GSAR - Georgia Search and Rescue

(Information taken from the Georgia Emergency Management / Homeland Security Website)


The primary mission of GSAR is the coordination, development, and maintenance of the resources to locate, extricate, provide immediate medical treatment to victims trapped in collapsed structures, and to conduct other life-saving operations.


Following the Federal responses to the Hurricane Hugo and Loma Prieta disasters, Congress, through the Fiscal Year (FY) 1990 National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program legislation, tasked FEMA to develop a national civilian US&R capability. FEMA, with support from Federal, State, local authorities, the nation’s top technical specialists in the field, and other interested groups, developed the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System. This system coordinates the selection, training, equipping, mobilization, and deployment of Federal and civilian search and rescue resources to respond to those situations outlined in the FRP in which victims are savable but inaccessible through other rescue techniques. These assets are used to augment State and local resources in disaster areas.

The US&R task force is the fundamental unit of FEMA’s National USAR Response System. Each task force is sponsored by a State or local government jurisdiction and comprises 70 technical specialists divided into management and operational elements (Figure I-1). Minimum criteria and standards have been established by FEMA as part of the National USAR Response System in such areas as equipment, management and coordination, communications, and training for all task forces. Other components of the National USAR Response System include an overhead team, called the Incident Management Team, developed to provide management, coordination, and support for the task forces, as well as rapid needs assessment teams and other technical personnel who respond to disasters as part of the FRP.

Following the events on September 11, 2001, the State of Georgia realized that the state was not prepared for these types of events. Through funding handed down from the Federal government through GEMA the GSAR teams were developed. There are three existing Type 2 teams located in the State of Georgia; Metro (Taskforce 7), Central (Taskforce 4), and Coastal (Taskforce 5). There are also four existing Type 3 teams located in the State; North West (Taskforce 6), West Central (Taskforce 4A), East Central (Taskforce 3), Southern (Taskforce 2), and North East (Taskforce 1). Each Type 2 team has a minimum of 140 members and each Type 3 team has a minimum of 70 members. All members are trained in 5 disciplines of rescue and response. These disciplines are; Hazardous Materials, High angle, Confined Space, Trench Collapse, and Building Collapse. Taskforces 2, 4, 4A, 5 and 6 have added Wilderness search and rescue to their disciplines due to many remote areas in those response areas. Taskforce 3, 4A, 5, 7 has added Water Rescue to their disciplines. .

In the event that a FEMA team is required to assist in any response by the GSAR system all teams must be able to operate in unison with other USAR entities.

 If you would like more information concerning the GSAR Program, contact:

Ronnie Register
GSAR Coordinator (Fire Services Coordinator)
Georgia Emergency Management Agency
P.O. Box 18055
Atlanta, Georgia, 30316-0055