Page updated: 27 November 2020
Incident Controllers have overall responsibility for Initial Action, though other SAR organisations and their resources also contribute to the Initial Action stage.
If you're the Incident Controller, you'll usually be responsible for:
You also have overall responsibility for the Initial Action stage as a whole.
This includes SAR organisations whose resources have been activated, mobilised, and tasked in the Initial Action stage.
SAR organisations are usually responsible for the cost of their resources. However, SAR organisations will have an agreement with coordinating authorities about the charge-out costs of their resources if they are deployed or tasked by the coordinating authority. These agreements will be in place before any of the SAR organisation’s resources are deployed or tasked by the coordinating authority. A coordinating authority will usually cover the cost of all resources that are tasked during a SAR operation.
SAR organisations maintain their responsibility for the health and safety of their resources even when the Incident Controller is deploying the resources. However, the Incident Controller in the coordinating authority also has a responsibility for health and safety and is fully accountable for the health and safety of SAR resources during deployment.
The SAR organisation that owns a SAR resource is responsible for that resource’s compliance with the law. However, the Incident Controller is responsible for ensuring that SAR resources are not tasked with anything that will breach the law.
This means that the Incident Controller can direct the actions of activated SAR resources from other SAR organisations.
Activated SAR resources need to communicate effectively and efficiently when reporting to the Incident Controller and their own SAR organisation. The division between command and control reporting lines must not result in unnecessary, lengthy, or complex communication processes.
In a multi-agency SAR operation, all resources must report to the SAR operation’s Incident Controller. This may be through managers on the Incident Management Team.
A SAR organisation supplying a resource can withdraw it if they or someone senior at the organisation who is in charge of the resource considers that the resource isn’t able to meet the operation's tasking requirements.