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hiowaafamilyday_026Do you know how to dial the Emergency Services on a locked phone? Or what to expect when making a 999 call? Can you remember your own address and phone number? These are some of the questions that Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA) will be asking primary school children in their drive to educate young people about how to respond in an emergency and to highlight the importance of the Air Ambulance and other emergency services.

A survey released by Mumsnet in April this year found that of 757 respondents (37%) have not taught their child to dial 999 and many children thought that the emergency number was 911. Others commented that locked smartphones stuck on the ‘enter passcode’ screen were a source of concern.

Today (Friday) the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance is launching its ‘999 Hero’ campaign which will be rolled out to schools and youth groups across the region throughout the Autumn, providing teachers, parents and children with the necessary tools and knowledge to become a 999 Hero and possibly save a life.

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herocopterhiowaaAt the forefront of the campaign are five super hero characters, inspired by the charity’s team of paramedics, doctors and pilots.  The characters will be featured on a new website specifically designed for young people, so that they can access vital safety information, fundraising ideas,  games and a news page of activity from across the region.  In addition, primary schools will benefit from a 30 minute interactive presentation for pupils in class or assembly, plus a surprise visit from one of the charity’s three new mascots; Pat the Paramedic, Teddy Medic and Herocopter.

Alex Lochrane, CEO of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, commented:

“No one wants to see their child put in the position of having to make a 999 call, but equipping our children with the necessary skills could save a life.  Not only this, but as a charity, we airlift around 60 children and young people across the region every year, so it is vital that we familiarise youngsters with our charity”.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance flies seven days a week and attends an average of two to three missions a day, many of them life saving. The charity receives no government, statutory or national lottery funding, and is entirely dependent on gifts received from members of the public, companies and grant-making bodies to keep the Air Ambulance flying and saving lives.

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