PARAMEDICS from the West Midlands Ambulance Service were given an insight into what a new career in the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) would be like as they tried out to become a member of the specialist unit.
HART teams provide paramedic care to patients within a hazardous environment that would otherwise be beyond the reach of NHS care.
This includes working within the inner cordon or hotzone of incidents.
The types of incidents they could be called upon to work in include:
• Safe working at height using ropes.
• Within confined spaces such as collapsed buildings.
• CBRN-E (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives) incidents.
• Wide area flooding.
• Within the warm zone of firearms incidents.
• Infectious diseases.
The staff who were trying to get selected had to go through a number of tests at Himley Hall in Dudley.
These included a two-mile run, swimming 20 metres in a dry suit, helmet, gloves and with a floatation device, a detailed clinical assessment and an exercise that involved working as a team.
HART Manager, James Price said: “The staff that put themselves forward were first and foremost, excellent paramedics.
“However, to get through this initial round of selection they also needed to be fit, determined, up for working in a team, supportive and not afraid to show leadership when required.
“We were very pleased with just how well prepared the candidates were – it was a very positive day.
“We will be whittling the numbers down with a view to interviewing the successful candidates later this week.
“If they get through that then they can begin a three month intensive training package before they can really start to learn as part of the active HART teams.
“Overall, we were delighted by the quality of staff and it will not be easy to pick the successful candidates
“Whilst we will be picking only a few to go forward, everyone who took part should be proud of their efforts; they are a credit to the paramedic profession.”