Without our equipment we can't save lives

It comes with us to fields, forests, roadsides and homes, and it helps nearly 2,000 people every year

When minutes or seconds count, years of training and experience mean that our Critical Care Team can make quick decisions and carry out lifesaving procedures. But they also need specialist equipment.

“What we bring isn’t just skill and experience. We also bring kit. And it’s the confidence and familiarity of using that kit that means we can provide early treatment that turns into definitive care for the patient. This reduces the need for the patient to be transferred from one hospital to another because we can take them to the one that is best able to provide that care.” - Mark Kinsella Specialist Paramedic in Critical Care

Did you know that every week, we take the hospital emergency department to 35 people in need of urgent critical care?

We take it in our helicopter or in one of our critical care cars and we get it to the patient fast.

Imagine if we couldn’t do this. We couldn’t help people like Logan.

Land ambulances do not carry this specialist equipment. This means that what we carry to the patient, and our skills in how to use it, are vital.

This winter is going to be tougher for us all, but we really need your support today to save lives tomorrow. Every blood transfusion, every ultrasound diagnosis, every patient stabilised — it’s only possible with your help.


Here’s what our vital equipment can help us do…

Keep the blood pumping

Our mechanical Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) device, called a Lucas machine*, delivers regular and consistent compressions to a patient’s chest.

Why is it needed?
CPR is the first step in the chain of survival for someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest. And if the patient has multiple arrests, or if the crew has to work in a tight space, or if hands are needed for other critical tasks, the LUCAS machine can give the patient a better chance of survival.

How does it work?
The device is placed over the patient’s chest and the suction cup provides automatic compressions, replicating the pumping of the heart, which is exactly what our crew would do if they were performing manual CPR.

Equipment fact:
Our crew brought early advanced care to over 500 people suffering a cardiac arrest in 2021, representing 26% of the incidents we were called to that year.

Steve's story


Treat the tiniest of patients

We use an umbilical catheter to administer all sorts of lifesaving treatments to babies.

Why is it needed?
We can’t administer vital medicines to babies in the same way as other patients. Their tiny veins and soft bones mean safe treatment requires a more specialist approach.

How does it work?
The catheter is a tiny tube that is inserted directly into the umbilical cord. Through it, drugs and fluids are administered including glucose, adrenaline, and even blood.

Equipment fact:
Our 2021 mission stats showed that call-outs to babies, children and teenagers doubled from previous years. Call-outs to babies made up 28% of this group.

We are lucky to have two neonatal and paediatric specialists in our crew — Dr James Tooley and Specialist Paramedic in Critical Care, James Yates. You can find out more about the two Jameses in our blog: Why we’re set up to make a difference to young patients.


Stabilise any patient in need of critical care

Anaesthetising a patient puts them in a safer, more stable state for the treatment of major injuries and transportation.

Why is it needed?
If a patient is in critical need of care, they may need to be put on a ventilator to help control their breathing. And if they’ve sustained a traumatic head injury, anaesthetisation can help reduce the risk of further brain damage by stabilising any swelling.

How does it work?
The patient is sedated with specialist drugs and the crew attaches a ventilator to take over their breathing.

Equipment fact:
On average, we anaesthetise three patients a week, that’s 156 every year.


Warm blood for urgent transfusions

We can give blood transfusions on scene to patients who suffer major trauma and blood loss. Our blood-warming machine, called the Warrior Lite, warms the blood to the temperature needed for the patient.

Why is it needed?
The blood we carry on board is stored at 5 ℃ but that is too cold to put into a patient’s body which runs at 37 ℃.

How does it work?
The Warrior Lite sends the blood through a series of thin pipes connected to a heating element. It quickly warms the blood, ready for use.

Equipment fact:
If we give blood without warming it up first, there’s a possibility the patient may get hypothermia.

Ollie's story


Diagnose critical issues fast

Speed is of the essence when treating a critically injured patient. But first, we need to know what to treat. If an injury isn’t obvious, our handheld ultrasound device comes into its own.

Why is it needed?
Our portable ultrasound machines can diagnose what is wrong with a patient fast. This helps us make decisions about patient care with confidence. It also speeds up the treatment pathway for the patient when they get to a hospital.

How does it work?
The device generates two-dimensional images of tissue and organs by sending ultrasound waves into the body. It can detect punctured lungs, cardiac activity, pregnancy, fluid in the chest and much more.

Equipment fact:
It costs £2,500 for a handheld ultrasound machine.


This winter, we’re calling on your support to save lives

We’ve launched an appeal to make sure we always have this essential kit on board so that every patient has the best possible chance. Find out how you can make a difference.

More on our equipment and training