Saving Time, Saving Lives

How SCAA are tasked

Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) have been tasked over 1500 times.  We respond to hundreds of time-critical call outs every single year. 

Have you ever wondered what happens when you make a 999 call? On average it takes us 5 minutes to be in the air after receiving a call.  This is how SCAA is tasked, from 999 call to arriving at a patients home or garden, or landing on a road or field.

999 call made

999 call made

When an emergency 999 call is made, it is received by a call handler at the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) control desk.

999 call is assessed and graded

999 call is assessed and graded

The call handler will find out basic details about the patient’s condition and location, assessing the severity of the emergency. Calls are graded depending upon their severity and threat to life. The nearest land crew, community first responder or rapid response vehicle will be dispatched to the scene. Meanwhile, a helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) dispatcher keeps an eye on the call log and will task SCAA to jobs they feel are appropriate – based on condition, location and likely best receiving hospital.

HEMS call is made to SCAA

HEMS call is made to SCAA

Once the decision to task SCAA has been made, the HEMS dispatcher will call the emergency line at SCAA, where the crew are on standby 7 days a week. A paramedic will take the call, receiving information on the patient’s condition and location.

Prepare to fly

Prepare to fly

At the same time, the pilot and second paramedic will start up the helicopter and prepare for the life-saving mission.

Take off within 5 minutes

Take off within 5 minutes

Within 5 minutes from receiving the initial HEMS call, SCAA will be in the air, en route to the scene.

Attend the scene

Attend the scene

When at the scene, SCAA paramedics will treat the patient before flying them to the most appropriate hospital in Scotland, depending upon their injuries or illness and what specialist treatment they are likely to require.