Ireland’s first charity led air ambulance has delivered in excess of 100 missions within its first two months of service – and this week launched a major fundraising appeal for corporate and public support.
The new Air Ambulance is ahead of target to deliver a forecast 500 life-saving missions per annum. However, €2m will have to be raised each year to keep the service airborne.
The County Cork based service is being led by Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR) and delivered with the HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS) and the Department of Health.
The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) went live on Tuesday, July 30 and had been tasked with 93 missions up to Tuesday, September 24 (eight weeks of service), passing its 100th mission late last week.
‘FLIGHT FOR LIFE’
The charity will now be making contact with major companies and successful business leaders seeking support. A public appeal, involving a nationwide raffle, called ‘Flight for Life’ is about to go live.
The major prize will be a once in a lifetime helicopter trip from Italy to Ireland, flying over the Alps, on board a new helicopter that will be phased into operation later in the year.
The National Ambulance Service, which brings the population of a 10,000 square mile area within 20 minutes of critical medical care, tasks the HEMS through 112 / 999 calls to its National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC).
Partnerships with major public events, and community-based fundraising events, are planned.
Details of the fundraising drive are at www.icrr.ie.
ICRR Chairperson Fergal Conlon called for strong public support for the fundraising work.
“The charity is also delighted to announce that it has secured a back-up helicopter which will be permanently housed in the hanger at the Rathcoole base in north-west Cork. The back-up helicopter came into use last week while the main helicopter was undergoing routine servicing. It will remain at the Airbase as a back-up aircraft, and as is normal for an Air Ambulance service.”