‘Jet suit’ test sees charity sector significantly ramp up use of technology amid Covid-19

The voluntary sector’s increased use of technology, particularly in service delivery, stepped up a gear this week with the announcement that an emergency rescue charity is looking to use jet suits for its paramedics.

Amid Covid-19 the charity sector has been swiftly pivoting its organisation, fundraising and service delivery online amid an increasing focus on home and remote working.

Service delivery has been a particular area of innovation, with video conferencing and artificial intelligence web support becoming increasingly available.

Now it has emerged that Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) has teamed up with the firm Gravity Industries to create a 1050 brake horsepower jet suit for its paramedics to use.

The kit has been tested in the charity’s Lake District base, which saw Gravity Industries founder Richard Browning fly to the bottom of a valley to a simulated casualty site. The site would have taken paramedics 25 minutes to reach by foot, but the jet suit is able to cover that distance in just 90 seconds.

“We could see the need. What we didn’t know for sure is how this would work in practice. Well we’ve seen it now and it is, quite honestly, awesome,” said GNAAS director of operations and paramedic Andy Mawson.

He added: “In a time in healthcare when we are exhausted with COVID and its effects, it’s important to still push the boundaries.

“Our aircraft will remain a vital part of the emergency response in this terrain, as will the fantastic mountain rescue teams. But this is about looking at supplementing those resources with something completely new.

“We think this technology could enable our team to reach some patients much quicker than ever before. In many cases this would ease the patient’s suffering. In some cases, it would save their lives.”

Bowning added: “Richard Browning added: “It was wonderful to be invited to explore the capabilities of the Gravity Jet Suit in an emergency response simulation and work alongside the team at GNAAS.

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