The Department of Search and Rescue is made up of the Search and Rescue Unit; Air Wing; Nursing Unit; Communications Unit; Mission Control Center (MCC) and the newly activated Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU). The Department is usually headed by a serving Air Force Officer not below the rank of a Group Captain. The Officer must be of Air Traffic services specialty from the Nigerian Air Force. It has in addition a serving Lt. Col. And Navy Commander From the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Navy to support the Director in the discharge of the day-to-day activities of the Department.
Part II, subsection 6 (1) ‘F’ of the NEMA Act requires the agency to coordinate and facilitate the provision of necessary resources for search and rescue and other types of disaster curtailment activities in response to global best practices. This function of the Agency is carried out by the Search and Rescue department. The department’s responsibilities amongst others include:
i) Coordinate and facilitate Search and Rescue activities on disasters in Nigeria.
ii) Coordinating the Emergency Response Team (ERT) of the Agency and those of other response stakeholders in disaster management.
iii) Participate, identify and mobilize critical resources for Search and Rescue in the 10 identified disaster scenarios as captured in the Search and Rescue (SAR) and Epidemic Evacuation Plan (SAREEP).
iv) Coordinate and determine at what level the DRUs will be activated in any disaster scenario.
v) Coordinate and formulate response activities in form of drills/exercises with response stakeholders and DRUs periodically.
vi) Advising the management on technical matters relating to acquiring specialized equipment and training of staff on emergency response activities/procedures.
vii) Identify capable hands from other departments in the Agency as members of the Emergency Response Team (ERT).
viii) Determine the level of disaster that will require the deployment of other staff (non SAROs) in response to disasters.
ix) Collaborate with response stakeholders in carrying out sensitization and creating awareness on emergency response activities.
x) Ensuring periodic servicing and maintenance of SAR equipment.
xi) Any other responsibility that may be assigned to the department by the agency.