This is a small but vitally important section of the organisation which deals with the Trust’s planning and response to significant and major incidents within the region as well as providing support for large gatherings such as football matches and festivals.
Hazardous Area Response Team (HART)
Our Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) comprises of specialist paramedics who are able to operate in challenging and often dangerous situations such as collapsed buildings, in fast moving water, working at height or in confined spaces, and also deal with patients who have been exposed to chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear incidents. HART are based in each of England’s ten NHS Ambulance Trusts, which means they can cover the whole of the country, in some cases working together on specific, large scale or high-profile incidents, either accidental or deliberately caused. HART work alongside the police and fire & rescue services within what is known as the ‘inner cordon’ (or ‘hot zone’) of a major incident. The job of the HART teams is to triage and treat casualties and to help save lives in very difficult circumstances. They are also there to look after other emergency personnel who may become injured whilst attending these difficult and challenging incidents. Find out more about HART.
Air and Critical Care Operations
Air operations comprises access to four air ambulance. Three are provided by the Midlands Air Ambulance charity at RAF Cosford in Shropshire, Strensham Service on the M5 in Worcestershire and at Tatenhill Airfield in Staffordshire, the other aircraft is provided by The Air Ambulance Service based at Coventry Airport. In recent years both services have significantly invested in expansion of their services with The Air Ambulance Service operating a night Rapid Response Vehicle from Coventry Airport and Midlands Air Ambulance operating 2 Critical Care Cars based in Oldbury and Worcester City Centre.
Medical Emergency Response Intervention Team (MERIT)
Emergency preparedness also oversees MERIT (Medical Emergency Response Incident Team) which operates 24.7 across the Region. MERIT is made up of a Critical Care Paramedic and a Doctor and the team will typically respond to serious trauma cases such as stabbings, shootings and serious RTCs, to support patients who are critically ill / injured and our ambulance staff. The West Midlands Region is also very lucky to have strong support from a number of British Association of Immediate Care (BASIC) schemes namely, West Midlands Care Team, Mercia Accident Rescue Service, North Staffordshire Basics and the Cheshire and Shropshire Immediate Care groups who provide highly qualified volunteer staff to respond to our most serious of incidents.
Resilience and Business Continuity
The Trusts Resilience and Business Continuity team ensure we are able to operate 24/7 no matter what the challenges we may face such as IT failure, Denial of Premises access through weather, fire and flood etc. The Trust has a renowned commitment to training our staff at all levels in incident response and business continuity which the Resilience Managers design and deliver.
Community Risk Register
Across the West Midlands, there are four Local Resilience Forums (LRFs): Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Midlands Conurbation. LRFs are multi-agency partnerships made up of representatives from local public services, including the emergency services, local authorities, the NHS, the Environment Agency and others. These agencies are known as Category 1 Responders, as defined by the Civil Contingencies Act. LRFs are supported by organisations, known as Category 2 responders, such as the Highways Agency and public utility companies.
Each LRF has a Community Risk Register (CRR) which enables the community to be better prepared to cope during an emergency and to recover more quickly. The CRR provides information on emergencies that could happen within the each area, together with an assessment of how likely they are to happen and the impacts if they do. You can find links to the Registers for each LRF here:
West Mercia: Community Risk Register (westmercia.police.uk)
West Midlands: preparing-the-west-midlands-for-emergencies.pdf (wordpress.com)
Warwickshire: WCCC-929-5 (warwickshire.gov.uk)
Staffordshire: Staffordshire Community Risk Register Jun 2021 Public (staffordshireprepared.gov.uk)