Our Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) are specially recruited and trained EMAS personnel who provide an ambulance response to major incidents. These may involve chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) or other hazardous materials or could involve incidents such as train crashes, large-scale motorway accidents, building collapses or significant fires that have occurred as a result of an accident or have been caused deliberately.
HART work alongside fire and rescue services within the ‘inner cordon’ (or ‘hot zone’) of a major incident. Their job is to triage and treat casualties and to save lives in very difficult circumstances. They are also there to look after other emergency personnel who may become injured whilst attending such incidents.
The team have all received a minimum of six weeks advanced training to give them the additional skills for the types of situations and patients they may be called to. For example, under authorisation from a doctor, they can use certain surgical skills such as surgical airway incision / tracheotomy to secure an airway and making an incision to drain air or fluid where patients have a chest injury during a prolonged entrapment. They are also PHTLS (pre-hospital trauma life support) trained so that they can provide enhanced care.
Due to the diversity of major, hazardous or complex incidents that the team could be called to they have a wide range of equipment available to provide appropriate care. For example:
- A range of PPE (personal protective equipment) such as chemical protection suits.
- A vehicle capable of treating mass casualties and giving oxygen to up to 48 people at once.
- A communications vehicle for coordinating a team response on scene.
- ‘Pop-up’ triage units to assess and treat patients on scene.
- A six-wheel-drive Polaris buggy for transporting equipment and personnel into a dangerous ‘hot zone’.
HART also work closely with other agencies, such as police and fire, and have a remit to support other HART crews nationally.
Day to day our HART have what is needed to help patients in new ways and are regularly called upon to attend to a range of incidents across our five Divisions. Their base in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire gives them an ideal central location to respond to incidents across the area we serve.
Calls responded to each year:
70-80 per month (not including responses to normal 999 calls).
Staff based there (number):
42 HART paramedics plus team trainer and HART manager.
Vehicles based there:
HART has 11 vehicles including three main HART vehicles, two FRVs (fast response vehicles), two USAR (urban search and rescue) vehicles and a minibus for transporting teams for mutual aid.
Something you may not know about HART:
EMAS HART were one of the first teams of their type to be set up outside London.