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Devon Air Ambulance - Working in the Snow

3rd February 2009 - 17:10 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


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Both of Devon's Air Ambulances have been busier than normal over the last couple of days, with the onset of the winter weather.

On Monday 2nd February they responded to 3 road traffic collisions, caused mainly due to the bad weather. The Exeter based helicopter, crewed by pilot Rob Mackie and paramedics Kate Adlam and Helen Mackie received a call at 10.45am, requesting they attend a road traffic collision in the Axminster area. Having sustained various injuries, an adult female received quick medical treatment, with a journey to hospital of only 11 minutes, which may have taken much longer by land, because of the failing weather conditions.

Today, Tuesday 3rd February, the two aircraft dealt with 5 snow related injuries in the morning alone. The majority were broken ankles sustained while tobogganing with some unusual makeshift sleds including a bin liner and a sheet of insulation board. Both helicopters were called to Combe Martin at the same time to tend to patients with snow related injuries just half a mile apart - one at the top of the hill and the other in the valley below.

Heléna Holt, Chief Executive of the Devon Air Ambulance Trust said "The helicopter comes into its own in situations like this. It is unaffected by snow or ice on the road and flies in a straight line to reach people in cut off areas quickly and prevent further complications like exposure. In a county as large and as rural as Devon, this is essential during weather like this. It's also, of course, heartening to know that the £4 million needed to keep both helicopters airborne comes from the community, businesses and friends of Devon.

"We don't know in the current financial climate how our funding will be affected this year, but we do know from the people that we are able to help that the service itself is invaluable to the county and we must all pull together and strive to ensure that this is not put at risk financially."


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