It’s the one day of the year where many people are away from work, spending time with their loved ones at home. But for the emergency services, Christmas Day is just like any other day. Whilst Wales wakes up to magical scenes reminiscent of a festive fairy-tale, a group of hardworking dedicated individuals will be on shift in readiness to respond to emergencies across Wales. For the crews of four helicopters, Christmas Day is just another day in the big red flying office. Here are some of our crew talking about their experience of working on Christmas Day.

“I’ve worked Christmas Day many times previously. The day begins with a morning brief with the rest of the crew and then it’s down to business. We’ll generally get on with the usual day-to-day base duties which include checking and replenishing equipment, training and preparing for the phone to ring at any point. We try to make the most of Christmas Day until a call comes in. As soon as that phone rings, it’s like any other day.” Dr Ian Bowler

“When working on Christmas Day, we try to mark the occasion in some way, even if it’s just a nice cooked dinner at the airbase. We all know in the emergency services we have to work over the festive season and we plan our celebrations when we’re off. We hope it never happens but even on Christmas Day we may find ourselves in an emergency situation. Regardless of the day of the year, it is always an honour to be part of the Wales Air Ambulance and to be on standby to support the people of Wales.” Kate Owen, Critical Care Practitioner

“As would be the case every day, the priority is getting the aircraft ready for the day ahead. That will usually involve doing a fuel check, an engine wash, checking there are no event-related flying restrictions and then the crew get together for our ‘morning brief’. After that, there’s plenty to be getting on with, whether it’s answering emails, catching up on admin or keeping on top of studies. Everything stops though when that phone rings.” James Grenfell, Pilot

“Emergency work has got so very much busier over the festive period in recent years. Working on Christmas Day, there is an added poignancy to many of the jobs and a tendency for some of them to stick with you. I am grateful to colleagues who are working and hope very much that everyone finds some time over the holiday season to do and enjoy the things that are important to them.” Greg Browning, Critical Care Hub Manager