This appeared on my JEMS Connect Disaster EMS page. I thought it was interesting and worth sharing ...I'm sure Ian would appreciate some feedback.
My name is Ian (Dixon) and I am a Paramedic from one of the UK's new Hazardous Area Response Teams, known slightly confusingly known as HART teams! We are part of a National programme to provide paramedics in the'hot zone''. In the UK Fire, Police, and Ambulance services have traditionally been entirely distinct with no crossovers, but in the 21st century things have changed and new working relationships are developing. Since 2001 a movement has developed quickly to put operational ambulance staff inside the inner cordon/hot zone, from which we had previously been excluded, on the grounds that the casualties and the Fire and Police personnel deserved better medical backup. The HART programme was developing quickly but was not operational when the 2005 London bombings occurred. Shortly afterwards the prototype HART unit was established in London with an Urban Search and Rescue team set up in Yorkshire. In 2008 the Yorkshire Ambulance Service began recruiting for a full HART unit incorporating the very successful USAR team, and in 2009 we went live. The remit appears to be similar and yet distinct from other models of disaster relief. The UK has (will have very shortly) 12 HART teams spread throughout the country with similar set- ups in Scotland. Each team has 42 members consisting of 7 teams of 6 people. My unit is a mix of Paramedics and EMT's, all from the ambulance service, but with a broad range of previous experience including ex firefighters, Police , Military, civilian search and rescue etc. We are FULL TIME HART operatives being paid by the Dept. of Health at the National level but employed by the regional ambulance service. The extensive training covers extended duration BA to provide medical/rescue back up to our Firefighter colleagues, and CBRN training to provide the same for the public, Firefighters, Police, and the military. Amongst other training is HAZMED, civil disturbance, and of course the confined space and working at height elements or USAR. As a new resource to the UK resilience we are building more bridges between ourselves and our own frontline EMS colleagues; our Firefighter colleagues ; the Police and the military. Currently tasked only to the UK , most of my brothers and sisters look forward to the near future when we hope to be able to be available in Europe and beyond if required. The recent Italian earthquake was right on our doorstep, and unfortunately somewhere in the world is in the same position on a monthly basis.
We have sent people on training exercises in other jurisdictions most notably in Denmark, where work with all three services and foreign military including some from the USA was said to have been beneficial to all. It would be great to hear any feedback/experience or comments from the wider EMS community, and perhaps in particular from any contacts similarly tasked. Ps, happy Easter its cold and miserable here in Northern England.......
I'm a 30+ year paramedic with experience in ambulance and fire department environments. I'm currently a consultant doing EMS training and QI for fire departments. I'm a published non fiction author and have written magazine articles, textbooks and stories. I'm completing final edits on my first novel which is heavily based on my own experiences as a paramedic, and write quarterly for "Interventions" magazine. A new project is developing a video webseries for First Responders Network called "Disaster Sam", which will highlight stories of disaster EMS workers and the "people" that work in EMS. I promote EMS social media and the intent to make the world of EMS a better place.