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September 28, 2018

LifeFlight of Maine a step closer to replacing aging helicopters

Courtesy / LifeFlight of Maine
Courtesy / LifeFlight of Maine
LifeFlight of Maine, an air medical and critical care transport organization that provides critical life-saving care to Mainers from every part of the state, is looking to replace its two older helicopters that have been in use for 14 years. It’s now raising $8 million of the $13 million replacement cost.

Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution has donated $10,000 to LifeFlight of Maine in support of the emergency transport nonprofit's fundraising campaign to purchase two new helicopters.

The air medical and critical care transport organization, which provides critical life-saving care to Mainers from every part of the state, is looking to replace its two older helicopters that have been in use for 14 years. It's now raising $8 million of the $13 million cost of replacing the helicopters. In August the campaign got a significant boost from the Islesboro Crossing for LifeFlight, a three-mile swim from Northport to Islesboro by 150 swimmers who raised more than $500,000 to help purchase the helicopters, according to a LifeFlight news release.

LifeFlight of Maine, with bases in Bangor, Lewiston and Sanford, started in 1998 when Maine was the only state without an air rescue and critical care transport service. Overseen by 25 physicians, the organization cared for more than 2,100 critically ill and injured patients last year and, since its inception, transported more than 25,000 patients from every hospital and nearly all of Maine's communities and islands.

The new helicopters will help LifeFlight transport more patients at a faster rate, with increased capacity and speed, according to a Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution news release.

"Saco and Biddeford Savings appreciates LifeFlight and their mission to ensure all Mainers have access to immediate critical care when facing an emergency. You never know when you may need their service, but access to it has the potential to be life-saving," said Bob Quentin, president and CEO of Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution.

‘Next-gen’ helicopters

The new helicopters will include the latest safety and aeronautic technology available, featuring a larger cabin with an increased weight capacity and a higher speed range, all while using the same amount of fuel as the smaller aircraft.

The helicopters are also made of composite materials, which will require less maintenance.

"With three helicopters, airplane and dedicated ground ambulance partners, LifeFlight crisscrosses the state every day, providing advanced emergency care and transport to Maine's sickest patients," said LifeFlight of Maine Executive Director Thomas Judge. "After millions of miles and many years of hard service, it's time for us to replace our two oldest helicopters to ensure that we can continue to meet the needs of critically ill and injured patients in the future. The support shown by Saco and Biddeford Savings with this generous contribution will help our organization move closer to acquiring new helicopters."

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