Illuminated landing sites improve outer isles’ air ambulance service

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The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) has created newly-lit helicopter landing sites in the outer isles which it claims will enhance access for medical evacuations.

While the coastguard helicopter has always had 24-hour access to these isles, the new sites will allow access at night by the Jigsaw helicopter, which requires a lit landing site in darkness under Civil Aviation Authority rules.

Volunteers have been trained to deploy the lights, when notified by the SAS, at Fair Isle, Fetlar, Foula, Papa Stour, Skerries, Unst, Whalsay and Yell, as well as at the Clickimin landing site in Lerwick.

SAS head of air ambulance services Andy Moir said: “We have worked closely with clinicians and community representatives on the islands to ensure that we continue to provide a a high quality service that meets their needs.

“The development of these sites and the support of volunteers to deploy lights in darkness will improve operational flexibility, particularly at night.”

The Scottish Ambulance Service undertakes around 16 medical evacuations by air from Shetland’s outer isles every year. In October last year the SAS entered into an agreement with Directflight to provide non-emergency transfers to Tingwall and Sumburgh on the company’s locally based Islander aircraft.

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