SWAN’S ISLAND – LifeFlight has worked on becoming more accessible for people living on some of the loosely populated islands Downeast.
For people living on islands like Swan’s Island, there is a stereotype of isolation due to its remoteness, which leads to the question of what happens if there is an emergency and island residents need to get to a hospital quickly.
That is where LifeFlight Remote Access Program comes in.
For those folks, there are emergency preparedness plans in place with first responders, fire departments or EMS personnel to use landing zones that are predesignated as part of the removal of a person who is either seriously injured or seriously ill.
And when there is an emergency, LifeFlight will send helicopters from Bangor or Lewiston to land on a helipad on Swan’s Island. Once they get there, it is just a matter of getting to the people in need.
One Swan’s Island resident knows first hand the benefits of having LifeFlight’s Remote Access Program when her son-in-law had a scary emergency at her home.
“And he just fell on the rock and his heart stopped and the ambulance and all the crew was here on the property in 11 minutes and they LifeFlighted him to Bangor that night and he’s well. And I don’t know what might have happened in that case but we were very appreciative of LifeFlight,” said Nancy Carter, a Swan’s Island resident.
According to a LifeFlight official, the Remote Access Program has transported patients from the islands in Maine 145 times in the last five years, with an average of about 30 patients per year.
Islanders say that the presence of LifeFlight and its speedy services create a sense of security for them.
“People have used it and it was absolutely necessary. And I really really appreciate the fact that LifeFlight exists for the island people. I, fortunately, have not had to use it myself but I know I would if the time came if I needed to,” said Swan’s Island Historical Society member Beverly McAloon.