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Online donation challenge to buy state of the art ventilators

Thanks to you, we've reached our target for the Big Give Christmas Challenge! A huge thank you to our amazing supporters.

We urgently need to replace our existing ventilators as they are several years old and are no longer as effective. For example, they cannot be used on children.

Ventilators are used when critically injured or ill patients stop breathing. They help keep patients alive by artificially breathing for them. The critical care team can also proactively use them to take charge of breathing for some patients who have received a pre-hospital emergency anaesthetic.

Ben Abbott, critical care paramedic and operations officer, said: “Our current ventilators are several years old and lack certain features that would enable our paramedics and doctors to provide the best possible care to patients. They cannot be used on children and instead we ventilate children by hand by using a paediatric bag valve mask.

“The ventilators we want to purchase are a more sophisticated model which can adapt to the individual requirement of patients, including children. This will give patients who have stopped breathing the best possible chance of survival.”

Our critical care team use the existing ventilators at least twice a week.

We want to buy four ventilators – each costing £6,000. One will be for use on the Bell 429 helicopter, two in our Rapid Response Vehicles (cars) and another will be used for training and as a back up should any of the other three require maintenance.

We will need to raise £12,000 between December 3-10, which will then be doubled to £24,000 through matched funds pledged by local businesses and trusts.

The charity’s champion funder is the Wiltshire Match Fund, putting forward £6,000. The other funding comes from OJO Solutions, based in Bradford-on-Avon, pledging £1,700, Swindon-based Excalibur Communications agreeing to pledge £1,300 and the Andrew Smiley Trust.

Donations must be made online via the Big Give Christmas Challenge webpage, which is open from 12noon on Tuesday 3 December to 12noon on Tuesday 10 December.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance fundraising manager Des Regan said: “We’re so grateful to supporters who have already pledged funds for the new ventilators, but to receive that money we have to raise £12,000 and this can only be done online through the Big Give website.

“The new ventilators will enable our critical care paramedics and doctors to continue saving lives. We have taken part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge for several years and thanks to our generous supporters this has enabled us to pay for critical care skills training for our paramedics, purchase ultrasound monitors, purchase training manikins and associated simulation equipment and for the Flight Room at our airbase in Semington.”

Darren Harper, sales manager of Excalibur Group, said: “As a Wiltshire based company we are always keen to support Wiltshire Air Ambulance, but when you learn that they are in need of critical care equipment such as the ventilators and how much of a difference they really can make in a life-threatening situation we really wanted to step up and help.

“We are proud to be supporting the amazing team at Wiltshire Air Ambulance who in turn are there for the people of Wiltshire.”

Nathan Baranowski, Managing Director of OJO Solutions, said: “We are really proud to be supporting Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

“The work of the charity is absolutely vital in saving lives across the county. The Big Give Christmas Challenge has been a great opportunity to make a difference and see that contribution grow!  We have been actively supporting Wiltshire Air Ambulance for the last two years from building an App – Helifun - to help engage with more supporters, completing a skydive and running 100km. Every penny matters and we believe the Big Give is a great way to make a huge difference.“

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