Devon Air Ambulance resumes operations
PUBLISHED: 07:43 06 May 2020 | UPDATED: 07:43 06 May 2020
Devon Air Ambulance is resuming operations today (Wednesday May 6).
It is back in action after the successful introduction of several innovative new aviation solutions, which means it can now provide greater protection for patients and aircrew against Coronavirus.
A new separation screen has been installed between the front and rear sections of the aircraft, which partitions-off the pilot cockpit from the patient treatment/paramedic area.
The aircrew will also now be able to use newly designed throat microphones when they need to wear Level 3 PPE respirator masks in-flight which will improve internal and external communication.
In addition a new bracket has been designed which will enable a full-face visor to be worn on the crew’s aviation safety helmets.
This will provide the ability for clinicians to wear the required Level 3 PPE when carrying out medical procedures which carry a greater risk of transmitting Coronavirus.
Ian Payne, flight operations director said: “Today marks the culmination of lots of hard work by our teams to address the challenges that led us to ground the aircraft at the end of March.
“These new modifications have been rapidly developed in collaboration with industry partners and approved for use by EU and UK aviation authorities, which demonstrates how we are all working together to collaborate and innovate during these difficult times.”
From today, the Exeter-based aircraft will once again be taking to the skies over Devon responding to patients from 7am to dusk.
As a first step, it will be deploying to patients by air, treating them on scene and then assisting local crews to convey patients to hospital by land ambulance.
Nigel Hare, operations director said: “Even as we start to resume air operations, our paramedics will still be responding to patients by critical care car, with at least one car operational throughout the day in addition to the aircraft.
“As the Exeter-based aircraft goes offline at dusk, that crew will move into a critical care car ensuring we can still deliver our full critical care capabilities until 2am every day.”
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