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(NECN: Katelyn Tivnan)- Lifeflight is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month. Lifeflight was New England's first hospital-based air ambulance and has transported more than 20,000 patients.
Lifeflight travels at 2,000 feet above the ground, at speeds of around 125 mph, and can be credited with saving thousands of lives.
The first of its kind in New England in 1982, Lifeflight is like a traveling emergency room, equipped with everything from defibrillators to an EKG machine. The team onboard, however, is the most important part.
UMass Memorial’s Lifeflight is responsible for transporting more than 27,000 patients in the region over the past 30 years.
The ground communication center uses technology to coordinate flights, track weather conditions and monitor travel in real time.
Once in the air, it’s up to pilots to bring patients back safely.
The decision to respond to calls is based on risk factors, including weather.
Pilots are given a patient’s location but are not told the type of emergency they are being asked to respond to, in order to ensure that pilots are basing their decision on safety, not circumstance.
Once pilots are airborne, they find out what the flight is for.
Thirty years later, Lifeflight remains dedicated to providing life-changing care to patients across the region.
Operators say they have actually seen an uptick in request calls for the Lifeflight over the summer. The hospital says it is, of course, a very important tool for the entire region because it provides for people who need immediate care at the most critical times.