Icelandic association for search, rescue & injury prevention

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 groups of volunteers always available, night and day, year round.

Over 100 years of history

Iceland 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 in Iceland, and the Icelandic Coast Guard is small, with only a few ships and aircrafts.

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 Icelanders.

Search and Rescue

The ICE-SAR rescue teams number about 100, within, there are thousands of people who are always available when needed. The professionalism that characterizes the work of Icelandic rescue teams has brought worldwide attention.

The specialist training undertaken by particular rescue groups has resulted in exceptional knowledge of the various conditions that are known to occur, both at sea and on land. ICE-SAR seeks dedicated knowledge far and wide, within Iceland and overseas.

Injury Prevention

Within ICE-SAR there are accident prevention divisions all around the country operating under the main goal of preventing accidents in their area and supporting the rescue teams, participating in their fundraising and providing all sorts of support in connection with rescue operations.

Authoritative educational and publishing work, alongside various nationwide projects, chararcterizes the accident prevention operation of ICE-SAR. A range of issues are often involved here, such as accident prevention of children, the elderly and among tourists. Developing educational material for accident prevention in playschools and elementary schools is a part of the operation of ICE-SAR.

Youth Groups

Within the youth sector of ICE-SAR many teenagers have found their longing for action channeled into healthy, interesting and uplifting work.

The youth sections work in conjuction with the association's rescue teams all over the country. By doing this, the teenagers become acquainted with the work of the rescue teams and accident prevention divisions. They attend seminars and get the opportunity to travel to different parts of the country and at the same time acquire an insight into the best ways to protect themselves from the dangers inherent in Icelandic nature.