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Groundbreaking ceremony highlights value of Mass. air ambulance service

Officials from several communities gathered in Fitchburg to break ground for new hangar, quarters for Air Methods Life Flight 2

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UMass Memorial LifeFlight/Facebook

By Danielle Ray
Sentinel & Enterprise

FITCHBURG, Mass. — Air Methods Life Flight 2 air ambulance program partnered with the city to host a groundbreaking event on Nov. 2 at Fitchburg Municipal Airport, showing the community the priority that is placed on emergency air services.

“Throughout the state, we’ve seen an increased need for air medical service over the past year,” stated Air Methods Regional Director Aidan O’Connor Jr. “We are grateful to be able to serve the communities of Leominster, Lunenburg, and the great City of Fitchburg and develop this partnership with the city and their beautiful airport. Partnerships like these ensure we are meeting the needs of the communities in northern Worcester County and southern New Hampshire and Vermont.”

Life Flight 2 is a community-based program providing lifesaving services 24/7 365 days a year that responds to emergency medical and trauma events including heart attacks, strokes, pediatric emergencies, burns, and other critical incidents—essentially serving as a flying emergency room and intensive care unit.

Since opening this spring, the Life Flight 2 crew not only has provided life-saving services they have also supported the community in many events and activities such as the police cadets summer program, training with local EMS/fire personnel partners, and assisting requestors whenever called upon.

“Life Flight 2’s services have been invaluable for our residents,” Mayor Stephan DiNatale said. “It’s reassuring to know that when there is an emergency, we now have a complete ecosystem of emergency medical care for our community.”

Life Flight 2 is based at Fitchburg Municipal Airport on Crawford Street, ensuring response times are rapid when dispatched. Air Methods partnered with Fitchburg earlier this year to ensure critical health care access to residents in the Twin Cities, Worcester County, and the surrounding areas.

After all the permitting activity was finished, approvals were provided to construct an aircraft hangar and living quarters for the flight crew. The anticipated completion of construction is January 2024.

The Life Flight 2 team — a crew consisting of a pilot, critical care nurse, critical care paramedic, and maintainers — all received annual state-of-the-art specialty training. Pilots are trained using Level D Full Flight Simulators, the highest fidelity flight simulator approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, representing the most sophisticated and accurate simulators used by most commercial airlines.

Clinicians receive hands-on training through Air Methods Ascend, an in-person and online training program that allows clinicians to perform at the top of their licensure, which is available to medical personnel across the country.

Equipped with industry-leading equipment and medical devices on every flight, the Life Flight 2 team carries whole blood to positively increase patient outcomes through collaborative pre-hospital care. Additionally, the team provides interfacility transport services when patients need to move between hospitals for specialized care.

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