AIR AMBULANCE SERVICE STEPS UP PROTECTION AGAINST COVID

Irish medic Dr Lisa Guthrie pictured inside the EHAAT’s decontamination tent.

Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) is taking additional steps to protect patients and crew members from COVID-19 by decontaminating crews and equipment with specially-prepared water containing salt and electricity, which instantly kills 99.99% of bacteria, fungi and viruses.

A dry `fog’ created from electrolysed saline water is released inside a tent, into which anything that needs treating is placed. The environmentally-friendly system is non-toxic, non-corrosive and leaves no harmful residues. Electrolysed water is not new technology. It is used in the food industry and for water treatment.

EHAAT’s crews are using the fogging system at the end of every shift, and after every mission, at the charity’s airbases at North Weald and Earls Colne.Stuart Elms, EHAAT’s Clinical Director, said, “I’m delighted that we can add this extra layer of decontamination to our already strong measures of infection prevention and control. We will continue to look for ways to increase the safety of our patients and crews.”

The charity is working hard to keep patients, staff, volunteers and supporters safe and has been working with the East of England NHS Ambulance Trust to ensure EHAAT’s frontline patient-facing staff are all vaccinated against the virus.

Since 4 January EHAAT has been assisting with the transfer of some COVID-19 patients between hospitals, while continuing to respond to the charity’s normal workload of medical emergencies, cardiac arrests, road traffic collisions, serious injuries etc.

When required, the team, based at the charity’s North Weald Airbase, travel by helicopter or Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) to the relevant hospital, and accompany the patient in a designated land ambulance to the receiving hospital. The EHAAT team is able to provide the advanced level of care that allows a safe transfer of this group of patients.