Hazardous Area Response Team

Within SWASFT there are two Hazardous Area Response Teams (HART), based in Bristol and Exeter.

HART work alongside the police and fire and rescue services within hazardous environments. The job of HART is to triage and treat casualties and to help save lives in very difficult circumstances. The teams are also there to look after other emergency personnel who may become injured whilst attending these difficult and challenging incidents.

Paramedics in HART are trained to respond within the remit of four core capabilities:

  • IRU - Incident Response Unit. Allows HART paramedics to operate in environments involving hazardous materials using a range of personal protective equipment and specialist logistics. Includes the ability to operate inside inner cordons with the fire and rescue service using breathing apparatus and gas-tight suits.
  • USAR - Urban Search and Rescue. Allows paramedic care to be delivered to patients where safe working at height or confined space rescue is required. Difficult access incidents include collapsed buildings, tunnels and caves, cranes or rooftops and industrial settings like towers and storage tanks. These may also involve the use of all terrain vehicles.
  • IWO - Inland Water Operations. Allows paramedic care to be delivered to patients requiring water rescue. Situations requiring IWO include flooding and people injured around rivers or lakes. IWO will usually be delivered in conjunction with the local fire and rescue service.
  • TMO - Tactical Medical Operations. Allows HART paramedics to deliver paramedic care where ballistic protection is required from either firearms or explosives. Support to police firearms teams and EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal).
Email this page Print page


South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is the top ambulance service in England for running the most clinical research studies to inform and improve patient care and treatments in the future.

How can we make this page better?
Captcha Test Image
Rounded corners
Rounded corners
© South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust 2016 Design by Precedent | Powered by Sitekit