UK: 900 mission milestone for Herts Air Ambulance

UK: 900 mission milestone for Herts Air Ambulance

20-Dec-2011 Source: Herts Air Ambulance

More lives are being saved in Hertfordshire thanks to the Herts Air Ambulance (HAA). Since its launch in November 2008 this vital Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) has flown over 900 life-saving missions.

The landmark call-out was on Tuesday 13th December to a road traffic collision involving three vehicles on the QE2 Bridge in Thurrock. The aircraft was already airborne when the request came through as the HEMS Team were on route to Flemstead, near Harpenden to an incident involving a motorcyclist trapped under a lorry. Luckily, the motorcyclist was uninjured and the helicopter was stood down. Once tasked to the QE2 Bridge, the Herts Air Ambulance was only a 10 minute flight away.

Chief Pilot David Kerr-Sheppard was unable to land the helicopter straight away due to the live carriageways below and remained hovering overhead until the bridge was closed to traffic. Due to difficult weather conditions it was a challenging landing for David in 40 mph winds, putting his extensive skills and experience to the test. David said: “The strong wind made an otherwise straightforward landing slightly more challenging and with great teamwork inside the aircraft we made a safe landing in what were fairly tough conditions.”

Cliff Gale, Operations Director for Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust, adds: “All Air Ambulance Pilots have to have a minimum of 1000 hours flying experience in helicopters. This requirement means the majority of Pilots are ex military who are well versed in flying in poor weather, reduced visibility and landing in small areas. We are lucky that our current Pilots come from RAF Search & Rescue and  Royal Navy backgrounds who, day in and day out, call upon their skill and expertise to help the most seriously injured and ill people in the region.”

Critical Care Paramedic Dave Tamarro, explains: “Once on the ground we established that the incident was not as serious as first thought and after a quick assessment of the scene and liaising with the Ambulance Crews, Police and Highways Agency we quickly made our way back to the aircraft so the road could be re-opened as soon as possible.“

Herts Air Ambulance is part of the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust, a Charity responsible for operating two Air Ambulances and providing free life-saving Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) for Hertfordshire, Essex and surrounding areas. The people of Essex and Herts benefit from two helicopters as the Herts aircraft will fly into Essex and the Essex aircraft would, of course, respond to those in need of advanced pre-hospital care in Hertfordshire.

The Herts Air Ambulance is operational 5 days per week and attends on average 1-2 incidents per day. Working in partnership with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust who task the helicopter mainly by receiving 999 emergency calls, the aircraft is dispatched to patients with serious illness or injury caused by such incidents as traffic collisions, falls from height, heart attacks, stabbings, cardiac arrests and strokes. Between September and December this year 89 missions were attended by the life-saving helicopter based at North Weald Airfield. 46% of those emergency callouts were road traffic collisions, 13% were falls and 24% were medical cases. Plus, in the last month alone, 5 patients have required a road side anaesthetic from the HEMS Team.

Stuart Elms, Clinical Manager for Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust, said: “This pre-hospital intervention is one part of the specialist treatment afforded by having full time Doctor and Critical Care Paramedic Teams on the helicopter.”

Herts Air Ambulance is a Charity that relies solely on voluntary donations to remain operational and like other charities is finding fundraising increasingly difficult in these challenging times. The Charity needs your support now more than ever to help raise the £130,000 needed every month to keep your life-saving helicopter flying.

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