Emergency services from across Sussex gathered at K2 Crawley Leisure Centre to share knowledge at an innovative partnership working course. Project Martlet brought together eight separate category one responders to build relations and provide Incident Liaison Officers (ILOs) and students with vital understanding of their role.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, Sussex Police, South East Coast Ambulance, Marine Coastguard Agency, British Red Cross, Environment Agency, Highways Agency, Crawley Territorial Army- REME unit, all turned out to the event with top of the range response vehicles and experts.

Among the experts were South East Coast Ambulance's brand new Hazardous Area Response Team (HART); specially recruited and trained medics who are equipped to respond to major incidents involving hazardous materials or environments. The team is set to launch across Sussex, Surrey and Kent next month.Cat1 big 

The team has specialised equipment including a £1.2 million Forward Command Unit vehicle with satellite and other specialist communication technology capable of enabling the use of voice, data and video operations which can be deployed within four minutes of arriving at a scene.

Other vehicles carry crews, personal protective equipment (PPE) and breathing apparatus which can provide oxygen to up to 48 casualties at a time.

Matt England, South East Coast Ambulance HART Manager, said: "It's about making sure we can treat casualties as quickly and effectively as possible while ensuring the safety of our staff in very challenging conditions."

Lance Corporal Lorraine Wakefield from Redhill and Crawley Territorial Army also attended the event with her team, explaining the many varied career paths within the army to course attendees.

Speaking at the event, Lance Corporal Wakefield said: "We're here to educate people working within or training for a role involving emergencies about what the army does and what it can offer. There are loads of options for people, it's far from just what you see on the news, and in severe cases the army will support blue light services during an emergency."

The Environment Agency highlighted flood mitigation and defence, while coastguards from Newhaven and Birling Gap reminded learners they were the fourth emergency service despite being nearly entirely volunteer run.

Incident Liaison Officers and students spent the morning hearing presentations from five responders before taking part in a hands-on exhibition. An afternoon training workshop saw speakers Tim Mordaunt & John Rodway (corporate & Public Safety Managers) take learners through an emergency scenario.