DANFORTH, Maine — An $80,000 LifeFlight helipad funded entirely by donations and built near East Grand Lake in Danforth was put into service during an inaugural ceremony — complete with a LifeFlight helicopter — on Saturday.
The helipad, located off East Grand Lake near Greenland Cove Campground, is close to ATV and snowmobile trails, so that anyone injured on the trails can quickly be taken to a hospital safely. Helicopters in the area also carry supplies of blood to treat the injured who are on their way to the larger hospitals downstate.
The helipad is just one of four located in Washington County. David Snow Jr. donated the land for the helipad, and town project coordinator Roger Rossignol led the organization in installing the helipad.
“We came up with the idea about two years ago,” Rossignol said. “I came up with the idea to design the thing, and the selectmen said ‘it’s a great project, why don’t you coordinate it?’ So I did.”
Though the helicopter does not necessarily need to land on the helipad in case of an emergency, the inclusion of the pad gives LifeFlight crews a reference point to head toward, and a place they know will be free of obstructions such as wires.
The proximity to East Grand Lake means it can also assist in water rescue missions that occur on the lake.
Rossignol helped with demonstrations given by LifeFlight pilots and EMT staff Saturday to show how the helipad would operate. Rossingnol was placed into a stretcher, which the EMT and LifeFlight crews then transported from an ambulance onto the waiting helicopter.
The ceremony also included a ribbon cutting featuring Rossignol, Danforth Town Manager Ardis Brown and other town residents. Several people stayed to watch the LifeFlight helicopter take off from the new helipad.
“I can’t begin to express what a great community that we live in,” Brown said of the helipad project. “This community really rallied behind this project and at the end of the day, we have a gorgeous helipad that would have cost approximately $80,000 that was totally funded by donations.”