Throughout lockdown and despite most of us spending more time at home, trauma accidents and incidents continue. The Air Ambulance NI is still needed on average one or two times daily, and since the service started almost three years ago, 157 of those call outs have been to the Causeway Coast & Glens Council Area. That equates to an average of over 4 calls per month.
Air Ambulance NI is the local charity that provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for Northern Ireland, together with its partners at the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service. The service brings urgent medical assistance to anywhere in the province, operating seven days a week for 12 hours per day.
Glenn O’Rorke, Operational Lead for the HEMS said, “The HEMS team have been tasked on 1487 occasions since inception less than three years ago. Your life can change in an instant, trauma is still here and will continue, despite lockdown and more limited activity in society. Whilst the rate of Road Traffic Collisions has slightly reduced, DIY accidents have increased and the rate of farming, industrial and other accidents has remained. We encourage everyone not to take unnecessary risks, yet we realise accidents happen. If that is the case and we are tasked, the air ambulance can reach anywhere in NI in approximately 25 minutes.”
Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising with Air Ambulance NI, said, “Air Ambulance NI is your local charity. With your continued support our medics can fly and continue to provide specialist critical care at scene that can be the difference between life and death. Each day £5,500 is needed and like every charity, we are experiencing a massive reduction in fundraising. There are at least a couple of examples locally – the loss of this year’s Causeway Coast Truck Fest event which is likely to have raised over £50,000 for the charity; and the local M&S in Coleraine which due to social distancing can no longer raise funds through bag packs. Yet we know the helicopter service inspires support and if everyone does a little the air ambulance will be here now and for generations to come.”
The charity is very grateful to all those who are continuing their support whether that is through fundraising or volunteering. The Smyth’s are one such Coleraine family who have supported the charity since the loss of Harry and Ellie’s Daddy Peter in 2019. Whilst not all the families fundraising plans for 2020 are possible due to Covid-19, mum Caroline and the two children have already completed a physical challenge in their own back garden during lockdown.
One of the simplest ways to support the charity is by becoming a member of ‘Club AANI’. Club AANI members donate monthly through direct debit, so it means once this is set up you are consistently supporting and are part of the journey. Over 800 people so far have become members. You can join at www.airambulanceni.org. or call the charity on 028 9262 2677.