If you hear a helicopter at night it’s quite possible it will be Devon’s Air Ambulance which is now flying into the hours of darkness; in fact up to midnight every day.
There are currently 25 fully operational landing sites up and running, with over a 100 further night landing sites in developmen. There will soon also be one in East Prawle.
The Charity funded service has been working hard with communities across Devon since January 2016 to build a network of community night landing sites. These sites are pre surveyed and have state of the art lighting technology with remote switching to turn on and off the lights at scene.
Communities have very much taken ownership of developing their own landing site, not only funding them but also undertaking to ensure they are kept in good order.
The Charity applied for a Libor bank fine grant of £1 million on behalf of the Devon community, to assist in funding community landing sites. This was awarded in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, and means that even though communities still need to raise the funds to buy the equipment, the grant is available to fund the cost of installing the flood lighting. The £1 million grant will help with the installation of up to 300 landing sites.
Toby Russell, who is working closely with the community at East Prawle, said “East Prawle, and indeed much of the South Hams, is an isolated part of our beautiful county therefore having community landing sites available to the service is essential. One of the first landing sites to go live was at nearby Kingsbridge RFC which has already been used at night. Just three days after we started flying into the night an elderly lady had a nasty fall and needed essential medical treatment quickly at the trauma centre at Derriford in Plymouth.”
Toby added: “We have received such an amazing response from the community of East Prawle and in particular would like to thank the landowners Roger and Vicky Tucker who are enabling DAA to land in their field and providing a valuable resource to the whole community. People don’t stop getting ill just because it’s dark and these landing sites mean that we are still able to get to the heart of the community and to anyone who should need us; be that a medical cause or a trauma related injury whether it’s dark or light.”
DAA are now in a position to start offering grants to help communities like those at East Prawle which we know will not only help communities save time and effort in securing their own funds or donations but will help grow the network of night landing sites throughout Devon.