Glassboro, NJ--Close to two dozen Rowan University students use their free time in a unique way--they stay on call to possibly save lives. Members of the Rowan University Emergency Medical Service (EMS) work like a neighborhood emergency squad, handling duties that range from transporting ill students or staff to the hospital to diabetic emergencies. In addition, the squad is on standby during soccer games, football games and university events, such as homecoming and graduation.
Currently 25 volunteers serve on the squad, 13 of whom are emergency medical technicians. The EMTs complete more than 100 hours of training, which includes classroom instruction and field experience necessary to obtain state certification, just like their neighborhood counterparts.
Rich Wadleigh, Rowan's associate director of Public Safety, serves as the EMS advisor/chief. Wadleigh, a certified EMT, is proud of the students' dedication. "They are a top bunch of people who happen to be students. Each has a service attitude, a caring attitude," he said.
Since the beginning of the semester, the squad has responded to more than 90 calls, including people with injuries, fractures and cardiac emergencies. The squad makes itself available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and duty shifts range from 12-hour weekday shifts to 24-hours weekend shifts. The squad runs an "All Call" state during the weekdays when members are in classes. Any available member can respond to a call. Every shift includes one to two EMTs and one driver, who each carry a pager. Once Rowan's Public Safety Communication Center takes a call, the members on duty receive a page to respond and to go into action.
Kedar Mahajan, of Parsippany in Morris County, serves as the squad's captain. "Seeing people after a call when I'm walking around campus and them saying thank you--that's what makes it worth it," he said.
For situations requiring advance life support, the rowan dispatcher or the EMS crew notifies Gloucester County for the paramedics, just like any municipal squad. The fact that students run the squad is well received. "I think the first time they see the squad, students and staff are surprised. After they're on campus for a short time, it seems to be just another service provided," Wadleigh stated.
Meghan Kinsing, of Buena in Atlantic County, both an EMT and driver, notes that the squad makes dealing with an emergency a little easier. "If a student is hurt, he is usually more comfortable with someone his own age helping," she said.
Mahajan notes that the uniqueness of the squad is due to the fact that the members are from different areas. "We are able to share techniques with each other and take them back to our hometown squads," he said.
Dr. Robert Fleming, of the College of Business, has served as the squad's academic advisor for more than 14 years. Fleming has an extensive background in emergency services and was recently elected as the chair of the Board of Visitors to the National Fire Academy in Emmettsburg, MD, which is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Rowan EMS has been serving the campus since1978 after students determined a need for a squad on campus and approached the administration about forming one. The Glassboro emergency medical service covers the campus when Rowan's squad is out of service.