is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean,
103,000 km2 in size. The population is 300,000. The landscape is magnificent,
with spectacular wilderness and the largest glaciers in Europe.
Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, extreme weather and snow avalanches are part
of what Icelanders have to deal with. Unlike most countries, there is no army
and the Icelandic Coast Guard is small, with only a few ships and aircrafts.
Independent associations have an extensive role in
prevention and rescue work in Iceland.
Thousands of volunteers dedicate themselves to work for the ICE-SAR rescue
teams, accident prevention divisions and youth sections. Their joint mission is
to prevent accidents and save human lives and valuables. In order to fulfil
that role there are extensive groups of volunteers always available, night and
day, year round.
The origins of ICE-SAR can be traced to 1918, when the
Westman Island Rescue Team (Björgunarfélag Vestmannaeyja) was established.
The first rescue ship; the first rescue helicopter; pioneers
in traffic safety matters; the Ships Reporting Duty; the Maritime Safety and
Survival Training Centre; these are only a few of the accomplishments that
ICE-SAR and its parent associations have achieved – for the benefit of all
The president of Iceland is the patron of ICE-SAR.