North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust has become one of the first ambulance services in the UK to launch a Hazardous Area Response Team.
The new team of highly trained paramedics has been commissioned by the Department of Health to provide life-saving medical care for mass casualties in the inner cordon or of major incidents – an area previously only accessible by members of the Fire and Rescue Services.
Operating across the whole of the North West region, The Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) will initially be based in Manchester with a second team scheduled to be introduced in Liverpool in January 2011.
Each team will comprise of 42 expert paramedics, specifically trained and equipped to work in high-risk environments, providing advanced life support, triage and treatment
”The remit of the HART Paramedics is to bring specialist skills to all sorts of large scale incidents,” said Joe Barrett, HART Manager at North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust.
“When there is a serious incident with many people hurt it is important that they receive good medical care quickly. For many years, in the event of a hazardous incident, it has been the role of the fire service to get casualties out to a safe place where ambulance crew can treat them – but that delay in treatment can in some instances have a devastating impact. Our staff are now equipped and trained to effectively provide those involved in a major incident with faster access to healthcare by having the capabilities to treat casualties directly in a contaminated or hazardous environment.”