Students are leaping into action to help peers in need next semester, with the launch of a student-staffed Emergency Medical Service, according to student organizers.
Emergency Medical Technician-certified students will work alongside Campus Safety to provide immediate medical care in medical emergencies until paramedics or other first responders arrive, according to Campus Safety director Stan Skipworth.
The student EMS service — which will debut early in the spring 2020 semester — will provide first aid and medical care on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, Skipworth said.
“The purpose of the program is to provide an additional resource for initial first aid during key time frames when special events and other activities are frequently scheduled,” he said.
Student EMTs will be assigned shifts, work with a partner and be supervised by a Campus Safety Officer and Campus Safety Supervisor, according to Skipworth. EMTs will work for Campus Safety and be paid, Skipworth said.
“The Campus Safety Officer will respond with the Student EMT team to a medical aid call and together assess, triage and care for the student as well as coordinate additional medical [aid] such as paramedics or ambulance services,” he said in an email.
Skipworth said this program will improve the way Campus Safety responds to medical calls.
“The opportunity to provide more timely patient aid while maximizing skill sets (student EMTs focus on the patient care while the Campus Safety Officer can investigate the circumstances of the injury or illness) is in the best interest of our students,” he said via email.
Ryan Ferdowsian PZ ’20 and Emma Finn CM ’21, certified EMTs who proposed the program, said the service can act as a bridge between students, Campus Safety and third-party EMS services.
“As students who are health professionals,” Ferdowsian said, “we can advise students … and give our input to third party EMS and express the patient’s concerns in a professional way.”
Finn emphasized that student EMTs can have more personal connections with the peers they’ll be helping.
“While third party ambulances are amazing, they don’t know the students on a personal level like
we would,” she said.
One of the most important goals for the service is rapid response, according to Ferdowsian. Like Campus Safety, they plan to station EMTs at major events, go on patrol with officers and be available for dispatch.
Ferdowsian and Finn said the program will likely be especially helpful with alcohol- and drug-related emergencies. Skipworth said 74 percent of students were transported to a hospital so far this school year after an alcohol- or drug-related medical aid call to Campus Safety — up from 68 percent last year.
Ferdowsian said the student EMS service may be able to make sure that the student’s condition doesn’t worsen if they refuse to go to a hospital.
“As EMTs, we can look at vital signs and we can look at breathing, respiration and heart rate to look for deteriorations,” he said. “And then, if needed, we can provide immediate intervention and call dispatch to call 911.”
Finn and Ferdowsian started planning the student EMS service last school year and received approval for the program from the Student Deans Council in mid-November, they said.
When Finn transferred to CMC last year, she was surprised the 5Cs didn’t already have a student EMS service, as many other colleges do. Finn and Ferdowsian talked to other colleges with EMS services while planning the program, including UCLA, Colorado College and Loyola Marymount University.
The two students said they will launch applications for students soon and hope to have the service running by the first weekend of the spring semester.
The student EMS service will be separate from the EMT Certification Club, which helps students study for their EMT exams and get certified as EMTs.
Susie Fang, the pre-health professions adviser and faculty adviser of the EMT Certification Club, said the student EMS service will provide an opportunity for EMT-certified students to gain experience with medical emergencies while helping fellow students.
“There’s a lot of pre-health students; I think it would be a great opportunity for them to give back to their college communities,” she said. “They know the culture, so they know what goes on and to be that first response, at least until the medical professionals came, would be a great opportunity for them.”