The air ambulance charity, which has been operating from temporary accommodation for over a year, launched its mission to deliver a 24/7 air ambulance service in the East of England back in 2019. This week, despite delays due to the pandemic, that goal is one step closer as its life-saving crews have moved into the charity’s newly built 24/7 operating base at Norwich Airport.
Funded through generous gifts in wills, the £7-million development will enable the charity to finally have the training, rest and welfare facilities required for a fully 24/7 helicopter operation and will make EAAA the first air ambulance in the East of England to fly round the clock.
By flying 24/7, the charity estimates it could be tasked by helicopter up to 600 more times a year, delivering critical care to those in need faster at night and closing the five-and-a-half-hour gap where there is currently no helicopter coverage in the region.
A huge milestone for EAAA
Patrick Peal, CEO of EAAA, said: “This week has truly been a huge milestone for EAAA and for the whole community, who have helped to fund this enormous project through several years of generous donations, largely through gifts left to the charity in supporters’ wills. Our previous headquarters were incredibly cramped, in need of several improvements and we were renting additional office space elsewhere in Norwich. The new base solves these problems and gives us extra facilities as well as room to grow in the future.
“We’ve dreamt of being able to fly 24/7 for years as we’re fiercely passionate about making sure the same standard of critical care is available, by helicopter, right across East Anglia no matter what time of day or night it is. We know people don’t stop having cardiac arrests, strokes or road traffic collisions when the helicopter goes offline, and we have been working towards this goal for several years. Now, that goal is just a couple of months away.”