The new ‘Air Ambulance Edition’ Blizzard blanket is the result of a year-long project between Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance (DSAA) and Blizzard Protection Systems Limited, to improve patient care in a pre-hospital environment.
DSAA attends a wide variety of emergencies involving critically ill and injured patients. Interventions by the clinical team help prevent further deterioration until patients get to definitive care, which can play a key role in their chances of survival. One way they do this is to maintain the patient’s core body temperature, preventing hypothermia and any further heat loss, protecting them from the environment and providing active warming.
Before arriving at hospital, heat loss occurs through several ways and evidence suggests that critically ill and injured patients presenting with hypothermia are at high risk of death. Once the patient is hypothermic, it is difficult to reverse this in the pre-hospital environment.
Recognising the advanced benefits that Blizzard’s blankets provide to patients in the pre-hospital environment and, as part of their ongoing efforts to improve patient care, members of DSAA’s clinical team embarked on a personal project in their own time, to design a bespoke blanket in collaboration with engineers at Blizzard.
DSAA’s clinicians and pilots and Blizzard’s engineers met over numerous virtual meetings to collaborate on a range of designs, which were then trialled for their effectiveness, finally developing a new Blizzard blanket named ‘The Air Ambulance Edition’, which will be used to improve the thermal management and treatment provided to critically ill and injured patients.
While DSAA will be the first air ambulance client to use the bespoke blanket, it will also be available for distribution to Blizzard’s clients around the world which include other air ambulances, military, ambulance, hazardous area response teams, police, fire and rescue services, as well as mountain rescue.
The blanket provides protection from the harshest environments of cold air, rain or snow, meaning that it can be used within any operating environment that the air ambulance goes to.
Director of Blizzard, Robert Mcguffie, said, “As a business, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our products and patient outcomes, so when we started receiving accurate, consistent and useful in-depth feedback from DSAA, it was clear we had a customer that we could work alongside in developing our products.
“From the outset, DSAA have been exceptional in their level of feedback and willingness to share their considerable expertise with us and to work closely alongside our research and development team, to improve all aspects of the products and services we provide. This has included allowing our team to help them with training on our products and numerous meetings to develop a unique combination to fit their specific needs.
“The result is a tremendously capable package that is easier and safer for them to use, achieves better results and ensures that we are doing all we can to improve their level of care – something we know is at the core of what they do. As a company, it has been a privilege to work with DSAA to improve our product range and we are looking forward to sharing those benefits with others.”
Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance CEO, Bill Sivewright, said, “Everything we do at Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is patient focused. We are proud of our clinical team’s collaboration with Blizzard to develop this innovative blanket, which will benefit critically ill or injured patients, not only within the UK, but across the world.”
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