New England Air Alliance Safety Symposium

LifeFlight of Maine is proud to host the 2016 New England Air Alliance Safety Symposium in Portland, Maine on October 17th and 18th.  This year's theme focuses on balancing the needs of safety and performance in the high-consequence environment of air medicine, ground transport and patient care.

Join air medical crew, EMS personnel, hospital and safety leaders, communications specialists, pilots and maintenance personnel as we come together to network and to seek ways to foster safer operations and a safety-focused culture. The Symposium brings together an exceptional group of presenters to share thought-provoking ideas and actions that individuals and services can consider to improve their operational safety.

Registration for the Symposium is free of charge with support and funding provided through LifeFlight of Maine. The Safety Symposium begins at 11:00 am on Monday (10/17) and ends on Tuesday at 1:00 pm. It will be held at the Dana Conference Center at Maine Medical Center, 68 Bramhall Street in Portland, Maine. Please RSVP your attendance to LifeFlight of Maine Administrative Office 207-275-2961 or



1100 - 1115: Welcome and Introduction

1115 – 1215: Hospital Heliport Accident Prevention
Rex Alexander, former President of NEMSPA and an expert on helipads, marking and lighting, NVG ops, etc.. Is your hospital heliport a disaster
waiting to happen?  This forum will review lessons learned from past hospital heliport accidents and what you can do to prevent them from occurring at your facility.  Discussion topics include; basic
terminology, applicable regulations and codes, airspace protection, accident statistics, dangerous practices, high risk environments and liability exposures.
1115 – 1215: Meteorology Explained
Chris Legro, National Weather Service Aviation Meteorologist
Everyone has a questions about weather – Why is it foggy here? How do high and low pressure get created? Turbulence? What makes cold and warm fronts? How do clouds give you clues? Join a NWS meteorologist to learn more about the intricacies of weather, the challenges of forecasting and the effects of weather on aviation and travel. 
1225 – 1325: Cave Man at Work
Liz Maynard, SevenBar Safety Pilot, LifeFlight of Maine Captain
Emotion is critical for decision making: without it we cannot not make choices.  Yet, while on the one hand, our remarkable cognitive abilities have produced huge advances in technology and changes to our environment, on the other, our emotions are still those of cavemen.  Emotionally we are wild.  This presentation explores how our stone-age emotions influence and bias the decision-making process, and the essential role emotions perform.
1335 – 1435: Eyes On The (Wrong) Prize
Michael Frakes, APRN, EMT-P, Director, Clinical Care and Organizational Quality, Boston Med Flight
Every critical care transport organization claims that safety is their top priority, and leading organizations in the community have adopted the Just Culture framework for approaching human acts and errors in a way that optimizes their safety culture.  Unfortunately, the goals of safety and a Just Culture fall short of truly minimizing risk to critical care transport providers and patients.  Attend this program to start thinking about how we can improve our organizations and outcomes by aspiring to the real finish lines. 
1445 – 1545: Crew Resource Management
Sam Schaab, CFRN, Base Manager, LifeFlight of Maine
Panel presentation on improving awareness of pilot / air crew roles, responsibilities and communication.
followed by an audience forum highlighting lessons learned from experience, use of checklists, etc.
1600 – 1715: The Haves & Will Haves
Jon Tierney, FP-C, IFMGA Mountain Guide, LifeFlight of Maine Safety Officer
It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when... Every organizational team dreads the day when an accident happens to their program. Using a real accident that occurred in a highly reliable mountaineering organization, the presenter will draw connections to the principles of Just Culture and EMS aviation applications. Despite having gone two decades without a serious accident it finally happened. Despite all the safeguards we believe we have, accidents can and will happen. Does this mean we are any less safe or should do things differently? Was it organizational, training or employee failure? In this session the presenter will reflect on how quickly a day can turn tragic and offer suggestions about what you can do to be better prepared when your number comes up.
1725 – 1800: Making the Case for Muscle Memory
Rick Kenin, ATP, MPA - General Manager of Aviation Operations, Boston Med Flight
Explore the linkage between proficient piloting skills, executing proper emergency procedures under stress and the concept known as ‘muscle memory.’  We will discuss the process required to build muscle memory and its application in a real world emergency situation.
1800 – 1900: Generative Culture – Case Studies in Accountability
Thomas Judge, EMT-P, Executive Director, LifeFlight of Maine
Just Culture is an essential component of the culture ladder in safety sensitive high consequence industries.  Many organizations have embraced the theory but inpractice is variable.  Review case studies to examine risk, error, and lessons learned in the journey to a just and accountable culture.               

0945 – 1045: Personal Risk Assessment: How are you vulnerable?
Joe Coons, LifeFlight Eagle Director of Safety
Are you a risk taker? Invincible? The Anti-Authority type perhaps? Whether we like to admit it or not, each of us takes risks in our own way.  each participant will undertake a personal risk assessment, which facilitates a deep look inside yourself to discover your own vulnerabilities to risk, and how to overcome them. You'll be able to take these same assessments back to your own programs to allow everyone to examine their own risk factors, and perhaps to open new doors to conversation about how to improve safety as a program.
1055 – 1155: EMERG and Patient Safety
Matt Wombie, paramedic and former hospital administrator who is leading the development of the Emergency Medical Error Reduction Group (EMERG) Patient Safety Organization (PSO)
Quality of care, patient safety, near-misses, violence against practitioners, line of duty deaths and provider suicides are all "hot topics" in EMS right now. Unfortunately many states do not provide adequate confidentiality or peer review protections for EMS agencies’ quality improvement or risk identification and reduction activities. So how is an EMS agency supposed to learn and reduce legal risk in a safe and protected space? One avenue is through the use of a Patient Safety Organization (PSO). This informative and cutting-edge session will introduce participants to the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act and how participation in a PSO can improve quality of care and reduce the frequency of adverse events. Come learn how your agency can get ahead of the curve, use information to drive improvement, and not let this vital information be used against you.
1205 – 1300: The Aftermath
Rob Hendrickson – FAA Accident Investigator
Explore the process of post accident investigation to gain greater insights into accident prevention in aviation and expand these lessons to all form of EMS transport. 

Off Campus Presentations on Tuesday morning
0630 – 0815: Sunrise Session - Land Navigation Skills
Jon Tierney, FP-C, IFMGA Mountain Guide, LifeFlight of Maine Safety Officer
If you have ever had to bush whack to a patient you understand to need for this session. Get up early for this session. Using an increasingly challenging set of exercises participants will learn or review the nuances of basic map and compass use including terrain recognition, orienting a map, accounting for declination, taking and following a bearing, and locating where you are when you don’t really know. This will meet in  Deering Oaks Park, just a few blocks northeast of the hospital. 
0830 – 0930: Overview of Helicopter Short Haul
John Crowley, Chief Pilot Maine Forest Service
This program will highlight the recently launched Human External Load program by the Maine Forest Service utilizing short haul techniques to extricate patients from remote areas of Maine. This will meet at Portland Jetport FBO (Northeast Air).

For a pdf copy of the event brochure, click here.