LifeFlight of Maine Celebrates Opening of Connected Learning & Simulation Labs Made Possible By Gift from Bangor Savings Bank Foundation 

Bangor-Auburn-Sanford, Maine (July 13th, 2022) –In emergency medicine, every second counts. Hands-on, critical care training can mean the difference between life and death for a patient. 

On Tuesday, July 12th, at 4pm, simultaneous ribbon cuttings at LifeFlight of Maine’s bases in Bangor, Lewiston-Auburn, and Sanford signaled the official opening of the new Bangor Savings Bank Simulation & Learning Labs. The labs create an important opportunity for LifeFlight to strengthen its clinical education program which supports internal training as well as training for hospitals, emergency medical services, and public safety agencies across the state. 

“LifeFlight and its crew make a life-saving impact every day by connecting our rural communities to critical care services allowing us to fully live and play safely in Maine,” said Bob Montgomery-Rice, President and CEO of Bangor Savings Bank. “We’re proud to award this grant to LifeFlight to establish these premiere simulation labs, which provide top training and experiential learning for these incredible and highly-specialized first responders.” 

While simulation training has been integral to LifeFlight’s education programming for years, previous iterations were largely mobile, making it challenging to meet the training demands of LifeFlight crew and healthcare partners spread across our large, rural state; this was increasingly difficult during a pandemic. 

The generous $250,000 grant from the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation makes a significant impact in critical care education in Maine. The funds enabled LifeFlight to build dedicated teaching labs at all three bases, providing access to critical care education and learning, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

“Rather than bring our team to intermittent training around the state, this transformational gift allows us to bring the training to the team, and to make it available to them 24/7/365,” remarked Tom Judge, the founder and Executive Director of LifeFlight of Maine.

“We often say when faced with a crisis, we don’t rise to the level of our education, we fall to the level of our training. Medical personnel have a lot of classes but until we train, we’re not prepared to perform. Here, they can repeatedly perform a skill so they can get it right every time,” said Steve Babin, Senior Clinical Educator for LifeFlight. “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” 

Each Bangor Savings Bank Simulation & Learning Lab includes a full complement of medical equipment that is designed to look like an Emergency Department; a control room that allows educators to produce high quality, real life patient care scenarios while reducing distractions to the medical team practicing; and audio/video technology allowing the medical crew and proctor to review detailed recordings and critique patient care practices. The three labs are connected via technology that enables LifeFlight crew and external partners in various locations to simultaneously participate in training sessions. 

The Bangor Savings Bank Foundation’s generous leadership grant also funded state-of-the-art simulation packages at each lab – a high-fidelity adult, pediatric and neonatal manikin and the technology that controls each one. “Hal” and “Pediatric Hal” become life-like patients under the skillful control of a LifeFlight simulation educator for advanced critical care training. This hands-on teaching allows educators and students to engage in realistic and immersive patient care experiences, similar to what they would encounter in a helicopter, hospital or other EMS setting. The simulation recording platform captures live video, audio, and vital sign monitoring data so medical providers and proctors can debrief a simulation and conduct a real-time review of how various interventions affect patient care. 

This generous support from the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation will greatly impact and enhance the skill set of providers across Maine, improving critical care outcomes , but ultimately, LifeFlight measures success one life at a time. This grant will help make many more birthdays, graduations, weddings and anniversaries possible for Mainers who might otherwise not have had a second chance.