Magnum Visits Essex & Herts Air Ambulance - Celebrating 20 Years of Saving Lives

On Sunday 25th June 2017, Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) unveiled their first ever purchased helicopter, the AgustaWestland AW169 – and earlier this month, Magnum were lucky enough to go and see it!

Why do Magnum Support Essex & Herts Air Ambulance?

The EHAAT’s aim is to save lives and reduce or prevent disability or suffering from critical illness and injury. They do this by delivering first class pre-hospital emergency medical service to the people of Essex, Hertfordshire and surrounding areas.

In short, they’re a team of heroes! That’s why Magnum have been supporting them for 15 years and counting, gifting them vital footwear required to do their jobs.

Magnum are well-known for protecting the protectors and being an Essex based company ourselves, we’ve always valued the opportunity to support a truly life-saving charity.

The New AgustaWestland AW169 Air Ambulance Helicopter

This year, the EHAAT are celebrating 20 years of saving lives via air ambulance. Thanks to their amazing supporters, they were recently able to treat themselves to a very special birthday present - their first ever purchased helicopter!

To thank Magnum for their latest instalment of new boots, the EHAAT based at the North Weald airbase recently invited us in for a visit.  Knowing that this is where the shiny new helicopter was based, we were delighted to accept their invitation.

After a quick photo opportunity, we were given a tour of the new (and very impressive!) AgustaWestland AW169 helicopter.  Whilst learning about the 270º patient access, integrated 2-cylinder oxygen system, auxiliary power unit (great for providing heat and light in the winter without the blades turning), faster speeds and longer flying times of the huge twin-engine 4.8t machine, our host, Clinical Manager Ben Myer, suddenly identifies the chopping sound that we can hear in the distance… “oh, that’s the 902 coming in to land!”.

Sure enough just a few moments later, another of the charity’s helicopters lands nearby.  Having just attended an incident, the Critical Care Team had stayed with the patient and the helicopter had popped into the airbase to refuel – which included a welcome cup of tea for the pilot and co-pilot!


During our time at the airbase, we were able to ask Ben, and Clinical Operations Manager Scott Mcllwaine, a few questions…

Who makes up an Air ambulance team?

Previously, a crew consisted of three people - a pilot, a paramedic and a doctor. The paramedic's role was to act as a co-pilot whilst in the air, and a medical team member when on the ground. However, new safety measures were put into place in 2016 and now the team consists of four people. A pilot to fly the helicopter, a co-pilot solely focused on navigation and flight safety, and then a paramedic and a doctor to specifically focus on the incident. The paramedic and doctor will discuss the drugs and kit they might need and work together in the back when treating the patient.

Is the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance helicopter crew permanent?

The paramedics and doctors usually come on a secondment from the NHS.  Doctors stay with the teams for approximately 6 months. While paramedics join for 3 years and may then be extended by another 3 years, staying for a maximum of 6 years.

It was a very hot summer with highs of over 30 degrees. Does that affect the helicopter?

When it’s hot, the air is thinner, so the blades have to work harder.  This means we have to carry less on board and refuel more often.

Does the EHAAT helicopter fly at night?

Unfortunately, most hospital helipads in the area we cover close at around 9 or 10pm. So although we do have pilots trained to fly at night, it’s not possible.  However, we do own multiple Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs) which are essential in keeping us operational overnight and in the event of bad weather. The vehicles carry the same kit found on the helicopters, allowing the Critical Care Team to continue bringing the hospital to the patient.

How Can You Support EHAAT?

The Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT) rely solely on donations, fundraising events and volunteers to keep their amazing team airborne.

 - A one off payment of just £5 can buy a disposable head block to maintain spinal immobilisation in trauma patients

 - Donating £2 a month for one year can buy a sling to stabilise a patient’s pelvis and reduce bleeding

To find out more about upcoming fundraising events, volunteering and donating to support this live-saving service and keep them operational, visit the EHAAT website.