Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and the region’s Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) are engaging in a mutually beneficial MOU collaboration that promotes both community safety and effective response in the case of emergencies.
Rowan Delasalle, Station Manager National Resilience, said, “This is an exciting and important collaboration. The benefits of this MOU are that urban search and rescue (USAR) and HART are trained in the same skills so if a terrorist incident were to take place we would respond together as one team. The USAR team will be upskilled in our first aid ability and HART in their urban search and rescue skills. We will also be familiar with each other’s kit. The greatest benefit is that we get to know each other and are on a first name basis.”
Mark Woolgar, one of the lead paramedics from HART, based in Exeter, explained, “Our job roles cross over when in the urban search and rescue environment. Working together in this way means we have a better understanding on what capability USAR can provide and vice versa. But more importantly we get to know people and are on first name terms so the working dynamic is greatly improved. It’s really a win-win situation.”
The exchange involves staff from HART operative working their shift alongside USAR whilst a USAR/MTFA technician works their shift alongside HART. Each member of staff will remain under the command and control of their employer while working, training and responding with their host organisations.
The MOU supports the exchange of staff between SWAST HART and DSFRS USAR/MTFA and sets out the basis on which such secondments shall take place.