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Essex Air Ambulance

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Essex Air Ambulance

Essex Air Ambulance is an air ambulance service serving the county of Essex and surrounding areas, in the East of England. It is one of twenty-five air ambulance services in the United Kingdom.

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The charity began fundraising in 1997 and the service began operating in July the following year, and has flown over 11,000 missions since — being deployed two to four times per day. The helicopter is based at Earls Colne Airfield in Earls Colne, near Colchester.

Service

Essex Air Ambulance provides helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) during daylight hours to the county of Essex and surrounding areas if required. A significant portion of missions are to traffic collisions on the busy, congested Essex road network.

The air ambulance costs in the region of £250,000 per month to fund all costs and aircraft operations.

In April 2007 the Essex Air Ambulance charity combined to form the Essex & Hertfordshire Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT) responsible for both the Essex and Hertfordshire air ambulance services. The Hertfordshire Air Ambulance was introduced on 5 November 2008, and both services coordinate in the event of a major incident. Operational control is from the East of England Ambulance Service Control at Broomfield, Essex, who task the helicopters.

Helicopter

The first two helicopters used by Essex Air Ambulance were Bölkow 105s, from 1998 to 2003. The service was able to upgrade to a Eurocopter EC135 in May 2003, then to a MD902 Explorer on 1 June 2010, the same model used by the Hertfordshire Air Ambulance. The current helicopter is registered G-EHAA.

The MD902 is capable of flying at up to 150 mph, at an altitude of around 1,000ft, and can reach the farthest locations from its base within fifteen minutes and any of Essex's major hospitals within eight. It is usually airborne within two minutes of the emergency call being received.

Crew

The air ambulance is typically crewed by one of three pilots, one of six paramedics and one of three doctors of at least registrar qualification, enabling vital pre-hospital skills and techniques to be brought to a patient as early as possible. The helicopter can carry up to two patients, one on a stretcher and one sitting.

When the helicopter is unable to operate, perhaps due to adverse weather conditions or essential maintenance, the crew can deploy in a specialist four-wheel drive vehicle which since 2014 has been a Vauxhall Insignia VXR, equipped with much of the same medical equipment as the helicopter.

References

Essex Air Ambulance Wikipedia


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