We operate 19 hours a day (7.00am – 2.00am) using two vital resources, which include our AgustaWestland 169 (AW169) helicopter and Critical Care Car.

Our AW169 helicopter entered into service on Monday 12 June 2017. The aircraft was the first AW169 to enter air ambulance operational service in the UK and is the culmination of years of planning and development. Selected following an extensive evaluation process, its outstanding characteristics, superior capabilities and safety standards will ensure unprecedented levels of mission effectiveness and provide an enhanced life-saving service for the people of Dorset and Somerset.

The medical equipment in the AW169 is not hugely different to that which was carried on the Charity’s previous aircraft, however, the biggest difference is the space inside the cabin. This allows the Critical Care Team to have complete access to a patient, head to toe – a significant benefit if a patient needs further intervention or treatment en-route to hospital.

The AW169’s night flying capabilities mean that we can provide full night HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) missions. Our team have the ability to fly directly to the patient without the need of any fixed or pre-established lighting, which is a significant advantage.

   

Critical Care Car

Our Critical Care Car (CCC) is a Skoda Octavia Scout which was purchased by the Charity in 2013. It was converted by the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASfT) to ensure that it meets all the standards and regulations of their existing fleet of RRV’s. 

The CCC has ‘All Wheel Drive’ capabilities, providing better road holding and handling and its off-road capabilities are exceptional. It is equipped with the same high standards and base level of equipment that you would find on a land ambulance including: Oxygen, Response Bags, Paediatric, Burns and Asthma Kits, Defibrillator, Major Incident Triage Packs and Traction Splints.

The vehicle enhances our service by enabling us to respond to incidents when elements restrict the helicopter flying. It also gives the Charity additional resources to despatch, in the need of a medical emergency which requires both helicopter and land vehicle.