Two Air Ambulance Services have been given clearance to fly at night, an extended seven hours to their current 12 hours of operation a day.
The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA) and the Thames Valley Air Ambulance (TVAA) will work together on a 16 day rota system to cover the additional seven hours from 7pm until 2am.
The HIOWAA’s new Air Bus H135 is based at Thruxton and is operated by highly trained pilots from Bond Air Services Ltd, using the latest night vision goggles. A crew consisting of a specialist doctor and paramedic can bring their life saving care to the most seriously ill or injured people by night as well as by day, saving more lives.
The helicopter can be anywhere within Hampshire in 15 minutes and anywhere within the Isle of Wight within 20 minutes, travelling at an average speed of 140 mph. It can land in areas the size of a tennis court and on almost any terrain.
Alex Lochrane, Chief Executive Officer at Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance said: “Since the start of flying operations in 2007, HIOWAA has been steadily expanding its service to the community. Introducing night HEMS operations adds another dimension to our service, helping us to save lives and provide emergency medical support and transfer where and when it is most needed. I am immensely proud of our teams, who work tirelessly each day and night; not only to deliver a unique life-saving service, but to develop their knowledge and training to ensure we continue to advance on-scene patient care.”
HIOWAA has been committed to developing and enhancing its helicopter emergency medical service. A full range of life-saving equipment is carried on board, including two state of the art ultrasound devices, a blood transfusion kit and an immediate blood analyser, all of which can help to save valuable seconds in the vital golden hour. Doctors are also on board for the majority of missions.
The charity receives no Government funding and relies on the generosity of donations to help save lives.