LifeFlight Lands on Campus at Bates College for Public Safety Awareness Day

It was sunny and unseasonably warm for a Saturday morning in February when LifeFlight landed a helicopter on campus at Bates College. When flight paramedic and Bates alumna Jillian Sheltra (class of 2019) stepped out of the aircraft, more than one hundred students, faculty, staff, first responders, and members of the community cheered.

Bates invited LifeFlight to its Public Safety Awareness Day on February 10, 2024. Sheltra and rotor wing captain Andrew John landed the helicopter in front of the Commons, the student center and dining hall on campus. The characteristically inquisitive and thoughtful Bates students, having recently begun their spring semester, kept the LifeFlight crew on its toes with questions about medical protocols, equipment, and procedures, weight and balance and why it matters in helicopter aviation, and LifeFlight’s role in the EMS system in Maine. The crew spent more than an hour on the ground answering questions and offering tours of the aircraft and equipment onboard.

Flight paramedic and Bates alumna Jillian Sheltra answers questions from Bates students.

The event was organized by the Public Safety team at Bates, which is comprised of both full-time staff and student volunteers, many of whom are trained emergency medical technicians (EMTs). “What an exciting day it was when LifeFlight of Maine landed at Bates College during our Public Safety Awareness Day,” Mark Cayer, community engagement supervisor for Bates Campus Safety and one of the event’s organizers, said. “The flight crew engaged with students, faculty, and staff while welcoming everyone to see the helicopter up close. This is surely a day our students will remember for a long time.” LifeFlight participated along with members of the Lewiston Police Department, Lewiston Fire Department, United Ambulance, and Maine State Police.

After the helicopter repositioned to its usual location on the helipad of Central Maine Medical Center, Sheltra stayed to have lunch with students. She explained how she managed to earn her paramedic license while a full-time student at Bates. She answered questions about her experience at LifeFlight and other EMS services, and she discussed how to become a paramedic, what the job is like, and why Bates students should consider a career in emergency medicine.