HART paramedics celebrate first-ever International Paramedics Day

Paramedics trained to work in the most hazardous environments have revealed why they are proud to celebrate the first-ever International Paramedics Day today (8 July).

Hazardous Area Response Teams (HART) operatives are paramedics based in the 10 English ambulance trusts around the country trained by the NHS’s National Ambulance Resilience Unit to save lives in highly hazardous scenarios.

In the last year these teams have been busier than ever with an average of more than 270 jobs per week nationally.

These have included hazardous materials and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incident deployments as well as inland water rescue, supporting firearms teams as well as high-risk events.

Jonny Bush, a Specialist Paramedic in Critical Care working with the Yorkshire Hazardous Area Response Team, said:

It is a privilege to help others and share in what is often a significant moment in a person’s life, to be invited into that moment and be trusted to help them navigate a crisis, ease suffering, and sometimes save a life.

I’m proud to be a paramedic because as a profession, we can fill a room or the scene of an incident with a team of ambulance colleagues that have never met before that given moment, and quickly, without fuss (or even many words needing to be said!) unify our joint efforts for a singular purpose: to deliver expert patient care in demanding and stressful situations.

Just last month (June), fifty-two specialist hazardous area paramedics tackled a NARU organised terrorist attack exercise involving firearms and explosions.

Called Exercise Amber, the exercise involved 120 casualties and was designed to test 24 paramedics’ skills and abilities following 6 weeks of residential training to become Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) operatives. 

In addition, 8 previously trained HART staff took part alongside 20 Special Operations Response Teams (SORT) staff – who are now trained to support HART teams.

Exercise Amber, which involved a state-of-the-art command and control vehicle, a drone capable of thermal imaging and an air ambulance, tested the complex interoperable response required by the Ambulance Service to a mass casualty incident. 

The scenario was a marauding terrorist attack (MTA) and involved more than 340 people on site – including specialist casualty actors (Amputees in Action).

Keith Prior, Director of the National Ambulance Resilience Unit, commented:

I’m a paramedic myself, so I’m really proud to have worked in this profession for almost 40 years and I’ve seen tremendous changes implemented over that period of time.

And so now we’ve got professional world class facilities where we ensure trained paramedics get to patients as quickly as possible to save even more lives. It’s not only in the UK, we get visitors from abroad coming to look at what we do and spread the word about the system of work that we’ve pioneered here across to other countries.

David Bull, Head of Education at the National Ambulance Resilience Unit, added:

I’m incredibly proud to support the first ever International Paramedics Day.

In my 40-year paramedic career I’ve seen the profession innovate with new skills and the latest equipment to improve our ability to save lives and improve clinical outcomes.

Hundreds of paramedics come to NARU each year to learn new skills and abilities to become Hazardous Area Response Team operatives working in the most challenging environments. This is part of our mission to ensure that the NHS Ambulance Service is effectively trained and fully equipped to provide the best front-line healthcare during the most complex incidents.

This week is also the NHS’s birthday, so it’s a perfect time to celebrate paramedics – not only here in England but also right around the world.

#ProudToBeAParamedic #IPD2022  #InternationalParamedicsDay

For information on joining, HART click here.

back to top