Our specially-equipped cars allow us to provide a 24 hour service.

Backing up our helicopters are our two Volvo XC90 rapid response cars. The vehicles are activated when the helicopter is unable to fly due to extreme weather or breakdown. They are also used for our 24 hour service in the North-East.

Why does an air ambulance service need cars?

There are two main reasons:

  1. To allow our clinicians to respond if the aircraft are unable to fly due to breakdown or in extreme weather conditions.
  2. As part of our 24 hour Medical Emergency Response Incident Team (MERIT) which operates on Thursday to Sunday nights in the North-East.

What equipment do the cars carry?

We carry everything that you would find on our aircraft, which means the care the patient receives on scene is the same as would be the case if the helicopter had responded. The difference is that the cars cannot carry patients. However, taking our clinicians to the scene is proven to make a life-saving difference, and through working with our colleagues in the ambulance services, the patient can then be transported safely to hospital.

What is MERIT?

Our Medical Emergency Response Incident Team works from 8pm to 8am on Thursdays through Sundays.

On Friday and Saturday nights, the service is commissioned by the North East Ambulance Service. The other two nights are paid for out of charity funds.

We are looking at ways to expand the service further. This could mean a seven day service in the future. It could also mean rolling it out to the North-West.

Keep us driving

Our cars give us greater flexibility, so we can reach more people in their time of need. You can help keep them driving by making a donation today.


  • £5
  • £10
  • £15

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