A Ripley woman has become one of the latest recruits to a specialist paramedic team which responds to the most dangerous of emergencies.
Zoe Reynolds, 32, is one of four new members of the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) Hazardous Area Response Team (HART).
The team are specially recruited EMAS personnel who are put through a challenging selection and training process to prepare them for working in exceptional circumstances.
Zoe said: “A lot of the other people going for it were more experienced than me so I had no expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised when I was accepted.”
To be in with a chance of joining HART, Zoe had to endure a physical testing day which involved crawling through a tunnel system in the dark, abseiling, swimming, all in a weighted vest—as well as conducting clinical assessments.
She and her new colleagues began a further six-week training course in Salisbury on Monday, February 13.
Zoe, who has been a paramedic with EMAS for six years and is currently based at Stapleford, loves adventure sports and so jumped at the chance to incorporate them into the day job.
She said: “I love climbing and caving and doing outdoor things, so it will be great to be paid to do it too.”
HART are trained in preparation for major incidents which could involve chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear, or other hazardous materials.
Their brief also includes train crashes, large-scale motorway accidents, building collapses and catastrophic fires.
Sid Murphy, who manages HART operations for EMAS, said: “Congratulations to the four paramedics. We look forward to each of them becoming an integral part of our team, providing high quality care to patients, often in extreme or challenging circumstances and environments.”
Zoe will be joined on the team by Richard Hill, 36, Mark Blease, 47, and Ross Bates, 23.
Richard, an Ashbourne native who has worked in Australia for the last ten years, said: “As I normally respond to incidents in a car on my own, I wanted to work as part of a team again to be the best we could be.”