The Essex Air Ambulance is a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS); providing a flexible life-saving service for Essex and surrounding areas. Specialist Doctors and Ambulance Service Paramedics can be rushed to the scene of an incident with life-saving support equipment and the patient, following assessment, will be flown to an appropriate hospital. Unlike other NHS emergency services Essex Air Ambulance is a Charity relying solely upon the generosity and goodwill of the people and businesses of Essex to remain operational and saving lives.
In the mid 1990's the need for an Air Ambulance was becoming increasingly recognised. A life-saving helicopter would have the ability to access remote parts of Essex quickly and would not be affected by high tides or traffic congestion. The presence of an Air Ambulance would also enable medical personnel to reach areas inaccessible to land vehicles including woods, beaches, docks and golf courses.
- The Essex Air Ambulance charity was established and began fundraising in 1997.
- The Charity works in partnership with the East of England Ambulance Service Trust but receives no funding from the National Lottery and relies on the generosity and goodwill of local people and businesses to help generate vital funds.
- The first Air Ambulance, a Bolkow 105 Db, was launched in July 1998 from New Hall School in Boreham.
- During the past 12 years there have been 3 aircraft in service. The first two helicopters were Bolkows with bright red livery, later to be resprayed yellow following a sponsorship deal with the AA.
- In May 2003 thanks to the passion and fundraising of the County, the charity was in a position to commission a new state of the art aircraft, the Eurocopter EC135 T2.
- In April 2007 the Essex Air Ambulance charity became Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT) responsible for both the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Helicopter Emergency Medical Services.
- Hertfordshire was one of the few counties left in the UK without its own Air Ambulance and so in April 2007 EHAAT launched an appeal to enable the people of Hertfordshire to raise funds for their own life-saving Air Ambulance service. A fundraising target of £250,000 was set...the challenge was enormous and was only going to be possible with the help and support of the Hertfordshire community.
- In July 2007, to assist this vital service, the Charity purchased a 4x4 vehicle for use when the aircraft is grounded due to bad weather or requires urgent unplanned maintenance. The vehicle has full life-saving equipment like the helicopter.
- The Herts Air Ambulance was unveiled on 5th November 2008 at Fairlands Valley Park, Stevenage.
- Doctors were introduced to the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Crew in November 2008; to work alongside specially trained paramedics from the ambulance service, mirroring the service pioneered by London's Helicopter Emergency Medical Service. The Doctor/Paramedic team provide enhanced critical care increasing the chances of survival and recovery to the most severely ill and injured patients. Enabling life-saving procedures to be carried out which would not otherwise be possible so early in the treatment process.
- On 1 June 2010 Essex Air Ambulance launched a new helicopter, an MD902 Explorer, the same model as the Herts Air Ambulance also operated by Specialist Aviation Services (SAS).
- Over the past 12 years the aircraft has flown over 10,000 missions. The aircraft is deployed 2-4 times per day.
- It costs in the region of £500,000 per month to keep both helicopters flying and cover all charitable costs, that’s £5.8 million a year.
The aircraft and the Charity that works to fund it continues to serve all people of all ages and it is this diverse, passionate and committed community that has kept the Air Ambulance flying.
Essex Air Ambulance is extremely grateful for the help it receives from the general public and local businesses as none of this would be possible without their support. The Charity relies on their generosity to provide donations and time and we look forward to their continued support as we fly into the future together.