Catastrophic Incident Search and Rescue: Managing inland and maritime response based on Hurricane Harvey

The Hurricane Harvey (2017) response was truly a team effort—an all-hands-on-deck evolution for the Coast Guard in close coordination with numerous federal, state, and local agencies and volunteers. Catastrophic incident search and rescue (CISAR) during Harvey presented several notable challenges. First, Sector Houston-Galveston experienced an immediate, overwhelming demand for Coast Guard shallow-water and air rescue services across a widespread geographic area. Second, the physical environment of the CISAR effort was unpredictably dynamic. Third, the CISAR environment presented unfamiliar hazards to rescue personnel. Finally, the Coast Guard faced intense media and political interest throughout the response. Three key enablers of success allowed Sector Houston-Galveston to overcome the unique challenges posed by CISAR: partnerships, decentralized command and control, and people. The response to Hurricane Harvey and its devastating aftermath fostered a wide array of lessons learned and highlighted numerous best practices that will prepare the Coast Guard to effectively respond to future CISAR events.


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  • Accession Number: 01768294
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 5 2021 3:30PM