Hazard Response Team to Cover Scilly

A new Exeter-based Hazard Response Team, launched this week, will provide cover for Scilly in the event of a major incident.

Islands’ Ambulance Boss, Tony Smith, says South Western Ambulance Service’s new Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) would be deployed by helicopter from RAF Chivenor in Devon within a couple of hours in the event of a major chemical spill, explosion or flood.

The team of 42 ambulance paramedics, available 24 hours a day, have been trained to treat patients under hazardous and potentially contaminated conditions.

Tony says local ambulance, and fire and rescue crew have also been trained to respond in the case of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents.

Maritime incidents will continue to be covered by the fire and coastguard services.

HART has been set up in response to the London Bombings in 2005 where the speed of response from emergency services was criticised.

Tony says that, rather than try to grab people from all over the mainland in the event of an incident, which takes time, we can now call the HART team.

He added there are also two Major Incident Trailers, with the main equipment already on board, positioned at the airport on St. Mary’s, should we need them.

The main problem at an incident is manpower, says Tony, and the HART Team have got that.