Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) is thrilled to announce the grand opening of an immersive and educational new exhibit, set to take visitors on a captivating journey through the history and groundbreaking innovations of the rapid response charity.
Nestled within the historic confines of Sheffield’s National Emergency Services Museum, this cutting-edge exhibition promises to be a must-visit destination for all ages.
Housed in one of Yorkshire’s earliest purpose-built combined Police, Fire, and Ambulance Stations, dating back to 1898, the National Emergency Services Museum boasts the distinction of being the world’s largest combined Emergency Services Museum. At its heart now lies the highly anticipated Air Ambulance interactive exhibition, inviting visitors to explore the life-saving world of YAA in a thrilling and immersive fashion.
The exhibit promises an enthralling blend of history and innovation. Museum visitors will be immersed in captivating narratives as they engage with interactive boards equipped with headphones, offering gripping tales from former patients, like Dave Townend, who experienced a life-threatening cardiac event in Sheffield and was swiftly air-lifted to a Sheffield hospital. Through the headset, Dave passionately shares why he’s now a dedicated volunteer, giving back to the charity that saved his life.
Stepping into the exhibit, visitors will be enveloped in a vivid red hue, reminiscent of YAA’s Air Bases, granting a glimpse into the conditions faced by the life-saving crew during critical night flying missions.
The displays within the exhibit showcase high-tech, lifesaving equipment utilised inside the helicopter. The exhibit will feature both older equipment, no longer in use, and the cutting-edge technology currently employed, providing a historical perspective on the evolution of life-saving innovations. Adding to the immersive experience, visitors will find lockers housing Paramedic and Pilot flight suits, inviting them to step into the specialised attire worn by the YAA medical and aviation teams.
One of the exhibit’s highlights is a true-to-life replica of an Air Ambulance Dispatch desk, complete with an interactive telephone. Guests can relive the tension as a live 999 call triggers an immediate response, with a dynamic map displaying the movement of a YAA helicopter, mirroring the Air Traffic Control systems used by the crew. An interactive dispatch button allows visitors to experience the identical siren that signals the team to assemble swiftly for a new mission. Subsequently, a monitor will take them on a virtual journey as the helicopter soars into the skies, replicating the heart-pounding moments of a life-saving mission.
Sammy Wills, a Senior HEMS Paramedic at Yorkshire Air Ambulance from Sheffield, expressed her pride in being part of the launch event. She said, “This exhibit is nothing short of fantastic – it’s not just incredibly informative but also remarkably enjoyable and engaging! I vividly recall walking in, and suddenly, someone hit the dispatch siren button; for a moment, I felt like I needed to dash out and hop onto the helicopter! Personally, my favourite aspect has to be those sections where you can listen to people sharing their stories. I believe it not only offers a window into our life-saving endeavours but also serves as a heartfelt tribute to the incredible people we help.”
The project was made possible through the generous support of the Sheffield Church Burgess Educational Foundation, which awards grants to various educational organisations, including projects like this that enrich the community’s understanding of emergency services.
David Stanley from Church Burgess Educational Foundation, who attended the launch, emphasised the significance of such educational initiatives in the community. He said, “I’m delighted to have been able to attend the launch of the exhibit and meet the fantastic team behind its creation. I truly believe it will serve as a valuable learning tool for future generations, offering engaging insights into the critical emergency work of the air ambulance.”
Matt Wakefield, Chief Executive Trustee at the National Emergency Services Museum, hailed the exhibit as a unique opportunity for visitors to connect with the life-saving work of Yorkshire Air Ambulance. He said, ‘Our guests are in for a real treat with this new exhibit; it’s been an incredibly rewarding project to be a part of. Throughout its creation, I’ve gained profound insights, not only into the exceptional life-saving crew at Yorkshire Air Ambulance but also into the extensive team working tirelessly behind the scenes to secure the funds necessary to keep the helicopters operational. I look forward to hearing our guests’ thoughts now that it’s open!’.
For more details about the exhibit, including booking information, click here.