New training facility for NWAS HART

North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has recently completed phase one of a new training facility for its Hazardous Area Response Team (HART). The facility includes a bespoke training tower, which was commissioned to provide an adaptable training at height facility for the team.

Designed, fabricated and erected on site by Carnforth-based company LARS Communications, the tower stands at 8m tall and incorporates various climbing elements designed for different working at height scenarios. It includes two working platforms with access hatches, fixed ladder access from ground level to the second platform hatch, mast climbing pegs and mast climbing staples. Standard eye bolts have also been fitted to act as secure points for safety lines to allow personnel to climb the tower externally. Alongside the tower are two storage containers, each measuring 30ft, designed to simulate further hazardous scenarios.

The HART team works alongside fire and rescue services within the ‘inner cordon’ of a major incident. Their job is to triage and treat casualties and to save lives in very difficult circumstances. They are also called on to look after other emergency service personnel who may become injured whilst attending incidents.

HART Team Leader James Woodsell said, “This has been an exciting opportunity to be involved in from start to finish. The facility allows us to greatly enhance how our emergency services teams are trained to respond to a range of realistic scenarios where certain potential dangers are involved.

“This is particularly important for our Hazardous Area Response Team who is specifically experienced in responding to patients who are in high risk locations. To have a training facility such as this is excellent news and will be invaluable to help support our staff to conduct their training both realistically and safely.

“The benefits of this facility can also be shared with our multi-agency partners so they too can similarly develop their knowledge and skills in this area.”

Phase two of the project will now see the containers further developed, one into a confined space rescue facility with crawl spaces and difficult extrication routes, while the other will be a multi-purpose domestic facility able to simulate realistic incidents such as Illicit Drug Laboratories or Individual Chemical Exposure (ICE).

Head of Special Operations Joe Barrett said, “To be able to develop a training facility such as this is excellent news and demonstrates the Trust’s commitment to supporting staff in realistic training for their roles. I would like to express my personal thanks to the team for the hard work they have put in to this project over the last 12 months.”