New heights for HART

new-heights-for-hart-3West Midlands Ambulance Service’s Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) has recently installed a new training aid into their base to ensure they continue to be on top form.

WMAS HART consists of 42 Paramedics that are trained in a variety of skills enabling them to provide lifesaving emergency medical treatment in some very difficult environments. The teams are trained to use specialist equipment enabling them to work at heights, within confined spaces such as tunnels or collapsed buildings, rough terrain, at the scene of severe building fires as well as water rescue incidents. They also have specialist knowledge surrounding hazardous materials, such as chemicals, and how best to treat those patients that may have come into contact with such materials.

new-heights-for-hart-2-webTo help assist the team with some of their specialist ‘Safe Working at Height’ Training, a brand new purpose built structure standing seven metres high has recently been installed at their base in Oldbury.

All HART operatives have to successfully pass a nationally recognised certificate in order for them to work at height. This certificate, which entails them undertaking and successfully passing an external two day course, officially lasts for three years. However, as the teams have so many specialist competencies West Midlands Ambulance Services provides protected training for each HART Paramedic every seven weeks. This refresher training ensures all HART Paramedics operate confidently and safely within all their competencies.

Working within the scope of the Safe Working at Height competency, teams not only have to demonstrate their knowledge of how to help rescue patients from tricky locations but to also demonstrate the ability to carry out that work safely, using specific personal fall protection equipment, and to demonstrate the ability to rescue a colleague should anything unfortunate happen whilst at an incident.

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James Price, WMAS HART Manager said: “The organisation has a responsibility to keep staff and patients safe. As a regional asset HART find themselves having to work in a whole host of unfamiliar and very difficult environments in which they have to use a number of specialist skills. Having this equipment so readily available will help to assist the teams to complete their strict working at height training programmes.”

Ed Bowen, HART Paramedic and Urban Search and Rescue Lead said: “Having this facility on site is excellent. Teams no longer have to travel to use such facilities elsewhere, meaning they can train at times and dates that are best suited for them.

“It is hoped that in the future, the Trust will be able to build on this existing structure; providing additional scope to introduce an area for confined space training.”