With almost 24,000 people killed or seriously injured on the UK’s roads last year, Air Ambulance Charity Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS) is taking part in Road Safety Week 2021 (15 – 21 November) to raise awareness of the critical role we can all play in helping to make our roads safer for everyone.
Road crashes are the leading cause of death for children and young people aged 5 – 29 years, with young drivers aged 17-24 at particularly high risk of death or severe injury. KSS is dispatched to attend the most serious incidents, and so far this year the charity has attended over 700 Road Traffic Collisions (RTCs) across its region (January – November 2021). RTCs accounted for a third of KSS’s missions within this timeframe.
These tragic events have a devastating effect on families and communities, and many are preventable. To raise awareness of the steps we can all take to reduce crashes and make journeys safer and healthier for everyone, KSS has recorded a video for Road Safety Week 2021 that the life-saving charity will share online.
Commenting, Ben Macauley, Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Paramedic said:
“We all share responsibility for road safety, whether we walk, ride or drive. Each of us has a responsibility to use roads safely, to protect ourselves and others.”
“We are called to the most serious Road Traffic Collisions across our region, making sure patients can start to receive pre-hospital emergency care directly at the scene. Responding to these incidents requires close collaboration with our colleagues from other Emergency Services so that, together, we can help to save lives and provide the best possible patient outcomes.”
One of the patients whose life was saved by KSS last year is Kerry Farwell-Stacey, from Kent. Kerry said:
“One evening in September last year, I was in a taxi from Ebbsﬂeet Train Station, just a mile from my house – a journey that I’d made many times before – when a speeding car collided with us head on round a slight bend in the road. That is the last thing I remember before waking up in King’s College Hospital one week later.”
“My memory from that night is very faint, I had no idea what had happened to me, but I have learned that I was lucky to have had my accident where I did, as KSS is one of the only air ambulance services in the country to ﬂy 24/7 so they were able to get to me quickly. Due to the location of my incident, the team landed nearby and were transported to the scene by the police.”
“I was told that when they arrived I was struggling to remain conscious, with a fast heart rate and low blood pressure. I had multiple injuries, including fractures to my femur and pelvis. The KSS team administered an emergency anaesthesia so they could splint my leg and pelvis to avoid further injury.”
“I was given a blood transfusion at the scene, which was only possible because KSS carry blood on-board, as the team were concerned I might have been bleeding internally from the impact of the crash. It was decided I’d be taken to hospital by road with the team from KSS accompanying me so they could continue my blood transfusion.”
“The days from the ﬁrst week that I was awake in hospital all blurred into one. I was unconscious for a week, and in hospital for a month, undergoing surgery to have a metal rod placed into my femur connected to my hip. When I was released from hospital, I still wasn’t able to go home as I was unable to manage stairs.”
“Luckily, my brother lives in a bungalow so in mid-October I moved in with him to begin my recovery. With the support of my family and the help of my occupational therapist, I have now been able to return to my house.”
“My recovery is still ongoing, but I am determined to build up the muscles in my legs so that I can start to walk properly again. Without the interventions that KSS were able to provide at the scene of the accident, my recovery could have looked a lot different. In fact, I may not even have made it to the recovery stage. The unique skills of the KSS team saved my life and for that I will be forever grateful.”
David Welch, CEO of KSS, said:
“As a charity, it is only through the generosity of our supporters that we are able to fund our life-saving service which costs £15M each year to deliver, and 88% of this comes from public donations and fundraising.”
“This year, the theme for Road Safety Week is ROAD SAFETY HEROES, celebrating the work of professionals who reduce casualties and care for people affected by crashes. I want to take this opportunity to convey my heartfelt thanks to everyone at Team KSS who works tirelessly towards helping our charity achieve its vision of an end to preventable loss of life through medical emergency.”
“And, importantly, I want to say a huge thank you to our volunteers and supporters. Without you, we would not be able to be there for the most critically injured patients across our region in their hour of need, and you are our heroes.”
The KSS Road Safety Week 2021 video will be available online from 15 November at aakss.org.uk and will be shared across the charity’s social media channels:
For further information: aakss.org.uk
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