The Construction Employers Federation (CEF) have chosen to support the charity, Air Ambulance Northern Ireland throughout 2022.
CEF is the sole certified representative body for the construction industry in Northern Ireland. The company represents approximately 70% of all construction work happening within the province. Air Ambulance NI is a charity which provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) along with its partners at the NI Ambulance Service. The HEMS team attend patients who are seriously ill or injured, bringing emergency pre-hospital care direct to the casualty. The medical interventions they perform at the incident scene can be the difference between life and death.
With over 30,000 staff directly employed by the construction sector locally and 65,000 in their wider supply chain, this new partnership aims to utilise CEF’s reach to help educate its members about the HEMS and what to expect if the air ambulance is needed on their site.
David Fry, Director of External Affairs said, “Over the last 20 years, our sector has made huge strides in improving its health and safety record. Even as we look to do more, our emergency services remain critical in ensuring that help is there when it is needed. In the five years since it began operations, Air Ambulance NI has provided crucial support to those affected by workplace accidents. Their vital role is one that will continue to be a necessity and we are therefore delighted to support Air Ambulance NI as our charity of the year in 2022”.
Since HEMS first became operation in July 2017 it has been tasked on over 2,679 occasions. In 2021 almost 5% of these call outs were to industrial workplace incidents. That is an average of 3 people per month. These serious incidents could involve a fall from height, accidents involving machinery or heavy equipment.
Sadly, Damien Laverty from Ballynahinch knows this all too well. In 2018, the 46-year-old was working with heavy machinery at his job at Carryduff Building Supplies when his right arm became trapped. Thankfully, the alarm was quickly raised by one of Damien’s colleagues who immediately called the emergency services and the air ambulance arrived at the scene within nine minutes.
The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service were able to successfully release Damien’s arm from the machinery. Due to the severity of the injury, Damien was put into a medically induced coma by the HEMS team and then transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital. Damien underwent crucial surgery to insert metal plates into his arm.
Damien’s road to recovery has been long and he has required many follow up procedures however, thanks to the initial interventions from the HEMS team, the work of the Belfast Trust and the follow up surgery, Damien’s arm has been saved.
Two members of the team from CEF; Tracy Windrim, Office and Events Manager and David Fry, Director of External Affairs, recently visited the Air Ambulance NI base to learn more about the life-saving service and how it has grown since its inception. The service brings urgent medical assistance to anywhere in the province, operating seven days a week for 12 hours per day. It can get to anywhere in Northern Ireland in approximately twenty-five minutes.
Along with the initiative to educate its members, CEF plans to raise vital funds at the Construction Excellence Awards for Air Ambulance NI which requires £5,500 in fundraising every day to remain operational.