Devon Air Ambulance to now fly until 2am seven days a week
PUBLISHED: 11:03 19 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:23 22 January 2019
An extension of the operational hours of Devon Air Ambulance's (DAA) emergency service has been revealed - meaning it will now fly until 2am every day of the week.
The new hours have come into force with immediate effect.
The charity’s chief executive Heléna Holt, said: “This landmark is another step towards our goal of eventually providing Devon with a 24-hour emergency Air Ambulance service.
“There isn’t a timescale yet for when this will be, but it remains one of our key objectives.”
In November 2016 DAA extended the flying hours for its Exeter aircraft to midnight, after extensive research confirmed that just because it’s dark, it doesn’t mean people don’t have accidents or become ill.
Ms Holt added: “I would like to thank the DAA’s amazing fundraisers and supporters who have made this significant development possible.”
Since the extension of flying time in 2016, DAA have assisted 118 patients during the hours of darkness.
Nigel Hare, DAA’s operations director said: “Flying into the hours of darkness isn’t necessarily about flying the patient to hospital. It’s also about getting the right specialist care to the patient, quickly.
“Our community landing sites across the county allow us to land at a pre-surveyed site, with lighting that we can turn on and off by using just a mobile phone, saving vital minutes.
“Our doctors and specialist paramedics can administer essential treatment.”
Ms Holt added: “A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes with parish councils and communities to create a network of community landing sites.
“It truly is a testament to our amazing supporters that what seemed a dream just a few years ago has now become reality.”
DAA has had several planning applications for a network of community landing sites approved, which will support its night-flying operations.
The DAA’s night landing sites across the Axe Valley and Honiton comprise the Peace Memorial Playing Field in Colyford, Honiton Rugby Club, Longmead Recreation Ground in Hemyock, Beer Football Club, Seaton Cricket Club, Kilmington Cricket Club, Axminster Town Football Club.
The charity is continuing to earmark more East Devon sites.