Hazardous Area Response Teams (HART) are specially recruited and trained personnel who provide the ambulance response to major incidents involving hazardous materials, or which present hazardous environments, that have occurred as a result of an accident or have been caused deliberately.
Incidents to which HART units are typically summoned include toxic waste spillages, radioactive leakages and terrorist attacks involving biological weapons.
Our men and women are specially trained to provide emergency medical treatment and rescue in environments that would be too dangerous for normal paramedics. They arrive to the scene equipped with specialist equipment and medication for victims of exposure to hazardous materials.
HART was setup in 2005 by the government in conjunction with the NHS and the Ambulance Service after the need was recognized for a medical response force capable of operating close to injured people in extremely hazardous situations.
HART personnel are an elite within the UK’s emergency medical rescue staff. They are recruited directly from the cream of the existing ambulance services and subjected to numerous tests and assessments, including thorough psychological screening by our contracted London psychotherapy specialist and rigorous physical fitness tests at our Essex medical evaluation center. Only if they pass these preliminaries does their HART training begin at our dedicated training facility in Manchester.
Since its forming, the government’s Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR, or “Cobra”) committee has called in HART to spearhead the medical response for over two dozen bio-hazardous incidents that have occurred in major population centers or more isolated areas.