Innovative thermal management product launched to benefit pre-hospital critical care patients

Blizzard Protection Systems Limited and Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance (DSAA), are proud to announce the launch of the ‘Air Ambulance Edition’ Blizzard blanket; a new version developed for use in the air ambulance environment, which will help to save patients’ lives.

DSAA is tasked to a wide variety of pre-hospital emergencies involving critically ill and injured patients. The clinical team’s interventions help to prevent further deterioration until patients get to definitive care, which can play a key role in their chances of survival. One of these, is to provide thermal management which involves maintaining the patient’s core body temperature, preventing hypothermia and any further heat loss, protecting them from the environment and providing active warming.

In pre-hospital care, heat loss occurs through several mechanisms and evidence suggests that critically ill and injured patients presenting with hypothermia are at high risk of death. Once the patient is hypothermic, it is difficult to reverse this in the pre-hospital environment.

Recognising the advanced benefits that Blizzard’s blankets provide to patients in the pre-hospital environment and as part of their ongoing efforts to improve patient care, members of DSAA’s clinical team embarked on personal project in their own time, to design a bespoke blanket in collaboration with engineers at Blizzard.

The year-long project involved numerous virtual meetings and extensive collaboration between DSAA’s clinicians, pilots and Blizzard’s engineers, to create a range of designs which were then trialled for their effectiveness. This culminated in the development of a new Blizzard blanket named ‘The Air Ambulance Edition’, which will be used to improve the thermal management and treatment provided to critically ill and injured patients.

DSAA will be the first air ambulance client to use the bespoke blanket however, it will also be available for distribution to Blizzard’s clients around the world which include other air ambulances, military, ambulance, hazardous area response teams, police, fire and rescue services as well as mountain rescue.

The blanket meets the toughest CE and medical device regulations and retains Blizzard’s unique Reflexcell™ material which provides the best insulation through its reflective air pocket construction. To facilitate carriage and ongoing clinical care, the blanket has been ergonomically designed so that it can be carried to the scene of an incident with a carry handle and there also is improved access to the patient with side and top openings.

Building upon existing designs, the foot end of the blanket can now be sealed with a hook and loop to create more heat and ensure there are no trailing parts for aviation safety. The blanket is single use to prevent cross infection between patients and it has an integrated hood with a clear viewing section, along with a separate beanie hat to protect patients from the elements.

Further features include four active heat pads with a hook and loop strip that can be moved into any position to provide optimal warming and ensure complete hypothermia management for any sized patient, whilst proactively maintaining their body temperature. With a warmth of 7.5 Togs, the blanket provides protection from the harshest environments of cold air, rain or snow, meaning that it can be used within any operating environment that the air ambulance is tasked to.

Speaking about the partnership and development of the product, Robert Mcguffie, Director of Blizzard said:

“As a business, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our products and patient outcomes, so when we started receiving accurate, consistent and useful in-depth feedback from DSAA, it was clear we had a customer that we could work alongside in developing our products.

“From the outset, DSAA have been exceptional in their level of feedback and willingness to share their considerable expertise with us and to work closely alongside our research and development team, to improve all aspects of the products and services we provide. This has included allowing our team to help them with training on our products and numerous meetings to develop a unique combination to fit their specific needs.

“The result is a tremendously capable package that is easier and safer for them to use, achieves better results and ensures that we are doing all we can to improve their level of care – something we know is at the core of what they do. As a company, it has been a privilege to work with DSAA to improve our product range and we are looking forward to sharing those benefits with others.”

Bill Sivewright, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance CEO said:

“Everything we do at Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is patient focused. We are proud of our clinical team’s collaboration with Blizzard to develop this innovative blanket, which will benefit critically ill or injured patients, not only within the UK, but across the world.”

The Air Ambulance Edition’ Blizzard blanket, has been developed as a commercial product available for sale and global distribution by Blizzard. DSAA will not benefit financially from the sale of this product. The Blizzard blanket can be purchased direct from Blizzard by calling: 01248 600666 or by visiting their online shop: