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The EPPR Search and Rescue (SAR) Expert Group

Since June 2015, the SAR Expert Group (SAR EG) has been an Expert Group under the EPPR. The SAR EG task is to keep a keen eye on all Search and Rescue related events in the Arctic. The group members represent SAR agencies and specialists from each Arctic Country. We seek to collect lessons learned from recent SAR exercises and live incidents, focusing on how to make SAR services in the Arctic as good as possible.

SAR activities comprises many different activities and demand a large variety of resources. This, combined with Arctic climate, extreme distances, harsh maritime conditions and a sparsely populated SAR area, makes it very important to be in the front line of development, regarding both SAR equipment but also best practice in SAR work.

SAR EG collects data and knowledge and passes this on to the EPPR working group, which is one of the working groups directly under the Arctic Council. We seek to be active in relevant SAR fora, participate in exercises, analyzing recent SAR incidents and major exercises in order to keep a finger on the pulse of state-of the art SAR work.

Maritime and aeronautical SAR cooperation between countries is regulated through international treaties and agreements, some agreements are bilateral, while other agreements cover a larger region with multiple countries. The Arctic SAR agreement is an agreement that covers the SAR regions of all eight Arctic nations.

The agreement supports cross-border SAR cooperation and exchange of best practice concepts. The actual SAR work itself is a national responsibility and it will not be a topic for the SAR EG. However, the SAR EG can support SAR agencies by developing databases for knowledge and lessons learned, establishing a cross-border SAR asset database and other supporting projects.

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