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Sussex Air Ambulance: A charity that saves lives by Bridget Pepper T 84


When Sussex Air Ambulance was called to an equestrian accident in Clayton near Hassocks, it took the helicopter just four minutes to arrive.


he life-saving helicopter is based at Dunsfold Park near Horsham and the journey would have taken considerably longer by road. The patient was a female in her 50s who was thrown from her horse and sustained head,


arm and back injuries. The doctor and critical care paramedic administered pain relief at the scene before flying her awake to the major trauma centre at the Royal Sussex County Hospital at Brighton. This was just one of 744 call-outs attended by Sussex Air Ambulance between 1 January and 31 December last year.


Sussex Air Ambulance provides a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for everyone living, working and travelling in the county, 365 days a year. The highly-skilled crew can carry out advanced medical procedures at the scene of an accident or medical emergency, giving patients the best chance and quality of survival.


SUSSEX LIVING March 2012


The helicopter flies fast, direct and un-hindered and can reach the furthest part of the county within 15 minutes, saving vital time, which can mean the difference between life and death. On average, the helicopter flies two to three missions a day and has attended more than 28 call-outs so far this year. Sussex Air Ambulance takes A&E to the scene and delivers patients to the most appropriate hospital according to their needs, which is often the major trauma centres in London. More than 40% of calls are to road traffic collisions but other call-outs include industrial and farm accidents, cardiac arrests and falls from height.


The helicopter is often called to remote areas such as the South Downs to rescue fallen horse riders, mountain bike riders and walkers when access is an issue. The helicopter can land on motorways, car parks, golf courses, sports fields and even gardens – as long as it’s big enough and safe to do so.


But it is a common misconception that the service is funded by the government when, in fact, it relies almost entirely on public donations and receives no National Lottery funding. Each mission costs about £2,500 so fundraising is vital and volunteers are the lifeblood of the organisation.


They can help out in many ways, including placing and emptying collection tins, attending cheque presentations, giving talks about the work that the Air Ambulance does, holding collections at supermarkets and by selling stock and merchandise at fundraising events.


Because the service receives no National Lottery funding it has its own lottery. Corporate sponsorship is a vital source of income for the charity and local businesses, clubs and other organisations can nominate Sussex Air Ambulance as their Charity of the Year. If you would like to hold a


fundraising event, book a talk for your group or society, or become a volunteer please get in touch. ■


Please contact Bridget Pepper, Head of Fundraising, Sussex Air Ambulance, on 07800 649246 or visit www.kssairambulance.org.uk On 30 September 2012, Sussex Air Ambulance is holding its first-ever motorbike run in aid of the charity, starting at Ardingly Showground. The ride will the finish at Dunsfold where there will be music, stunts, trade stands, food concessions and family entertainment.


www.sussexliving.com


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