Throughout Devon communities are working hard to establish pre-surveyed floodlit community landing sites which enable Devon Air Ambulance (DAA) to reach patients during the hours of darkness. Using these designated sites means their crews can land in the heart of communities to administer essential emergency treatment.
Last week, DAA and Foxhole Community Association (FCA), in Paignton, celebrated the opening of Devon’s 100th community landing site.
The floodlighting helps illuminate the landing area, allowing medical teams to see clearly as they assess and treat patients. The lights are switched on remotely by the HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Services) Dispatcher based at the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust by making a simple phone call to an electronic control box connected to the switch mechanism at the Community Landing Site. Once the crew have cleared scene, they are turned off using the same procedure.
FCA Chairman, Trevor Burridge, said: “We’re delighted to have helped set up a community landing site at the Centre. This means Devon Air Ambulance can now provide essential medical care within our community until 2am. We’d like to thank everyone who has helped support this project – our local Councillor David Thomas, Blue Seafood Company, CP Electrical, The Paignton Hospital League of Friends and all those people who helped raise the funds for the new lighting at the Centre’s pitch. A recent familiarisation flight by Devon Air Ambulance into our site showed us all just how quickly medical teams can access our community if needed in an emergency.”
Corinne Lowe, Chairman of The Paignton Hospital League of Friends, added: “We are delighted to have supported this Devon Air Ambulance initiative. The League of Friends is very active in the Paignton community and this project will no doubt save lives in the future. The League continues to support services provided by the Paignton Health and Wellbeing Centre and the Community Medical services.”
Councillor David Thomas said, “As one of the ward Councillors for this area I am delighted that the Bay now has an additional night time landing site in Paignton, alongside the one at Paignton Rugby Club. Although I have provided support for the project the real thanks go to members of the Foxhole Community Centre who came up with the idea and then set about raising the required monies to fund the lighting. Fundraising is never an easy task, but the way the wider Paignton community have come together and helped fund the project is extremely impressive. I hope we never have need to use the site, but it is reassuring to know that if someone needs the services of the Devon Air Ambulance in the evening, we now have the facility for the Air Ambulance to land in Foxhole”.
Devon Air Ambulance CEO, Heléna Holt, said: “We’re delighted to be able to celebrate our 100th community landing site at Foxhole, Paignton. As with all our community landing sites, the Foxhole community has worked hard to raise the funds needed to make the site ready for use after dark”.
Toby Russell, Community Landing Sites Development Officer at DAA added “We’d like to extend a big thank-you to everyone involved with the project in Foxhole and are grateful to everyone who has helped establish the 100 sites now in operation.”
He added, “We’re pleased to see lots more sites currently being developed throughout Devon and encourage any community that has not made contact with us yet to get in touch, so we can help them identify and develop their own Community Landing Site”.
- You can review the map of where our community landing sites are located here.