The SCDF is the first organisation in the Asia-Pacific region to be classified as a Heavy Urban Search And Rescue (USAR) Team by the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) in 2008. This Heavy USAR Team classification is the
highest level of recognition that can be accorded to USAR Teams by the United Nations. This seal of approval allows disaster affected countries to regard SCDF's USAR capabilities favourably when prioritising acceptance of international
The SCDF maintains a dedicated 79-member contingent on standby round-the-clock. Codenamed Operation Lionheart, the core function is to provide urban search and rescue and/or humanitarian relief assistance to countries afflicted by major disasters.
The Operation Lionheart contingent comprises rescuers from the SCDF's elite Disaster Assistance & Rescue Team (DART) and from the frontline units including Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) men. Our rescuers are equipped
with specialised equipment like life detecting devices and lifting and cutting tools to aid them in such missions. DART is highly trained in urban search and rescue, height rescue, medical trauma incidents, water search and rescue, heli-bucket
operations, to name a few. Besides rescuers, the contingent also consists of search dogs and technical experts such as civil engineers and doctors who specialise in trauma and emergency medicine.
Since the formation of this contingent in 1990, it had been deployed throughout the Asia-Pacific region to render humanitarian assistance to countries hit by major disasters.
Below is the list of Operation Lionheart missions since 1990. Click on the available links below to read more about the missions:
|S/no||Mission / Location||Date|
|1.||Baguio City earthquake, Philippines||Jul 1990|
|2.||Highland Towers collapse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||Dec 1993|
|3.||Tai Chung County earthquake in Taiwan||Sep 1999|
|4.||Asian Tsunami Disaster, Aceh, Indonesia||Dec 2004|
|5.||Asian Tsunami Disaster, Khao Lak, Thailand||Dec 2004|
|6.||Sumatra Earthquake, Nias Island, Indonesia||Mar 2005|
|7.||Rokan Hilir Bush Fires, Sumatra, Indonesia||Aug 2005|
|8.||South Asian Earthquake, Muzaffarabad, Pakistan||Oct 2005|
|9.||Central Java Earthquake, Indonesia||May 2006|
|10.||Sichuan Earthquake, China||May 2008|
|11.||Padang City Earthquake, Sumatra, Indonesia||Oct 2009|
|12.||Christchurch Earthquake, New Zealand||Feb 2011|
|13.||Japan Earthquake and Tsunami||Mar 2011|
|14.||Flood, Kelantan, Malaysia||Dec 2014|
|15.||Forest Fire, Chiang Mai, Thailand||Mar 2015|
|16.||Nepal Earthquake, Kathmandu, Nepal||May 2015|
|17.||Forest Fire, Palembang, Indonesia||Oct 2015|
|18.||Flooding at Attapeu Province, Laos PDR||Aug 2018|
|19.||Flood at New South Wales, Australia
|20.||Turkey-Syria Earthquake||Feb 2023|
ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT)
The ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT) is a rapid deployable response team that supports affected ASEAN Member States during major disasters. Within 24 hours upon request from the affected ASEAN Member State(s), ASEAN-ERAT can be mobilised to support in the initial phase of a major disaster. SCDF currently has a pool of trained officers who can be activated on short notice for an ASEAN-ERAT deployment.
To become an ASEAN-ERAT member, each officer has to complete a 100-hour ERAT induction course and trained in standardised methodologies and skills in rapid assessments, logistics, information management, on-site coordination and emergency communications.
United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC)
The United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) is part of the international emergency response system for sudden-onset emergencies. UNDAC was created in 1993. It is designed to help the United Nations and governments of disaster-affected countries during the first phase of a sudden-onset emergency. UNDAC also assists in the coordination of incoming international relief at a national level and/or at the site of the emergency.
UNDAC teams can deploy at short notice (12-48 hours) anywhere in the world. There is no charge imposed to the disaster-affected country, and UNDAC teams are deployed upon the request of the United Nations Resident or Humanitarian Coordinator and/or the affected Government.
Assessment, coordination and information management are UNDAC's core mandates in an emergency response mission. Specifically in response to earthquakes, UNDAC teams set up and manage the On-Site Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC) to help coordinate international Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams responding to the disaster - essential if USAR assistance is to function effectively. This concept was strongly endorsed in United Nations General Assembly resolution 57/150 of 16 December 2002, on “Strengthening the effectiveness and coordination of international urban search and rescue assistance”.
The UNDAC system comprises four components:
- Staff: Experienced emergency managers made available for UNDAC missions by their respective governments or organizations. UNDAC members are specially trained and equipped for their task;
- Methodology: Pre-defined methods for establishing coordination structures, and for organising and facilitating assessments and information management during the first phase of a sudden-onset disaster or emergency;
- Procedures: Proven systems to mobilize and deploy an UNDAC team to arrive at the disaster or emergency site within 12-48 hours of the request;
- Equipment: Personal and mission equipment for UNDAC teams to be self-sufficient in the field when deployed for disasters/emergencies.
Below is the list of ASEAN-ERAT / UNDAC deployments by SCDF:
|S/no||Mission / Location||Date|
ASEAN-ERAT / UNDAC
Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar:
1 SCDF officer was first deployed as a member to the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team, to support and coordinate the relief efforts following Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. This was followed by the first ASEAN ERAT mission for Post Nargis Joint Assessment (PONJA).
|5 May 2008||UNDAC and ERAT|
Mentawai Islands Tsunami:
1 SCDF ERAT member deployed as part of a four-member ERAT team to support the Government of Indonesia in rapid assessment efforts and identify immediate needs and gaps in the affected areas.
|25 Oct 2010||ERAT|
1 SCDF ERAT member deployed as Team Leader to lead an ERAT 8-member team from various ASEAN member states to conduct rapid assessment for immediate relief needs of the flood affected people in Thailand
|15 Oct 2011||ERAT|
2 SCDF ERAT members deployed to support the disaster management efforts of the Government of Indonesia in response to the earthquake in Pidie Jaya, Aceh
|8 Dec 2016||ERAT|
Needs assessment in Myanmar:
1 SCDF ERAT member deployed as Team Leader to lead an ERAT 2-member team to support the Government of Myanmar in rapid assessment efforts and identify immediate needs and gaps in the affected areas.
|15 Jan 2018||ERAT|
Yangon Dumpsite fire:
2 SCDF ERAT members deployed to support the Government of Myanmar to conduct assessment and provide technical advice
|28 Apr 2018||ERAT|
1 SCDF ERAT member deployed as part of a four-member ERAT team to support the Government of Indonesia in rapid assessment efforts.
|8 Aug 2018||ERAT|
5 SCDF ERAT members out of the 28 total ERAT deployed to support the government of Indonesia in assessment and coordination of international aid. This is the largest and longest ERAT deployment, to date.
|29 Sep 2018||ERAT|
Preliminary Needs Assessment in Rakhine:
1 SCDF ERAT member deployed as Assistant Team Leader for the ASEAN-ERAT team to support the Government of Myanmar in rapid assessment efforts and identify immediate needs and gaps in the affected areas.
|4 Mar 2019||ERAT|
Assessment in Cox's Bazaar in support of Myanmar Govt:
1 SCDF ERAT member deployed as member of the ASEAN-ERAT team to support a Myanmar Delegation in their high level visit to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
|16 Dec 2019||ERAT|
ASEAN Joint Needs Assessment in Myanmar:
2 SCDF ASEAN-ERAT members were deployed in support of the ASEAN Joint Needs Assessment in Myanmar.
|30 May 2022||ERAT|
Tropical Cyclone Nalgae:
1 SCDF ERAT member deployed as member of the ASEAN-ERAT team to support the needs assessment following the Tropical Cyclone Nalgae in the Philippines.
|6 Nov 2022||ERAT|
1 SCDF ERAT member deployed as member of the ASEAN-ERAT team to support the rapid needs assessment following Cyclone Mocha in Myanmar.
|18 May 2023||ERAT|