Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA), which covers the Pocklington and Market Weighton areas, is using the latest virtual reality technology to give people a totally new insight into its life-saving work.
The award-winning charity is believed to be one of the first air ambulance services in the country to use fully immersive, 360-degree virtual reality (VR) as a fundraising and awareness-raising tool.
Using special VR headsets, viewers can become a paramedic setting off on a mission, a patient being transferred from the helicopter to hospital and see what it’s like to be sat in the aircraft cockpit as you approach the landing pad of one of the region’s major trauma centres.
The YAA has worked with innovative York-based Air Television, which makes the popular UKTV series Helicopter ER that follows the life-saving work of the rapid response emergency charity.
There will also be an immersive tour of YAA’s air support unit at Nostell, near Wakefield, and more sequences are planned.
Director of marketing and communications Abby Barmby said: “By embracing this innovative technology we can engage with existing and potential supporters in a very different way, to give them a better understanding of the life-saving work we do and how their money is spent.”
The 360-degree footage can be watched on a smart phone or tablet, but the special VR headsets – which have been donated by a charity supporter - take the experience to another level. Viewers are totally immersed with every turn of the head giving them a different perspective.
Abby added: “We hope initially that the headsets will be taken to events and presentations to give people a powerful and novel insight into the life-saving work we do. We are not currently aware of any other air ambulance charity that is doing this and, looking forward, we are exploring other potential uses, such as training and education, which is very exciting.”
The YAA serves five million people across Yorkshire and carries out over 1,250 missions every year.