HSSK is a self-funded volunteer rescue unit located in Kópavogur, Iceland. Its members are highly trained volunteers who can be called from their daily activities to help when human lives or valuables are in danger. As of 2010 more than 300 people have become full fledged members.
HSSK was established in 1969 by 12 members of The Icelandic Boy and Girl Scout Association in Kópavogur. HSSK is a member of ICE-SAR association, the coordinating body for Icelandic rescue units. Today, around 70 people take part in HSSK's activities on a daily basis and around 40 experienced members are ready to assist if necessary.
All request for help or assistant on land from rescue teams in Iceland go through the national emergency number, 112. At sea, all requests go through the Icelandic Coast Guard. You should contact them using conventional maritime communication protocols if possible or by calling 112.
If you have a mobile phone in Iceland you can dial 112 as long as you are within range of any service provider, even if you don't have access to it's network. (That is if you have a phone that's compatible with the mobile network, and the battery is not dead)
If you are using a satellite phone the number you dial is +354 809 0112 (substitute + for your international call prefix (ex. 00)).
HSSK responds to many different types of incidents, both emergencies and non-emergencies. Volunteer rescue teams in Iceland usually respond without charge unless payment is agreed upon in advance.
When boats and ships have emergencies the lifeboats are often deployed within 15 minutes from when HSSK receives information about the emergency. Search teams are often deployed in around 20 minutes. Mountain rescue teams also have very quick deployment time. Deployment times vary since our volunteers are usually not at our base when the request is .
HSSK operates a number of specialized search and rescue veichles. On the sea HSSK has two lifeboats, a Parker 900 Baltic RIB and a Zodiac Mark III inflatable. For glaciers and snow conditions HSSK has 4 snowmobiles and one snowcat, Kässbohrer Flexmobile. HSSK also has a number of all terrain vehicles. One tracked Hägglund, two Toyota Land Cruisers on 44” tires, a Ford Econoline on 41” tires and a Ford F350 pickup on 39” tires. Most of the vehicles can be used as emergency ambulances.
Other equipment includes mountain rescue gear, equipment for search and rescue in destroyed or unstable buildings, medical equipment for treatment and transportation of patients, specialized search lights and professional two-way radios.
HSSK is split into several divisions. They are:
HSSK also has a large group of trainees that are working on becoming full fledged members.
The initial recruiting process for new members takes 18 months of intensive training to prepare them to face everything from the roughness of the sea to extreme weather conditions on Icelandic mountain tops. After the recruitment period the new members start to specialize in different fields and start to gain experience in dealing with the incidents the unit responds to. Later many members start to take advanced seminars, for example the Wilderness first Responders course and Rigging for rescue.
HSSK works closely with rescue units and other emergency services in the capital area of Iceland and all around the country. HSSK has also recently started working with The Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue teams, based in Selkirk Scotland.
All help request should go through the national emergency number 112 or the Icelandic Coast Guard. See above.
Hjalparsveit skata i Kopavogi
Help requests: 112
Bryggjuvor 2: 554 3233
N 64° 06.700'
W 021° 56.300'