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Congratulations to Johnny McArthur, Asst Dir Emergency Planning, on also receiving recognition in the Birthday Honours List

16th June 2023

We are also delighted to congratulate Johnny McArthur, Asst Dir Emergency Planning, on also receiving recognition in the Birthday Honours List, having been awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). At the time of the nomination, Johnny was NIAS lead for HART and was nominated on the strength of his efforts in that role. His citation read as follows:

Johnny has a specific role within the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) as lead for the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), a group of specialist paramedics who deliver emergency care in highly dangerous conditions such as collapsed buildings, chemical leaks, flooding, and major fires.

Uniquely to Northern Ireland the team also provides medical support to mountain rescue services and close medical support at public order incidents to the Police Service, and this has only been possible because of his close partnership with these and other agencies such as the Fire and Rescue Service and Coastguard. He has also been central in developing the service’s preparedness for a major terrorist or other mass casualty incident, working closely with the National Ambulance Resilience Unit.

Johnny was key in scoping and developing the NIAS HART team in order to meet the specific needs of the Northern Ireland context while ensuring comapatability with similar teams across the United Kingdom, developing a robust process for training staff, and has forged strong links with other emergency services with the aim of improving communication in the event of a major incident and in particular as preparation for the threat of a potential terrorist attack.

One of the roles of the HART team is provide a discreet medical close response team for visiting dignitaries and they have performed this role many times for various members of the royal family in recent years, including as part of events surrounding Operation London Bridge and Operation Shamrock following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Alongside medical care, the team provides particular capabilities in the event or threat of a chemical incident. This team is frequently led by Johnny over and above his normal operational commitments, including his volunteering for the role of HART advisor and National Interagency Liaison Officer.

Most recently Johnny was the HART team leader at the time of a cross border incident when a major incident was declared following an explosion in petrol station in Creeslough, Donegal with the loss of ten lives. The HART team was crucial in providing paramedics who could access the collapsed and highly unstable building to search for and assist with the removal of casualties.

He has also led an initiative to deliver on a co-response model to cardiac arrest through partnership working with the Fire and Rescue Service, and has been responsible for planning for high profile public and sporting events.