New Radios Aid Paramedics Working in Hazardous Areas
November 09 2009 – For the first time nationally, paramedics will be able to communicate within the inner cordon of major hazardous incidents, thanks to the delivery of new ‘intrinsically safe’ radios.
The new Hazardous Area Response Teams (HART) across England are being equipped with radios which are safe to use in environments such as petrochemical works, industrial areas or accident scenes where there may be explosive gases. The Department of Health has ordered 10 Motorola MTP850Ex digital TETRA radios for each of the HART teams in England, and they will be in operational use by April 2010.
The radios are being delivered as part of a programme to equip the HART teams with Airwave, the secure, national communications service dedicated to public safety organisations. Airwave, already used by the police, is currently being delivered to the ambulance trusts of England, Scotland and Wales, as well as the fire service. The intrinsically safe handheld radios, along with the in-vehicle radios, connect to Airwave, the UK’s national public safety communications service.
James Price manages the HART team at West Midlands Ambulance Service. He said: “This is the first time paramedics nationally have been able to work within the inner cordon. Until now, it’s been inconsistent in that just a handful of ambulance services have had intrinsically safe radios.
“Some incidents involve hundreds of emergency workers, so it’s vital we have crystal clear, effective communication.
“We have been testing these sets within West Midlands for the past two months in all levels of HART personal protective equipment. They have proven robust, reliable and effective in all situations.”
He added: “Use of Airwave generally is a major improvement – we’ve literally gone from communicating with two paper cups and a piece of string to this fantastic, reliable communications service. The addition of intrinsically safe radios is absolutely vital – it impacts staff safety as well as organisation and deployment of resources.”
David Sangster, general manager of Airwave’s health division, said: “We know that effective communication is critical to an effective response, so it’s important the HART teams can use their radios with confidence wherever they have to work.”
Vincent Kennedy, sales director, Enterprise Mobility Solutions – Government Markets, said: “Motorola’s rugged, intuitive products undergo a series of rigorous tests to ensure superior quality and reliability under the most extreme conditions.
The devices are designed with end users for end users, to meet their day-to-day needs. The MTP850Ex is a result of this end user oriented product development process and we are delighted that this terminal has been chosen to serve HART teams in their important life-saving tasks.”