On a sunny autumn day in October, The British Horse Society in Wiltshire got a chance to say thank you to their local Air Ambulance and find out just why they are such an important service for horse riders everywhere.
Sarah Jones organised a pleasure ride on behalf of BHS Wiltshire in May on the Fonthill Estate, by kind permission of Lord and Lady Margadale and wanted some of the proceeds to go to the Wiltshire Air Ambulance because she had recently lost a friend in a serious riding accident.
“Scarlett Jukes was out riding when her horse slipped on the road. The Wiltshire Air Ambulance played a crucial role in ensuring that Scarlett received prompt medical expertise on site and then as she was transferred to Southmead Hospital. Sadly, Scarlett’s injuries were to severe and she died three weeks after the accident. This donation is made in her memory,” explained Sarah.
Julie Garbutt, Development Officer for the South West Region and Wiltshire committee member, Sarah Jones, visited the head quarters of Wiltshire Air Ambulance (WAA) in Devizes to hand over a £1,000 cheque on behalf of riders from across the county.
Both ladies were given a tour of the facilities including the helicopter. It is fully equipped with everything ranging from a mini blood bank through to heart monitors and support systems. They are soon to receive an ultra sound machine which will help with determining if a rib has punctured a lung or if there is internal bleeding, for example. The Paramedics are highly trained and can conduct all sorts of procedures that normally are only conducted in hospitals. Rocky, one of the paramedics stated “It’s like bringing the Accident and Emergency department to the victim”.
Not only are they experts in the trauma field but they also have to be the pilot’s navigator at the same time. Nicky Smith, Wiltshire’s female pilot said whilst she “just” flies the helicopter, she has learnt a lot from the paramedics and can help them by passing them their equipment or holding a drip. What was evident was not only the professionalism of the crew but how well they worked together as a team.
This was most noticeable as they were showing Sarah the cockpit, they received an emergency call out and within two and half minutes the three crew were airborne and on their way. On average they attend three trauma’s a day, 365 days a year.
“It was amazing to see behind-the-scenes of this incredible service. Please everyone continue to support your local groups,” ended Sarah Jones.