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HART capability boosted following planning approval

Planning approval for a temporary Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) base in Gatwick is set to boost specialist ambulance provision for South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.


The site in the Gatwick area will provide facilities for 42 specially trained staff, along with vehicles and equipment designed to respond to incidents where casualties are in hazardous environments.

Teams are equipped to deal with a wide range of incidents from chemical leaks, urban search and rescue incidents, to flooding, safe working at height and multi-vehicle road traffic collisions.

Working with partner emergency services they provide improved life-saving support, triage and treatment in line with government initiatives and legislation.

HART manager, Neil Harrison, said: “As far the planning application is concerned this is a very exciting prospect as we can now look at developing and converting the building to operate as a HART base.

“This will enable us to respond to hazardous incidents in the western half of SECAmb much quicker and more effectively, as well as provide support for our East HART team in Ashford.”

HART recently dealt with a large scale chemical fire in the East Grinstead area, which saw its breathing apparatus crews stood by with fire crews and assisted in treating patients suffering from chemical burns.

Clinicians receive intensive training including the use of breathing apparatus and limited life gas-tight chemical suits to facilitate entry into hazardous areas, providing treatment to patients earlier, thus improving clinical outcome. In addition to urban search and rescue, how to operate safely at height and around water, HART are working towards forming the ambulance service’s maritime incident response team (AMIRT).

Specialist vehicles include off road 4x4 and urban search and rescue vehicles as well as a state-of-the-art command vehicle.

When not responding to HART calls, teams will provide operational support to the Trust’s 999 fleet with two Single Response Vehicles and a frontline ambulance.

The planning application was approved by Crawley Borough Council at a committee meeting on January 24.

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