Keeping our cool during WinterJanuary 12, 2017
Mark Etherington is one of our longest-serving and most experienced HEMS paramedics.
During the winter, when the weather takes a turn for the worse, we are faced with a completely new set of challenges when carrying out lifesaving missions across the North West.
After seven years at the charity, I know first-hand how adverse winter conditions can add extra pressure to rescue situations, and always advise everybody to take additional care when out and about at this time of year.
We often land a little way from our patients so examining injuries can be far harder as we are conscious about the dangers of exposing trauma patients to the cold. I can recall one incident several years ago, in which a gentleman had injured himself whilst out walking. We landed on top of a mountain in the snow but, due to the quickly disappearing light, we only had 30mins to find the patient, treat and stabilise him, then bring him back to the aircraft before it was too dark for the helicopter to take off safely. In these instances, we are incredibly grateful for the help of other services such as the Mountain Rescue, who are on hand to assist in those tricky situations – we make a good team! We got the patient to hospital and thankfully he made a full recovery.
It’s vital that we have proper personal equipment to protect us from the cold weather, such as waterproof jackets, boots, gloves, hats, lots of layers and even long johns. Our equipment must also be adapted to ensure that we can treat patients appropriately at the scene. Not only is it distressing to be in the cold, especially when injured, but it also worsens outcomes for patients. To combat this, we use heated blizzard blankets, which are expensive but worth every penny. This winter alone we will spend over £3,000 on vital heated blankets – and we couldn’t do it without the support of people like you!
Your donations ensure that we can continue to reach people in their time of need this winter, and we’re so grateful for any gift you can give – large or small!
Click here to donate and help keep us flying.