Plans for Devon Air Ambulance community landing sites take off

A new partnership project between Devon Air Ambulance and Torbay Council is set to establish six additional ‘community landing sites’ across Torbay, which will help patients facing life-changing or life-threatening injuries and illnesses.

These surveyed floodlit sites will enable Devon Air Ambulance to land in the heart of Torbay’s communities during the ‘hours of darkness’ where their clinical teams can reach patients more quickly and safely than if they had to land in a ‘dark field’.

“The enhanced and critical care provided by our clinical teams means we are able to deliver an increasing range of life saving treatments at the scene of an incident that traditionally were only available in a hospital,” said Nigel Hare, Operations Director at Devon Air Ambulance.

“By helping to establish this network of strategically located night landing sites, we will be able to operate more quickly by air into the communities of Torbay when it is dark, bringing these enhanced skills and interventions to benefit local patients during those crucial early stages of their injury or medical emergency. Where patients have complex or specialist care needs, these sites will also enable us to fly them direct to the hospital that can offer the patient the best chance of a successful outcome, just as we do during daylight.

“As a service we are dedicated to developing the pre-hospital care that we can provide and by working in partnership with Torbay Council we look forward to helping more patients from Torbay during their time of need.”

Kevin Mowat, Director of Place at Torbay Council, said; “The first priority for any council is keeping its communities safe. We are happy to have worked with Devon Air Ambulance and our local communities to identify and invest in six new night time community landing sites. These new sites will ensure those within Torbay that are seriously ill or involved in an accident that require critical care will benefit from a speedy response by Devon Air Ambulance.”

Toby Russell, Community Landing Sites Officer at Devon Air Ambulance, added, “We are very grateful to Torbay Council for helping to now extend and drive this initiative to all areas of Torbay and enable Devon Air Ambulance to help more patients. Our thanks also goes out to the various sports clubs and community groups who have readily offered their sites to be used for our night operations.

“To date, we have worked with council staff and site managers to review key aspects, such as aviation and operational safety, access on/off sites for medical teams and emergency personnel, parking for land ambulances and the remotely controlled lighting solutions, which need to be employed at each site. This work will be gathering pace over the coming months and we look forward to updating local communities as we aim to bring these community landing sites online later this Spring.”

Devon Air Ambulance now operates until 2am every day (19 hours/day), although the charity’s vision is to extend operations to become a 24/7 service for the people of Devon. Through its work with communities throughout Devon there are now 164 operational night landing sites which last year helped the charity carry out 207 missions in the hours of darkness.