The Icelandic Search And Rescue Association ICE-SAR ( Slysavarnafelagid Landsbjorg ) is the Icelandic rescue organization for air, land and water rescue.

Initial situation

The Island of Iceland has an area of ​​103,000 km ² and is surrounded by the North Atlantic to the 77 ° latitude. The colonization of the island focused on the coastal regions, but there is also the population density with a total of only 300,000 Icelanders relatively low. Large areas are still free from human influences and the central highlands is not as good as settled. The island has several large glaciers, volcanoes, scree and an enormous relief energy. Every year occur everywhere unpredictable activities due to the many geothermal activity. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, extreme weather conditions and heavy snowfall are natural phenomena with which people have to come regularly to Iceland. The small state Iceland has no army and only a small Coast Guard with some ships and aircraft.


Non-governmental organizations have always played an important role in relief operations in Iceland. ICE-SAR is on a first Westman Iceland Rescue Team ( Björgunarfélag Vestmannaeyja ) from 1918 back. Also in the rescue, the SAR work on Iceland has a long tradition. In the 1920s, a series of major accidents. The voluntary SAR rescue teams along the coast rescued over the years hundreds of people in distress at sea, risking their lives.

ICE-SAR is proud of the introduction of many modern -saving appliances on the island: the first rescue vessel and the first rescue helicopters were introduced by ICE-SAR, as well as traffic safety measures and an automatic ship positioning system. A Survival Training Centre goes back to the initiative of the organization. 1999 joined the various rescue units together to ICE-SAR.


ICE-SAR combines in one organization all prevalent rescue units: mountain rescue, civil protection, water rescue, sea rescue and air ambulance. ICE-SAR is recruited from thousands of volunteers who take part in the rescue teams of the organization. In addition to the Rescue Teams are an accident prevention division and a youth division. President of the organization is Sigurgeir Guðmundsson.

In Hellissandur in the south -west Iceland, the organization operates a small training center. It uses the former plant of the U.S. military to the transmitter Gufuskálar inter alia for earthquake exercises for their EDD Teams.

Search and Rescue teams

The core of the ICE-SAR - work form the 100 Rescue teams. They are spread all over Iceland and hold a total of 3,000 volunteers before, who are always ready for use. The teams are trained for SAR operations on land, usually in high alpine terrain and on the sometimes very stormy seas around Iceland. The teams are regularly trained for their areas of expertise. You are all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and rescue boats.

In recent years, the specialization was further expanded, so that now the following teams are available: Land Teams, sea teams, divers groups ( rescue diver ), mountain rescue teams, rescue dog groups, etc.

Maritime Safety and Rescue Section

ICE-SAR has 14 lifeboats stationed around Iceland. 1987 continuously occupied MRCC was established by the Icelandic Coast Guard ICG, which also coordinates with the rescue operations of ICE-SAR - vessels. Since 1955, the Coast Guard also has aircraft and since the 1960s via helicopter. This helicopter support the operations of ICE-SAR at sea but also on land.

The Maritime Safety and Survival Training Centre ( MSSTC ) of ICE-SAR performs since 1985 safety training. The trainings are usually perceived by the crews of fishing boats. An Icelandic law specifies safety training for new fishermen.

Travellers Reporting Service

ICE-SAR operates a so-called Travellers Reporting Service. Hikers can get in touch with ICE-SAR and leave details of their planned hikes. If you do not log back on, starts ICE-SAR investigate and, where appropriate, to initiate relief efforts. Hikers can report directly to the ICE -SAR -HQ in Reykjavik and 'll also receive advice on possible dangers of their project.


Personal Location Beacon Bacon is personal, with those on the frequency 406 MHz, a personalized Notfruf may be discontinued. They are part of the Cospas- Sarsat system. The units can be rented by the ICE-SAR.

Emergency huts

ICE-SAR is also responsible for a traditional Icelandic institution: the nation's existing emergency huts (emergency shelter ) in remote coastal regions and in the mountains. The cabins are equipped with a radio and serving for people in distress as a focal point. Usually they are painted orange-red. In recent years, vandalism was also to Iceland to a larger problem: Tourists misappropriated the huts and so attracted the anger of many volunteer helpers Icelandic upon himself the care of the cabins volunteers.


ICE-SAR can be alerted about the Icelandic phone line, via marine radio and 2 -meter amateur radio channels.

  • European emergency number (including mobile phone): 112
  • News Service of ICE-SAR for hazards and weather conditions in the mountains: 354 570-5900
  • Telephone from lake ( Coast Guard ): 354,511 3333

International assignments

Teams of ICE-SAR were one of the few teams around the world, the IEC classification of INSARAG (International Search and Rescue Advisory Group ), which operates under the umbrella of the United Nations. ICE-SAR teams belong to the First Response Team at major international incidents.