The fundamental goal of emergency medical response in disaster is to save lives and reduce injury and permanent disability. It has been observed that urgent emergency medical care of seriously injured earthquake casualties trapped under building rubble, cannot be provided unless the victims have been extricated and transported to medical facilities by friends or relatives, or are accessible to field rescue and medical teams. Equally important is the fact that extrication of seriously injured, trapped victims by laypersons is hazardous, unless the following conditions are met: 1) the rescuer has basic knowledge of extrication, and; 2) there is early application of effective life-supporting first-aid (LSFA) and/or advanced trauma life support (ATLS) at the scene. Time is the critical factor in such an effort. In previous studies of death and dying in earthquakes, it was noted that extrication of trapped victims will be attempted by survivors. Therefore, it is suggested that citizens living in regions of high seismic risk and trained in basic search and rescue and in LSFA are the most immediate resource for early response after an earthquake. An accompanying paper addresses the issue of citizen LSFA training. This paper focuses on the basic concepts of search and rescue training for the lay public.