Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance workers who'll be saving lives on Christmas Day
Paramedics and call handlers at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance have spoken about what it's like to work on the frontline over Christmas.
As with all of our emergency workers, Christmas is like any other day, with staff on call to keep the public safe.
The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance says it costs the charity approximately £15,000 a day to keep flying and that it's thanks to public support that they are able to provide frontline services on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
One of those who will be working on Christmas Day is HEMS Paramedic Sophia Rozario.
HEMS Paramedic Sophia, who has been flying with the service since 2019 said: “We’re usually very busy around Christmas time.
"Sporting accidents are far fewer in number but, unfortunately, we do attend serious road traffic collisions, medical and self-harm incidents.
"It’s made me realise that Christmas can be a really tough time of year for some.”
“My mum is a nurse, so when I was a kid it was normal to have a belated Christmas Day,” said Sophia.
“And my fiancé is also a paramedic, so as long as we get a couple of days over the festive period together, I don’t mind which day we celebrate.”
The doctors, paramedics and pilots who works for the charity are alerted to emergency incidents by dispatch assistants, who scan and monitor calls that come into the 999 call centre.
DA Scott Sheldon will be working this Christmas, having previously worked three Christmas’ for South Central Ambulance Service.
He will be monitoring 999 calls, ready to deploy the team.
Scott said: “Working in the call centre at Christmas can be like a normal day with a steady flow of calls to review and monitor - people tend to be fairly jolly and keep each other smiling when there is chance to do so.
“My family all live in the Midlands so I swapped with another DA so they could spend time at home with their family.”
Dr Simon Hughes, who worked on Boxing Day last year, said, “If the phone or the radio goes, we try to get airborne in four minutes. So, if we are midway through a turkey sandwich or a Christmas pudding, you need to be able to put that down and run out the door extremely quickly.
“Traditionally, we think of people sitting down to eat their lunch, drinking wine and relaxing but, sadly, horrible things can still happen.”
Sophia added: “It’s remarkable that our entire operation survives purely on people’s good will and generosity. It means we’re able to run a dispatch team and a Critical Care Team, who both work to help people during one of the worst days of their lives and provide the interventions they need as soon as they need it.
“A huge thank you to everyone who donates - and to those who come up and say kind words to the team when we are out and about, it’s very much appreciated.”