Our Training

"HART personnel must have the confidence and presence to take a lead health role in the command and control of a major incident whenever necessary. They need to be able to work effectively not only within their own team, but also as part of the wider multi-agency response team with other emergency services…The intense nine-week HART training programme builds on the capabilities and resilience of each candidate. It is both mentally and physically challenging but extremely rewarding."

- Joe Barrett, NWAS HART Manager.

The main aim of HART is to provide initial triage, treatment and assessment of casualties within the inner cordon. This clearly involves exceptionally close working arrangements with Fire and Rescue and the Police Service and one of the cornerstones of the HART programme is the importance of a true multi-agency response.

The clinical care offered by HART paramedics is based on Joint Royal College Ambulance Liaison Committee (JRCALC) guidelines.

Is the training for NWAS HART the same as that for all HART teams?

There is a national standard for HART teams with all members being recruited via the same selection method, receiving the same training, using the same equipment and working to the same protocols wherever they are in the country, thereby allowing teams from different areas to readily support each other in the event of a large scale incident.

What is involved in training a HART team?

A bespoke modular training course has been developed for HART. Each module is designed to give HART members the theoretical and practical knowledge and competencies they will need to carry out operations within the inner cordon of any major incident.

Starting with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) training before the residential modules the successful candidates will attend a CBRN Decontamination course facilitated by the Trusts CBRNE Manager. After which they undergo a CR1 course with Lancashire Constabulary utilising the same PPE as specialist Police Teams. Finally they will attend a 2 week breathing apparatus and gas tight chemical suit course at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service's (MFRS) Training and Development Academy

HART trainees then attend a three-week residential course at the Defence Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Centre at Winterbourne Gunner, Salisbury. This facility is responsible for training military personnel in biological and nuclear warfare as well as delivering courses to police forces in CBRN.

HART members are trained for the worst case scenario. If they attend a CBRN incident, they will have to locate patients, triage them rapidly, and in some instances perform life-saving interventions - all whilst working in cooperation with fire and rescue to bring priorities casualties out to a collection point.

Those candidates most suited may then have the opporturnity to then enrol on the 3 week Urban Search and Rescue Course at the National Fire and Rescue Service College in Moreton in Marsh. Learning such skills at Safe Working at Height and Confined Space Rescue, staff become able to work alongside Fire and Rescue Service colleagues in demanding environments to manage the clinical aspects of a trapped casualty whislt FRS manage the rescue element.

Further courses are included in the overall training are the 4x4 and Polaris training and advanced communications training on the C&C unit.

Finally team members will undertake the Inland Water Operations Course run by MFRS at their training locations in Liverpool Docklands and the rivers of North Wales. Learning how to be safe in boats and able to self rescue in unforeseen circumstances, team members are able to provide vital; clinical support to rescue services in areas isolated by flood water etc.

Who is involved in training HART members?

Training instructors are drawn from right across the emergency services network. They primarily include Ambulance Service personnel but also staff from the Fire and Rescue Services, the police, military and defence, the Health Protection Agency and NHS doctors who also have some military training, either in the Territorial Army or Reserve Services.

Ambulance HART which manages the training for all HART crews also uses A&E consultants who have completed operational tours in Iraq and Afghanistan to deliver training in trauma, including injuries caused by bullets or bomb blasts.

A number of members of NWAS HART are also national trainers, delivering aspects of the national training programme to other HART teams on behalf of Ambulance HART. These include Simon Watson, NWAS HART Specialist Trainer, who has been working as an Ambulance HART trainer on behalf of the Department of Health since September 2008, Andy Taylor USAR trainer, Jo Hodson IRU trainer and Grant Baxter and Neil Prowse who teach CR1 alongside Police colleagues.

Click here to watch a HART training drill in action