Tom Spycher, Connector ICAR Office, introducing ICAR International Commission for Alpine Rescue.

When was your association founded?
In 1948

Where is your association based, how many members do you have & in how many countries?
Seated in Kloten, Switzerland. Politically neutral and not profit oriented.

103 member organizations from 37 countries worldwide.

Who are your members?
Mountain rescue organizations or subject specific related organizations who cover part of the aspects of organized mountain rescue. Mainly volunteers, some professionals or semi-professionals.
We have 4 Commissions:

TER - Terrestrial Rescue
AVA - Avalanche Rescue
AIR - Air Rescue
MED - Emergency Mountain Medicine Commission
1 Sub-Commission:
DOG - Rescue Dog-Handlers

What is your mission & aim of the association?
- The main task of ICAR is the exchange of experience between the practitioners in mountain rescue.
- ICAR is a technical forum for new insights in mountain rescue. ICAR is a safety forum for mountain rescue.
- ICAR issues recommendations to its members about mountain rescue and the prevention of accidents.
- ICAR represents the interests of its members to other organizations at an international level and, upon request, at a national level.
- ICAR cultivates the exchange of knowledge with the manufacturers of equipment relevant to mountain rescue.
- ICAR is an independent, worldwide organization that respects its members and promotes international cooperation.

What are the major challenges facing your association?
- rapid growth

- continued active member contributions
- collaboration of volunteer and professional organizations
- maintaining/increasing quality standards (best practice)

What kind of events are organised by your association?
Annual ICAR Convention (up to 500 attendees, in October), which includes the annual ICAR Assembly of Delegates. Hosted and organized by one or several of our member organizations in their respective country. In addition, some Commission/Sub-Commission meetings (40-80 attendees, in Spring) usually take place.

What is the decision process behind the selection of a destination/venue?
An ICAR Member Organization (alternating annually) applies to the ICAR Executive Board to host and organize a future ICAR Convention. The ICAR Assembly of Delegates approves venue and dates. The ICAR Member Organization can then start to organize and make commitments/contracts.

Can you share your insights about the latest trends within the association community?
There is an increased need to network at the annual convention and also during the rest of the year, not only between rescue organizations, but also directly between rescuers and specific specialists.

What does your association do in terms of legacy, do your meetings have a societal impact on the destination?
Our annual conventions usually coincide with anniversaries of local member organizations. The size of the event then has a major and greater national impact, which is important for our mostly volunteer local member organizations.

Are you looking to forge collaborations with other associations? If so in what areas of expertise?
Collaboration in the area of safety, of prevention and on medical aspects ongoing with:
- UIAA International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation
- IFMGA International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations
- ISMM International Society for Mountain Medicine

For more information please check their website: