'Party Paramedics' Protect Colorado Students

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Daily Camera (Boulder, Colorado)

Daily Camera (Boulder, Colorado)

For many in the University of Colorado's Greek community, Student Emergency Medical Services are an absolute staple.

"I will not allow the brothers to have a party unless SEMS is present," said Kenny Dayley, CU senior and president of Theta Xi fraternity, which raised more than $150 for the organization over the weekend at a fundraiser with Whichwich.

"When you have 300 people at your house and for all you know they took a bunch of drugs and alcohol before they showed up, it's just as important as having a bouncer present at the door. And I will cancel the party on the spot if they aren't there," Dayley said.

Founded in the Fall of 2004 after the alcohol-poisoning death of CU freshman Lynn "Gordie" Bailey Jr., SEMS is a student-run organization that assigns medically-trained and -certified students to provide free, on-site medical support to CU students at parties, athletic competitions, and other on- or off-campus events.

"It's a great idea for students looking to protect each other," said Cmdr. Brad Wiesley of CU Police. "Our officers have encountered [SEMS] folks at different places and they have been beneficial. It's good to have somebody there medical training to make an assessment."

"We see hundreds of students over the course of a year, but out of those hundreds there are usually three to four on extreme ends that needed immediate attention," said Milton Lerman, CU senior and president of SEMS. "There is no doubt in my mind that we've saved at least three or four people that, if our EMTs had not been around, they may not have woken up."

According to Milton Lerman, CU senior and president of SEMS, over 200 students are currently involved in the program. The majority of these students fulfill their role through educational efforts, from training other students to be CPR- and First Aid-certified to teaching alcohol awareness at local high schools. Lerman said that there are about 60 students who have actually been through the training to become licensed Emergency Medical Technicians.

"They go through state training and are state-certified," said Lerman. "They also receive more specific training on alcohol intoxication, because we deal with that at just about every event we're at."

A typical night for the student EMTs usually involves showing up to the event early, laying low in a designated area so event coordinators know where to find them, and doing brief safety sweeps of the party every 30 to 45 minutes.

According to Dayley, not only does utilizing SEMS help keep the party safe, it also helps keep calls to the authorities to a minimum.

"It creates a safety net, for not only my brothers, but for guests at our parties," said Dayley. "From someone slipping and hitting their head to too much alcohol, I have somebody there that can provide medical services for the circumstance instead of waiting for 911 to show up -- or unnecessarily calling them in the first place."

Adding that anyone who chooses to throw a party without consulting SEMS is "a certified idiot," Dayley stated that he intends to put requiring their presence at Greek events into Interfraternity Council legislation in January.

To learn more about SEMS, how to get involved, or to acquire their services for an event, visit their Web site at www.semsboulder.org or contact them at SEMS@colorado.edu

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