This week Air Ambulance charities across the UK are once again coming together to celebrate National Air Ambulance Week (NAAW) in this the 30th year of helicopter emergency air ambulances (HEMS) in the UK.
Thirty years ago, the first air ambulance service was formed in Cornwall. More recently, Northern Ireland; the only area within the UK without such a service, became operational.
Since then, these critical life-saving services have invested funds to expand their operations, increased their operating hours to operate at night, upgraded to larger aircrafts, increased their medical capabilities with the carriage of blood products and invested in the advanced education and training of their paramedics and doctors.
The charities together raised £162 million in 2016, operated 39 helicopters and fly on average 20,500 missions each year. Collectively, they have a volunteer network of over 2,500 people and are one of the most exciting and innovative group of organisations in the UK.
During NAAW, many of the local charities organise events and initiatives in a bid to generate funds and raise awareness. Members of the public show their support by a variety of means and businesses look for ways of getting involved. It’s the perfect time to show your support.
One idea, which is set to ‘take off’ in support of the UK’s air ambulance charities, is a social media campaign called ‘Pie in the Sky’. The initiative is rapidly gaining pace and involves members of the public posting a video to Facebook, Twitter or YouTube of themselves taking a ‘pie in the face’, pledging a donation and nominating three others to do the same. A TextGiving code has been set up in support of the campaign: PIES21 £2 to 70070
Jim Fitzpatrick, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Air Ambulances (APPGAA) and MP for Poplar and Limehouse said:
“Air ambulances play an essential role in our emergency services response and the advanced care which has recently plaid a part in a 20% increase in mortality should be commended. The number of incidents where the skills of the crews are needed is increasing, and the types of care needed are becoming more complex as our population ages and we stay more active in to later life.
“The APPGAA are champions and advocates of these life-saving services within Parliament and therefore as Chair I am delighted to help promote National Air Ambulance Week in 2017 with all of my colleagues.”
To find out what your local air ambulance is doing in support of National Air Ambulance Week, contact your local charity or visit their website and social media channels.
For more information on the Association of Air Ambulances and its members, visit: www.aoaa.org.uk