Rescue Arrange​ments in NSW

The State Rescue Board’s principal function is to ensure the maintenance of efficient and effective rescue services throughout the state of NSW.  

The State Rescue Board carries out its responsibilities through the heads of the agencies which provide accredited rescue units and the NSW Police Force, which is responsible for the coordination of rescue operations within NSW.

The State Rescue Board is generally responsible for the development and promulgation of rescue policy, the setting, promulgation and monitoring of standards of training, and for providing advice on equipment levels for all rescue units in the state. The State Rescue Board is also responsible for recommending to the Minister the accreditation of units to undertake those forms of rescue for which the Board has decided that accreditation is required.   Accreditation is the formal approval by the Minister to undertake rescue in NSW.  Once the Minister accredits a rescue unit, that unit is obliged to respond in accordance with their accreditation on a 24 hour, seven days a week basis.


Rescue providers in NSW

Rescue units in NSW are provided by the following organisations:

• NSW Police Force (NSWPF)
• NSW Ambulance (NSWA)
• Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW)
• NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS)
• NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES)
• NSW Volunteer Rescue Association Incorporated (NSW VRA)
• Marine Rescue NSW (MRNSW)


Rescue Accreditation

Accreditation is required for the following forms of rescue:

• General Land Rescue (GLR)
• Road Crash Rescue (RCR)
• Flood Rescue (FR)
• Marine Rescue (MR)
• Vertical Rescue (VR)


General Land Rescue

General Land Rescue means the capability and capacity to undertake all rescue activities involving the safe removal of persons or domestic animals from actual or threatened danger of physical harm. A General Land Rescue unit has the skills and equipment required to undertake road crash rescue, agricultural rescue, animal rescue, industrial rescue, domestic rescue and is trained in Urban Search and Rescue Category 1. 

A General Land Rescue unit is considered the most appropriate rescue resource as it is equipped to a standard to carry out all forms of general land rescue and in some cases has the capability and capacity to undertake other specialist rescue types reducing potential delays in extrication.


Road Crash Rescue

Road Crash Rescue means the capability required to gain access to and extricate casualty/ies from vehicles travelling on the road such as cars, motorcycles, buses, trucks and semi-trailers while minimising the potential for further injury and preserving the integrity of evidence. Rescue operators are required to access entrapped casualty/ies using a range of techniques and to operate specialist equipment to undertake the rescue. While Road Crash Rescue units are trained and equipped to respond to road crashes, they are not trained in the competencies of industrial and domestic rescue or Urban Search and Rescue Category 1.


Flood Rescue

Flood rescue means all rescue activities in a relatively high water level which overtops the natural or artificial banks of any part of a stream, river, estuary, or dam, and/or local overland flooding associated with drainage before entering a water course, and/or coastal inundation resulting from super-elevated sea levels and/or waves overtopping coastline deficiencies.   Flood rescue involves the employment of intervention methods requiring specialist skills, techniques and equipment to locate, access, stabilise and extricate persons.    Flood rescue is distinct from swift water rescue (encompasses rescue from canyons and waterways where swift flowing is the norm),  although the rescue techniques used, in many cases, are applicable in both environments.

Accreditation is required for On Water Flood Rescue and In Water Flood Rescue.  Accreditation is not required for Flood Rescue Awareness, Land Based Flood Rescue and Over Water Flood Rescue.


Marine Rescue

Marine Rescue means a rescue performed on open, enclosed or inland waterways where there is a threat.


Vertical Rescue

Vertical rescue is any height or depth situation where person(s) need resources to gain access to, move within, and extricate from hazardous environments utilising rope based and/or mechanical systems, in order to ensure the safety of person(s) and/or animal(s).