Imagine you are enjoying a walk in Dartmoor’s National Park and you come across someone who has fallen and injured themselves. You may be able to summon help but your location is very remote. The Devon Air Ambulance is at the ready to come to your aid and to do so at great speed.
Tony Canon gives his insight
Tony Canon gave members a detailed insight into the air ambulance ways of working. Formed in 1986 by a mother whose son was fatally injured in a road accident, the Devon Air Ambulance Trust now owns two Eurocopter helicopters, each able to carry a crew of three plus one patient and yet small enough to land in difficult and otherwise inaccessible places. These aircraft cost well in excess of £3 million each and the annual running cost of the service is around £5 million. The Trust relies entirely on voluntary donations, money raised in its charity shops and its own lottery.
A day in the life of one of the Devon Air Helicopters
The helicopters can reach 50% of Devon locations within 5 minutes. Typically, they handle more than 1000 incidents in a year, mostly cardiac, but they are also called out to traffic accidents, falls and sports injuries. The patient isn’t necessarily taken to the nearest hospital but to one which specialises in their needs. Speed is essential in cases of trauma. A patient in Barnstable can be air-lifted to Exeter in 14 minutes – the equivalent road journey is 1hr 12mins. Specially trained paramedics are on board who can carry out small surgical procedures and administer drugs, and the aircraft pilot enjoys priority clearance over almost all other aircraft.
David Denton gave a vote of thanks saying that it is a great comfort to all of us to know that the air ambulances are there. The Tavistock Probus Club will be meeting for lunch in the Bedford Hotel in April followed by our AGM.
If you would like to join the Tavistock Probus Club, please have a word with our secretary on 01822 615669.