRO Conference, this session was led by Jared Blows from the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), who contributed to the IMRF’s pandemic working group, he addressed participants of the conference about the need to develop robust SAR procedures during major health incidents. 

If you have any questions and/or would like any further information, please contact Caroline Jupe at [email protected].

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