THE Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) responded to 262 call-outs to parts of North Somerset last year, figures show.

The charity works to save lives day in, day out.

Critical care doctors, advanced practitioners, pilots and specialist paramedics rushed to provide lifesaving care to residents in locations such as the side of the road, in a field or in their home.

This is an increase in 51 per cent compared to the previous year.

In total, the critical care team received a total of 1,979 call-outs to incidents across  North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, and parts of Wiltshire. This makes it the second busiest year for the GWAAC on record.

North Somerset had the highest response rate for cardiac arrest call-outs in the GWAAC's region. 83 North Somerset locals received care following a cardiac arrest last year.

Currently, only 40 per cent of people suffering from a cardiac arrest receive early CPR and fewer than 2 per cent have a defibrillator used before an ambulance arrives.

Local groups are working to help save lives. 

GWAAC’s Great Western Hearts defibrillator programme is helping to equip communities with publicly accessible defibrillators and the knowledge of how to use them so people can have the best possible chance of surviving a cardiac arrest.

Since they started fundraising in 2023, Weston's Donate for Defib campaign group have raised nearly £15,000 for defibrillators in the coastal town.

The second most common incident type in the region is road traffic collisions. In 2023, the team were called to help 44 people.

The air ambulance charity were called to help 289 children and young people in 2023, 36 of which were in North Somerset.

Anna Perry, chief executive officer, Great Western Air Ambulance Charity, said: “With our mission numbers steadily rising year on year it’s more important than ever that we continue to receive the support of the people in our communities.

"As a charity, we receive no direct government funding and rely on the kindness of people donating their time and money. Costs are rising too and we need to raise over £4 million every year just to stay operational.”