The Governor of Svalbard is responsible for planning, leading and coordinating the rescue service for Svalbard under the overall direction of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre of Northern Norway.
The Police Department’s personnel perform staff duties at the local rescue centre (LRS Svalbard) and conduct operational management and coordination of actions in the field.
The rescue service in Svalbard is part of the Norwegian rescue service and is organised in the same way as in mainland Norway. It relies on voluntary efforts. The Longyearbyen Red Cross Search and Rescue Corps makes up a considerable part of this rescue service.
Government agencies and private companies also have resources and personnel that are of great importance to the rescue service. On the whole, LRS Svalbard has extremely good resources and equipment at its disposal as well as a skilled emergency response team.
The Governor of Svalbard also performs all air ambulance services on the archipelago and in adjacent sea areas outside of Longyearbyen. Rescue operations in Svalbard must often be carried out in extreme weather and temperature conditions and in exposed areas. This poses great demands on the crew’s competence and on the resources that are used. The rescue service is a priority for the Governor and emphasis is placed on the development and maintenance of plans, exercises and cooperation with other actors in the rescue service.
The Governor of Svalbard has entered into a contract with CHC AS for the operation of two rescue helicopters. The model used is the Eurocopter Super Puma AWSAR. Both helicopters are among the country’s best equipped rescue helicopters. They are adapted for flying in extremely cold conditions and have a long range, auto hover function and thermal camera. They are also equipped for night flying and have de-icing equipment.
Between March and December each year, The Governor also has the expedition and research vessel M/S “Polarsyssel” at its disposal. The 89-metre vessel has an ice class rating, helicopter deck and control room for managing operations.
In addition, The Governor of Svalbard has the following equipment at its disposal:
- a snowcat
- snow scooters
- patrol boats
- service cabins and fuel depots for helicopters
- communication equipment, including base stations that cover large parts of the busiest areas in Svalbard
- rescue equipment and personal equipment for field operations
- glacier rescue equipment
- oil spill equipment