Exercise Amber: NARU’s specialist HART & SORT paramedics face mass casualty terrorist training

Fifty-two specialist hazardous area response paramedics tackled a terrorist attack exercise earlier this month 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.

Each of the 10 English ambulance trusts have specialist HART paramedics, trained by the NHS’s National Ambulance Resilience Unit (NARU).

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).

NHS England’s Resilience Team National Director Mike Prentice and Director of EPRR Stephen Groves – pictured above – observed the exercise.

Stephen said:

We saw first-hand how paramedics trained to work in the most challenging and dangerous environments cope with a major and realistic mass casualty exercise and use their skills to save lives and improve clinical outcomes.

NARU Director Keith Prior, pictured right, said:

Exercise Amber provided an opportunity to see first-hand how the response looks at “ground level” to one of the most dangerous incidents so congratulations to all our HART graduates who took part.

For more details about the role of HART Teams, watch our video here.
Get further details about the requirements for joining HART here.
Watch our SORT video here.

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