Hazardous Area Response Team

Hazardous Area Response Team

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

HART work alongside the police and fire and rescue services within hazardous environments. The job of the HART 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.

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

HazMat & CBRN(e)

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.

HazMat - Hazardous Materials

  • Working inside the inner cordon.
  • Industrial accidents.
  • High risk infectious diseases.
  • Complex transportation accidents.

CBRNe - Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Explosives

  • Specialist, inner cordon response to CBRN(e) / also a component part of the CBRN(e) capability 


Safe Working at Height, Confined Space & Unstable Terrain

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. May also involve the use of all terrain vehicles. 

SWaH - Safe Working at Height

  • Man-made structures.
  • Natural environment.

Confined Space

  • Substantially enclosed spaces.
  • Building collapses.
  • Compromised atmospheres

Unstable Terrain

  • Active rubble piles.
  • Rural access / difficult terrain. 


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.

  • Swift water rescue.
  • Urban and rural flooding.
  • Boat operations (working in or around). 


MTA - Marauding Terrorist Attack & SSO - Support to Security 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).

MTA - Marauding Terrorist Attack

  • Specialist support to the wider MTA response / also a component part of the MTA capability.

SSO - Support to Security Operations

  • Support to security operations.
  • Support to police operations.
  • Illicit drug laboratories.
  • VIP close protection support.

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.