Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance
|Type||Registered charity No. 10786857|
|13 (excluding pilots & paramedics)|
The Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is a registered charity, which uses a helicopter to provide an air ambulance service to the English counties of Dorset and Somerset. The air ambulance came into service in March 2000, following the success of similar schemes, such as Devon Air Ambulance Trust and Cornwall Air Ambulance. The air ambulance headquarters are at Wellington in Somerset, but the helicopter is based at Henstridge Airfield in Somerset.
The current helicopter is a Eurocopter EC 135, callsign Helimed 10, which has been in service since 2007. Travelling at speeds of up to 150 knots (170 mph; 280 km/h), it can land in an area half the size of a tennis court and can reach anywhere in the two counties within twenty minutes of an emergency call. It is crewed by one pilot and two paramedics and can carry two patients on stretchers. The pilots are employed by Bond Air Services, the company which leases the helicopter to the air ambulance service and the paramedics are employed by South Western Ambulance Service.
In May 2011, the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance flew its 8,000th mission, and as of November 2011[update] it has flown a total of 8,233. In 2009, the helicopter flew 982 missions, an increase on the 853 flown in 2008. Typical incidents for which the assistance of the air ambulance is requested by South Western Ambulance Service, include road traffic collisions and horse riding accidents, due to the remote locations and the severity of injuries involved in such incidents.
The helicopter is leased from Bond Air Services and costs in excess of £4,000 per day to run and this money has to be raised largely from charitable donations. The charity is supported by volunteers spread across the two counties who work to raise funds to ensure that this service continues. It also runs a weekly lottery which has, to date, over 50,000 members.
- Air Ambulances in the United Kingdom
- Devon Air Ambulance
- Healthcare in Dorset
- Healthcare in Somerset
- "Financial History". The Charity Commission. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
- "New helicopter for air ambulance". BBC News. 1 March 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2009.
- "Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance attends 8,000 calls". BBC News. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
- "Usage Statistics". Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
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