Devon Air Ambulance (DAA) is encouraging drivers to slow down and save lives as they show their support for this year’s road safety campaign organised by Brake, the road safety charity.

The campaign is running from Monday 15-22 November and Devon Air Ambulance will stand alongside Devon & Cornwall Police and Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service as they urge drivers to take the necessary care and attention needed when driving.

Charlotte Leventis, Communications Manager at DAA, said:

The darker evenings are upon us, and with the onset of the winter months comes the deterioration of the weather and poor visibility on the roads. Add to this that some drivers may be tired after a long day at work or following an evening out with friends, and every ounce of concentration is required. The speed at which a driver then decides to travel may significantly affect their chances of survival – and the survival of others - should a road traffic collision occur. I would urge every road user to please take the extra time to arrive at your destination safely.

Devon Air Ambulance is frequently part of the response in the immediate aftermath of an RTC and is vital in ensuring the swift delivery of specialist post-crash, pre-hospital care to patients at the roadside. All RTCs will involve multiple teams working alongside their colleagues from other emergency services. Having excellent communication, trust and respect for each other's specialisms is important to allow them to give their patient the best possible treatment as quickly as possible.

Devon Air Ambulance Specialist Paramedic Mark Hawley describes how the DAA crew’s response to an RTC will vary depending on the seriousness and complexity of an incident:

Serious collisions may involve individuals or multiple patients and can be extremely challenging in relation to being able to treat the patient where they are, especially if trapped inside the vehicle and while other emergency services are working around you. Being able to come together quickly to form effective teams with colleagues from other emergency services is vital.

A fatality can of course have a knock-on effect as to how clinicians feel about the incident they just attended. Upon return to their base, there is an opportunity for the Devon Air Ambulance clinicians to reflect and debrief. Not only to discuss the work carried out at the scene but also to allow the team to decompress after sometimes being exposed to incredibly traumatic scenes.

From this comes learning, as Mark explains:

Following an incident, clinicians will always reflect on the treatment given to their patient and reflect on how effectively they have interacted with colleagues and whether they performed together to the best of their ability.

Devon Air Ambulance shops will also be highlighting the National Road Safety campaign by creating bright and colourful window displays across Devon. The message is bright and bold, Slow Down, Save Lives. By giving just a little more attention to driving carefully and considerately, we can help everyone to reach their destination safely and keep families together this winter.

We continues to deliver our lifesaving service thanks to the support of the communities we serve. We welcome your continued support.