THE DEVON and Somerset Fire and Rescue Specialist Operations Team recently took part in a training exercise with the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) paramedics.

A series of scenarios within confined spaces were carried out that provide the paramedics with the skills they will need to enter the ‘Hot Zone’ of an incident beside fire and rescue crews and administer advanced medical care at the center of an incident.

Before HART crews were available, casualties would have been brought out to waiting ambulance personnel by fire crews where treatment could begin.

Having paramedics that are HART trained means more lives could be potentially saved by assessing causalities as early as possible.

‘Amputees in Action’ were also involved in the day - these are people who have lost limbs as a direct result of a trauma incident and are able to bring their experiences to the exercises as they remain in character throughout.

One member of the HART crew had a webcam on his helmet, which is operated from their incident command vehicle.

This can beam live images to a doctor not present at the scene who can assist in making a medical decision.

Christian Wiggin HART training manager said: “The HART team come into this exercise blind, simply not knowing what to expect. They only know they have to have the right kit for urban search and rescue. It was very hands-on for everyone, having to assess a real person who has real injuries. They learn to manage the situation in their own way and each team has managed it very differently but very well.

“The training has been invaluable it doesn’t get much more realistic in the area of causality management.” Warren Oak of the Specialist Operations Team added: ““This is a great piece of partnership working and it is now recognized that it is critical that ambulance staff are able to have fast access to casualties.

“It is great working with them. The bottom line is that lives will be saved by HART crews reaching causalities at an early stage.”