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The Air Ambulance Service enhances community response with new initiative

The Air Ambulance Service enhances community response with new initiative

The Air Ambulance Service (TAAS) is proud to announce a pioneering initiative aimed at enhancing community response to out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.

The Air Ambulance Service operates the Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA), the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA), and the national Children’s Air Ambulance (TCAA).

Recently, the TAAS Operations team took delivery of 11 new Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to use outside of working hours, marking a significant step forward in improving survival rates for cardiac emergencies in local communities across Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, and Oxfordshire.

The initiative, spearheaded by TAAS Operations team members – with Critical Care Paramedic Sam Cooper leading on the project – involves voluntarily holding AEDs at home to assist local communities with early defibrillation. These AEDs will play a crucial role in helping to improve the chances of survival for individuals experiencing cardiac arrests outside of hospital settings.

Eleven dedicated TAAS Operations team members have agreed to participate in this lifesaving initiative outside of their daily roles, from critical care paramedics on the frontline through the charity’s Chief Operating Officer.

Equipped with the newly acquired AEDs, these team members are prepared to respond to requests for assistance from the local NHS ambulance services via the GoodSAM app – a platform developed to mobilise members of the public to carry out early CPR and defibrillation for cardiac arrest patients.

“GoodSAM is delighted to be working with The Air Ambulance Service in improving cardiac arrest survival. GoodSAM incorporates the world’s most advanced alerting, dispatching, and tasking platform with a community of highly governed trained and trusted responders,” said GoodSAM Co-founder and Director, Mark Wilson OBE.

“The GoodSAM cardiac system integrates with ambulance service CAD (computer aided dispatch) systems to trigger bystander response while the ambulance service is on route. This early intervention saves many lives each year,” he added.

The AED of choice for this initiative is the iPAD NFK200, launched in 2023 by WEL Medical. Known for its simplicity, portability, and long battery life, the iPAD NFK200 is an ideal tool for assisting in emergency situations.

The implementation of AEDs within the community aligns with the concept of the Chain of Survival, a sequence of steps aimed at maximising the chances of survival following a cardiac arrest. Early CPR and defibrillation are vital links in this chain, and with the availability of AEDs, these lifesaving interventions become more achievable.

“TAAS has been at the forefront of delivering pre-hospital critical care for over 20 years. With this initiative, the organisation extends its reach beyond traditional emergency response measures, actively participating in the initial stages of the survival chain,” said CCP Sam Cooper.

“We’d like to acknowledge WEL Medical who supplied our team with the AEDs – they gave us a generous discount on the units which we’re extremely grateful for, as these will help to save more lives,” he added.

Statistics from the British Heart Foundation underscore the importance of early intervention in cardiac emergencies. With over 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurring annually in the UK, the chances of survival are alarmingly low without prompt intervention. Immediate CPR and AED use can more than double the chances of survival, highlighting the critical role of community-based initiatives like TAAS’ AED program.

“TAAS remains committed to its mission of saving lives and serving communities 24/7, 365 days a year and this innovative AED initiative, which the TAAS Operations team have signed up to outside of working hours, is a testament to that commitment,” said Sam.

The Air Ambulance Service is not government funded and relies entirely on public donations to remain operational and to provide these vital initiatives to further enhance support to its communities.

“We could only launch this initiative because of funding from generous supporters who have left gifts in their Wills to us, so we thank them and everyone who donates to the charity wholeheartedly for their support,” Sam concluded.

*This initiative operates independently from formal Community First Responder Charity schemes, which are affiliated with the ambulance service and involve additional training and equipment.