MID COAST-PARKVIEW HEALTH President and CEO Lois Skillings addresses the crowd at the Paramedic Interceptor Service’s 20th anniversary celebration at Harpswell Emergency Services Building on Wednesday.

MID COAST-PARKVIEW HEALTH President and CEO Lois Skillings addresses the crowd at the Paramedic Interceptor Service’s 20th anniversary celebration at Harpswell Emergency Services Building on Wednesday.

HARPSWELL

Mid Coast Hospital celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Paramedic Interceptor Service with a small gathering at Harpswell’s Emergency Services Building on Wednesday.

The interceptor service provides trained paramedics to help aid Emergency Medical Technicians in Harpswell, Phippsburg and Georgetown. Five years ago, the hospital extended its interceptor service to Harpswell full time. The program provides 24/7 paramedic support to Harpswell, while still serving the other towns as needed. Paramedics use vehicles called fly cars to reach their destination.

“This service was started to support all of our local volunteer EMTs in the region,” said MCH President and CEO Lois Skillings. “The paramedics are here to back them up.”

Skillings said the interceptor service delivers professional assistance to those in need within the first 30 minutes of an accident, essentially “bringing the ER to the roadside.”

“We serve about 600 people a year, and that doesn’t sound like a lot until you’re the 599th person with a heart attack,” said Skillings. “It’s really not about the numbers. It’s about the people and the lives that have been saved.”

Georgetown Fire Chief Justin LoDolce said that the interceptor service makes his job a lot easier, as he can count on experienced professionals to arrive promptly each time there is an emergency call.

“Being by yourself with a patient in respiratory failure really emphasizes the importance of paramedic skills,” said LoDolce. “Ventilating a patient, clearing an airway. Having a resource like this available, knowing not only are you getting a paramedic with advanced skills but also an experienced paramedic, is very important. I have a lot of EMTs come up to me afterward, and they can’t express enough gratitude for having the fly car there. When it’s just you and a couple of people in the middle of nowhere, having that level of experience and ability can bail you out of a lot of tricky situations.”

Kip Newell, a full-time Bath firefighter, volunteers as a paramedic for the interceptor service in Harpswell and Phippsburg as needed. He said volunteers are an important part of the first responder system, whether they be EMTs or paramedics.

“Volunteers are a huge deal for all of these little towns,” said Newell. “I’m a full-time fireman, but like all the fulltime firemen around here, we volunteer in other towns. It’s what keeps these towns going. We scratch each others’ backs when we can.”

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