Floods reveal importance of HART and EPRR

A message from Keith Prior, NARU Director

Keith Prior 300x400Weeks of torrential rainfall across the UK have left hundreds of families trying to cope with the horrors of flooding and the impact for many communities has been severe. In these challenging times the emergency services have worked extremely well together and I am proud to be able to say that HART has truly played its part, with operatives trained in safe water rescue working alongside their Fire and Rescue counterparts  to rescue and evacuate hundreds of people caught up in the floods.

The floods have shown HART at its best, with individual teams working long hours in difficult conditions and Trusts providing mutual aid to each other when times have been at their toughest. NARU played a small part in providing special vehicles from our training facility to help with the flood response. An interesting question has been asked of me by a number of people, however, and that is, “Why can’t we see HART teams responding on the TV?”

safe and well 5 - 15.02.14
Photos used with kind permission of West Midlands Ambulance Service

The simple answer is that both the Fire and Rescue Service and HART teams use the same supplier for wet suits, whilst in water rescue the helmets we use are not HART ones, they are determined by the individual operative’s level of proficiency in water training, Hence they all look like Fire and Rescue personnel, but I guarantee you, HART teams have been in the thick of the action – and well done to them too.

flood2
Photos used with kind permission of West Midlands Ambulance Service

Away from flooding, as part of our ongoing aim of keeping commissioners up to speed with national ambulance resilience issues, myself and NARU Medical Director John Stephenson met with Rakesh Marwaha, the Chairman of the Ambulance Commissioning Group and Chief Officer at NHS Erewash CCG. Our discussions covered a wide range of resilience issues including NARU, HART and the Health CONTEST strategy and were of great benefit to both parties. The ACG now plans to appoint someone to lead on ambulance EPRR issues which can only be a positive thing.

Keeping the NHS Ambulance Chief Executives informed is another important part of my job and I gave an update recently on NARU progress which was very well received by this senior group. The Chief Executives continue to support the vital work NARU does, and they approved our work plans for the next financial year. Happily, we also have broad agreement on the NARU work plan for 2014-15 with the Department of Health and NHS England, which means we can continue our plans apace.

Finally, if you haven’t already signed up to attend AMBITION 2014 which is supported by AACE and NARU, I would urge you to do so now. Aside from some interesting free seminars and demonstrations, a conference stream and numerous opportunities for networking and meeting new contacts, you can also visit our stand and meet the NARU team. Contact carl.rees@reesps.com for more details and possible free VIP tickets.