July 6, 2018:
The UK's Sloane Helicopters has signed a contract with Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR) to operate Ireland's first community air ambulance helicopter. The aircraft is due to be delivered at the end of July and will enter service in August. Based at Cork airport, it will serve HEMS patients across a 10,000 square mile region.
The service will include medical crew who can provide life-saving treatment along with rapid transport to a critical care facility. Medical care and transportation within the 'golden hour', the time in which medical interventions have the greatest impact on saving lives, greatly increase the chances of survival.
ICRR CEO John Kearney comments: "Since 2008, we have developed a network of over 200 volunteer doctors throughout Ireland who can be called upon to deliver critical medical interventions and prevent serious injury or death. We have ten rapid response vehicles in operation to deliver a land emergency service.
"ICRR is now taking to the air. The air ambulance service will mirror successful models across the UK and continental Europe where geographically challenging terrain warrants an air response. It will complement existing emergency services including the Athlone-based Emergency Aeromedical Service operated by the National Ambulance Service and Irish Air Corps. It is hoped that €2 million can be raised per annum to fund the service. The people of Ireland have sustained our land-based rapid response volunteer doctors over 10 years and now we are calling on the public to support this new lifesaving service."
Sloane MD Jeremy Awenat adds: "As we approach our 20th year as an established HEMS operator, we are delighted and proud to have been selected by ICRR to provide EMS helicopter services in Ireland and very much look forward to developing a close partnership with the charity. For more than 23 years we have provided helicopter in-country support for many Irish customers and we see this scope expanding."
The community air ambulance service is expected to respond to up to 500 calls a year.
Sloane has also appointed Roger Taylor as head of engineering. Taylor has more than four decades of industry experience under his belt and has worked extensively with Leonardo products.