The Government instigated the New Dimension programme soon after the September 11 attacks on the USA in 2001.
It was immediately recognised that multiple, large scale attacks on the UK would be difficult to cope with effectively by individual fire and rescue services and New Dimensions was intended to provide a range of equipment, people and procedures to allow a co-ordinated national response to catastrophic events of various types.
By providing these new skills, UK fire services are becoming better prepared to deal with extreme situations and national support arrangements mean we will be better able to cope with the worst types of incident.
The host USAR fire services can use these assets along with their highly-trained technicians as a resource to assist at incidents where their skills, equipment and procedures will help reach a successful and safe conclusion. Hampshire’s USAR team forms part of the 21 strategically located teams throughout England and Wales to deal with three simultaneous attacks wherever they occur. The USAR team consists of 33 personnel, split into three sections, each with a search dog and handler, along with three USAR advisors. The team has five vehicles carrying five modules full of equipment to carry out the main disciplines of USAR operations.
In addition to the response capability within the UK, Hampshire’s USAR team is also a key component of the United Kingdom International Search and Rescue Team (UK-ISAR). As well as providing operational search teams on UK-ISAR deployments, Hampshire also provides the Base of Operations (BoO) team who have the role of providing all welfare equipment to the deployed team. This equipment ranges from food and water to tents, toilets and showers. The most recent deployments were to the earthquakes in Haiti and Christchurch New Zealand and the Tsunami in Japan. The UK-ISAR is deployed on behalf of the UK Government and funded by the Department of International Development (DFID).