Rescue heroes in Dorset will be celebrating the National Air Ambulance Week (NAAW).

The week – which was created by the Association of Air Ambulances (AAA) – is intended to celebrate and promote the work that air ambulance charities do. It launches on Monday, September 9.

A spokesman for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance said: "National Air Ambulance Week is a time when the public can really show their support to their local air ambulance charity. We like to use the week to raise awareness of the work that we do and hope that people will kindly donate what they can in support of the charity."

With the support of the public, the services have managed to expand their operations. They have been able to upgrade their aircrafts and get better medical capabilities and training for their paramedics and doctors.

In total, these services raise more than £170 million per year and have a more than 5,000 volunteers. They operate 39 helicopters and are called out to about 25,000 missions per year.

In the UK, there are a total of 21 air ambulance charities as well as 13 ambulance services.

Becky Steele, AAA Interim General Manager said: "During NAAW, many of the local charities organise events and initiatives in a bid to generate funds and raise awareness. Members of the public show their support by a variety of means and businesses get involved too. I would encourage everyone to go and find out what their local air ambulance is doing for NAAW by visiting their website and local media channels; it’s the perfect time to show your support."

People can find out more about the work done by the air ambulance service in a new book titled 'Air Ambulance Operations Manual' by Claire Robinson. It was written in collaboration with the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, and explores the history of the UK's air ambulances.

Bill Sivewright, DSAA Chief Executive Officer said: "We jumped at the chance to be involved with this essential Haynes manual which will really help educate the public about how we work not only in the region, but across the UK. Most people in the UK will think they have some concept of what an air ambulance is however, in reality there is much more to it than the uninitiated might expect.

"Probably the most common misconception is that the service is not funded as part of the NHS. While the typical reaction to this is surprise, or even outrage, I hope this book reassures people that the charity funding model has fostered innovation and enabled air ambulance services to develop in ways that wouldn’t have been possible within the public sector. Another feature of the charity set-up is that each air ambulance organisation operates in its own individual way, using different types of helicopters, crew arrangements and ways of working with the NHS.

"This variety ensures that each part of the UK has an air ambulance tailored to deliver the best patient service for their area. It has the added benefit that all services can observe and gain from each other’s experience as they attempt to tackle new situations and deploy new techniques and technologies."

For every book sold, Haynes Publishing will donate 75p to Air Ambulances UK.

To find out more about the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance service, visit