The HELP Appeal, which is the only charity in the country dedicated to funding lifesaving hospital and air ambulance base helipads, has generously donated £26,787 to Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, for new runway lights, helipad lighting and a new windsock at its Henstridge Airfield home.
The new lights, due to be installed this month, will provide a big improvement in both reliability and performance over the previous system, whilst making night operations safer and more efficient. They will also help the life-saving service as they look to increase their availability in poor weather with a GPS based approach to Henstridge.
The lighting of helipad and runways is a regulatory requirement by the Civil Aviation Authority for when flying night missions, signifying the importance of these improvements to Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance which currently operates 19 hours every day (07.00am – 02.00am).
Charles Hackett, CEO of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance said:
“A reliable, aviation lights system is of course critical for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance to be able to effectively and efficiently run night operations and so be available to patients when they need us the most. Our thanks to the HELP Appeal for their support, which will enable us to continue bringing pre-hospital, critical care to patients across our region”.
Simon Jones, Aviation Technical Advisor for the HELP Appeal said:
“It was a great opportunity to visit the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance airbase, meet the team and see how the HELP Appeal’s funding will be put to good use. Emergencies happen at any time of the day or night, so funding state of the art lighting, along with an illuminated windsock, will ensure quicker and safer take offs and landings for the air ambulance crew, enabling them to reach a critically ill patient as soon as possible. Saving time really does saves lives.”