Dress code: air ambulance crew

On average, around 70 lifesaving missions are undertaken every day across the UK by the nation’s 21 air ambulance charities.

Onboard each lifesaving mission is a crew consisting of a highly-skilled pilot and Critical Care Team, typically made up of specialist Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) doctors and paramedics, ready to attend to critically injured or ill patients at the scene of the emergency with their advanced medical expertise. Essentially, bringing the hospital to the patient when every second counts towards survival.

The pilot and Critical Care Team are required to wear a bespoke flight suit for their own safety and the safety of the patients they attend to.

These suits must meet a number of strict safety regulations in order for the team to carry out their pre-hospital emergency medical treatment effectively and safely at each incident. The team respond to a variety of emergencies in difficult conditions; from road accidents to medical incidents in remote locations, to accidents at night, trauma incidents involving firearms and stabbings, to emergencies near fire or water.

Therefore, it is necessary that the medical suit is oil, tear and water resistant and flame retardant. Plenty of padding is needed around the knees and elbows and additional pockets are required for the storage of important medical equipment. The suits are also designed with layers of micro-bacterial material to guarantee that there is no contamination between the patient’s blood and body fluids with the doctor’s own skin during pre-hospital medical procedures on-scene, such as open-heart surgery.

The pilot and Critical Care Team also wear flight helmets to ensure their own safety. The helmet is specifically designed for optimal performance under particular flight conditions, the visor features UV optical protection and it allows for intercom communications during the flight. It is lightweight to offer maximum comfort and head mobility during the flight, provides noise reduction and is also shock absorbent. The crew also have a second helmet for use when at the scene of road traffic collisions and other incidents when additional safety is vital.

Having the right clothing and equipment is paramount for the pilots, doctors and paramedics to safely respond to patients with a life-threatening injury or medical emergency at any type of scene, anywhere at anytime.

A medical flight suit typically costs £350, whilst a flight helmet costs around £1,500.

The UK’s air ambulance charities do not receive any regular direct Government funding and so rely on public donations and fundraising partnerships to fund their lifesaving missions, including the cost vital pilot and Critical Care Team safety equipment such as flight suits and helmets.

By joining businesses such as Allianz, Costcutter, Unipart Logistics and Road Chef in becoming an Air Ambulances UK partner, your organisation can help fund this type of essential equipment for air ambulance crews to enable them to keep performing lifesaving missions.

Your business will benefit in the knowledge that it is helping to save lives every day across the UK and receive positive PR as a result.

Share in our values of collaboration, innovation, integrity, excellence and the preservation of life by working with a trusted charity which champions the innovative and cutting-edge medical care of air ambulance charities across the UK. Become a partner today.