Celebrating 20th anniversary of our longest serving fire officer
Tuesday 1st April 2014
When John Power, Chief Fire Officer at London’s Air Ambulance joined the charity on 1st April 1994, his ex-colleagues at Battersea Heliport joked that doing it on a Fool’s Day was rather telling – leaving a stable job for a charity whose future was unpredictable seemed foolish to many. “We were always fighting our corner and no one could be sure if London’s Air Ambulance would be around the next year’” says John. It has been exactly 20 years today.
London’s Air Ambulance is the charity that delivers an advanced trauma team to critically injured people in London. With only two fire crews having to cover shifts at a charity that is operational 7 days a week, John has literally spent 10 years out of the last 20 at London’s Air Ambulance’s helipad.
John’s life has always revolved around aviation. Originally from Wood Green, the sky above John’s house was always full of aircraft. He watched the planes take turns towards Heathrow and spent the weekends observing the planes at the airport.
Despite this life-long passion, it wasn’t primarily the aviation side of the service that struck him most when he first arrived at London’s Air Ambulance. When asked what went through his mind when he first visited after his interview in 1994, he says: “It’s hard to choose one single aspect of the service that made an impact on me that day, but I remember being impressed with the teamwork at the helipad. Everyone at the charity worked as a team, a close team. I simply thought ‘Wow, I want to work here’. And you knew you were doing some good. You can make an immediate difference to someone’s life,” says John.
London’s Air Ambulance as an organisation is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014. Having treated over 30,000 critically injured patients in London and attended most major incidents, since inception, the charity relies heavily on the generosity of the people of London to maintain its service. In its 25th year, the charity is asking for your help to acquire a desperately needed second helicopter and to recruit additional pilots and fire crew to extend its daylight flying hours in the summer months, enabling the service to reach an estimated further 400 patients per year by aircraft.