The charity is still flying during the Covid-19 pandemic, but the cost of keeping the crew safe is significant. The EAAA has had to adapt its procedures and source personal protective equipment (PPE), with an estimated cost of over £100,000.
The EAAA has now launched an emergency appeal for donations to raise funds for the PPE to keep the air ambulance teams safe.
More than £25,000 of unbudgeted funds have been spent on items such as respirators, high-protection masks, visors, suits, gowns and goggles to protect doctors and paramedics.
Richard Hindson, Head of Operations at East Anglian Air Ambulance, said: “At a time like this we can’t take any chances with the safety of our crews, but we also need to be able to provide the same level of care for our patients. The equipment we now need to operate safely is a huge unforeseen cost that simply hasn’t been budgeted for, but we can’t send our crews out without it.
“We understand people are struggling at home too and may not feel as secure about their income, but we need support now more than ever, from those who feel able to give it, to protect our crews and keep our service operating safely. Please donate what you can to help.”
Although a lot of people are staying home during the lockdown, there are still accidents and medical emergencies which need the community-funded helicopter service to provide critical care.
“The way in which we operate has had to change so much, incredibly quickly, but our crews have been amazing and are still out there every day, not knowing what they might come into contact with once they get to scene”, Hindson added. “We’ve had to adapt all of our procedures to protect against this virus, right down to introducing new criteria for which patients we can transfer by air to hospital, but we’re proud to still be able to be there for the patients who need us and to support the other emergency services. With community support now, we can make sure we’re still there for our patients next month and next year, too.”