Lady Captain Sarah Uzzell was invited along with three of her committee members to attend an open morning at Henstridge Airfield, the nerve/control centre of the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance service on 16th March. Representatives from various fund raising groups were invited to learn “How it all works”. Speakers from all aspects of this important emergency service talked through how the funds raised enabled the service to operate. Paramedic’s, consultant doctors, pilots and various support staff were on hand to answer our questions.
Despite 60mph winds, the helicopter had already been scrambled to respond to a callout before the visitors arrived at 10am. The helicopter was then moved inside the hangar on its return to avoid potential damage from the persistent strong winds. This was a bonus for the visitors as they could inspect the helicopter and hear the talk in the relative warmth of the hangar. We were able to see inside the helicopter, inspect all the equipment they use and hear about their call outs, on average around 1200 per year.
The Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance is a registered charity and receive no direct funding from the Government or the National Lottery and rely on the generosity of the public for support. Their operational costs are over £3.5million a year and it costs approximately £3,000 each time this fully medically equipped helicopter is called out. We hope to raise enough at LSGC this year to at least fund one call out, which potentially could mean that we will contribute in saving one life, be it from a RTA, serious fall or heart attack.
The medical staff are clearly highly qualified and dedicated in their roles, keeping this much needed emergency service airborne.