Hazardous area response team

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The Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) is a capability of the NHS ambulance services in the United Kingdom devoted to providing paramedic and enhanced medical care to patients in the "hot zone" of hazardous environments.[1]


HART is deployed to various hazardous, complex or prolonged incidents. The national capabilities include:

  • CBRN/HazMat - CBRNe and hazmat incidents
  • High Consequence Infectious Disease (HCID) - caring for patients with highly contagious diseases including viral haemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola and smallpox.
  • USAR Urban Search and Rescue - responding to patients at height, in confined space or collapsed or unstable buildings)
  • Water operations - flood and swift water rescue
  • MTA - tactical medical operations in terrorist or firearms incidents
  • Security operations - supporting police officers during hazardous operations.[2]

All HART teams within the ambulance services of England & Wales have the same capabilities.[3] allowing interoperable activities at large scale incidents or planned events such as the Olympic Games or UN 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (CoP26) conference. The Northern Ireland team has additional capabilities covering mountain rescue taskings.

Each HART unit consist of emergency medical personnel, primarily paramedics, who have undergone specialised training at the National Ambulance Resilience Unit (NARU) Education Centre[4] in the use of safety critical procedures, skills, vehicles and equipment. Their specialised equipment includes personal protective equipment (such as breathing apparatus, hazmat suits, and safe work at height equipment, and flotation devices and for working in water.


The HART capability originated from a 2004 report on the feasibility of paramedics working in the hot zone or inner cordon of major incidents.[5] and the programme was established following the 2005 London Bombings.[6] HART forms part of the health response in support of the National Capabilities Programme being led by the Home Office, which aims to ensure that fewer lives would be risked or lost in the event of a terrorist-related attack or accidental CBRN incident[2] as part of the government and emergency services' "Model Response" plans.[7]

Notable deployments[edit]


The first generation HART fleet consisted of Iveco Daily, Land Rover Discovery and Volvo XC70 response vehicles, now decommissioned, with a separate Iveco primemover carrying a Polaris 6x6 ATV.

The second generation HART fleet consists of the following vehicles supplied by WAS.[8][9]

  • 3x Primary Response Vehicle (Volkswagen Transporter)[10]
  • 3x Secondary Response Vehicle (Mercedes Sprinter)
  • 1x Staff Welfare Vehicle (Mercedes Sprinter)
  • MAN 7.5t primemover with Polaris 6x6 ATV[11]

The operational fleet is supported by 2x Crew Carriers (Mercedes Sprinter converted by Wilker)

Operational areas[edit]

HART is operational in every NHS ambulance service in the United Kingdom, although In Scotland they are referred to as the Special Operations Response Team.

Ambulance Service Base General Location
East of England Ambulance Service[12] Melbourn Cambridge
East of England Ambulance Service[12] Great Notley Braintree/Stanstead
East Midlands Ambulance Service[13] Mansfield Derby/Sheffield/Bradford
London Ambulance Service[14] Cody Road East London
London Ambulance Service[14] Isleworth West London
North East Ambulance Service[15] Monkton Newcastle
North West Ambulance Service[16] Ashburton Point Manchester
North West Ambulance Service[16] Croxteth Liverpool
Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Lissue Lisburn
Scottish Ambulance Service Aberdeen






South Central Ambulance Service[17] Eastleigh Southampton
South East Coast Ambulance Service[18] Gatwick Gatwick
South East Coast Ambulance Service[18] Ashford Kent/Channel Tunnel
South Western Ambulance Service[19] Filton Bristol
South Western Ambulance Service[19] Exeter Devon
Yorkshire Ambulance Service[20] Manor Mill Leeds
West Midlands Ambulance Service[21] Oldbury Birmingham
Welsh Ambulance Service[22] Bryncethin Swansea/Cardiff

Similar capabilities exist within the Isle of Man Ambulance Service.


  1. ^ "HART". National Ambulance Resilience Unit.
  2. ^ a b "Welcome to SWASFT - Accident and Emergency".
  3. ^ "About HART". Archived from the original on 27 January 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2010.
  4. ^ "Education & Training".
  5. ^ Leivesley, Sally (Winter 2003–2004). "Bank Station Chemical Attack Simulation Exercise: Issues for Emergency Planners and Local Authorities". Alert: 4–6. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  6. ^ "How to become a HART paramedic: Hannah's story".
  7. ^ https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/228651/7788.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  8. ^ "Home - Wietmarscher Ambulanz- und Sonderfahrzeug GMBH".
  9. ^ "New HART Vehicles arrive in Yorkshire". NARU. 23 September 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  10. ^ https://www.emas.nhs.uk/news/latest-news/2017-news/three-new-vehicles-for-our-hazardous-area-response-team/
  11. ^ "Bevan Group teams up with WAS UK to ensure rapid deployments of".
  12. ^ a b "Hazardous Area Response Team". eastamb.nhs.uk. East of England Ambulance Service. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  13. ^ "HART". emas.nhs.uk. East Midlands Ambulance Service. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Hazardous area response team". londonambulance.nhs.uk. London Ambulance Service. September 2017. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  15. ^ "Hazardous Area Response Team". neas.nhs.uk. North East Ambulance Service. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Handling major incidents". nwas.nhs.uk. North West Ambulance Service. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  17. ^ "Resilience and Specialist Operations". scas.nhs.uk. South Central Ambulance Service. 23 December 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Our Locations". secamb.nhs.uk. South East Coast Ambulance Service. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  19. ^ a b "Hazardous Area Response Team". swast.nhs.uk. South Western Ambulance Service. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  20. ^ "Ambulance service responses". yas.nhs.uk. Yorkshire Ambulance Service. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  21. ^ "Emergency Preparedness". wmas.nhs.uk. West Midlands Ambulance Service. 6 August 2019. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  22. ^ "Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response". ambulance.wales.nhs.uk. Welsh Ambulance Service. Retrieved 6 November 2020.

External links[edit]