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The Red Phone

The Red phone

Each week I shall be sharing with you a picture which depicts something relating to the operational aspects of Devon Air Ambulance. As well as sharing the picture I will within my ‘Photo Blog’ provide a brief explanation of what is depicted and how it relates to the service we provide to the people of Devon.

I kick off my photo blog with a picture of the ‘Red Phone’ located in the office at our Eaglescott airbase. I am often asked how our two air ambulances are deployed and essentially for the aircrew it starts off with a telephone call to the airbase – on our Red Phone.

You may be surprised to learn that the term Red Phone doesn’t originate from the colour of the phone itself, indeed the Red Phone at our Exeter Airbase is actually white! The term comes from the classification the NHS gives to 999 calls to which an emergency response is sent – a ‘Red Call’.

Although there are buttons on our Red Phone the line is never used to make calls and only our Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) dispatchers within the ambulance control room know the number, so when the phone rings the aircrew know it’s to respond to a Red Call – hence Red Phone.

In the picture background you can see an aeronautical chart of Devon and the South West peninsula and next week I will share with you the important role this plays when we deploy to an incident.  

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