This article relates to March 2021. Please refer to the latest news for current updates

In February 2020 we introduced two rapid response Critical Care Cars (CCC) to our fleet. Now, a year on, we are celebrating theCritical care car anniversary of our first mission on 3 March 2020 to highlight the difference the cars have made to the service and our patients. Our Operations manager, Darren Goodwin, reflects on the first anniversary of our Critical Care Cars.

This week, we are celebrating the 1st anniversary of our two Volvo XC90 critical care cars joining our fleet. As we launched these two new vehicles into service, we estimated that in our first year of operation the critical care cars might respond to somewhere in the region of 200 incidents, however, since 3 March 2020 we have actually been tasked to over 470 missions.

'The critical care cars enable our enhanced and critical care teams to reach the patient’s side as soon as possible, when one of our two emergency helicopters are unavailable. Equipped with the same high-tech medical equipment as our air ambulance helicopters, they allow our enhanced and critical care teams to deliver levels of care normally delivered upon arrival at a hospital.

Our cars are invaluable when the helicopters cannot fly and this often means they need to respond in extremely poor weather or road conditions. The Volvo XC90’s are fully equipped with blue lights and sirens which are ideally suited to this type of work.

'During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic our air ambulance helicopters were unfortunately grounded while we made the necessary adjustments to make them Covid-Safe. Having the critical care cars available during that time enabled us to keep responding to those that needed us and not a day's service was lost. As with all medical teams during COVID-19 we had had to increase the amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) worn when treating patients, fortunately the critical care cars have enough space within the boot to accommodate all the additional PPE that is required by our medical teams at the current time.

Critical care car by lighthouse in plymouth'Devon is a rural county with hundreds of remote villages, miles of glorious coastline and the large expanse of Dartmoor. Our two emergency helicopters are often best suited to deliver our critical care teams quickly to the scene but we are increasingly asked to attend incidents in urban locations close to our air base in Exeter where these vehicles can provide a swift response to patients and can sometimes access heavily built-up areas more easily than the air ambulance, which needs an open space to land safely.

'By introducing the two Critical Care Cars to Devon, I'm convinced that we have impacted hundreds of patients, reducing suffering and saving lives. It is only due to the kind donations and support of the people of Devon that we are able to maintain our life saving service and hope to be able to continue to do so in the years to come.'

Watch our Critical Care Car video here

It's thanks to our kind our supporters that in Devon we have peace of mind knowing that this life-saving service is on call, every day of the year, to assist our friends, families and loved ones whenever they are needed. If you feel you can, please do lend your support by donating to your local Air Ambulance service.

Lend your support today