The Daily Illini Online
Paramedics win both first and second place at EMS conference
by Marc Dadigan
Daily Illini reporter
Members of Illini Emergency Medical Services originally joined their group to save lives — taking home trophies was just an unexpected perk.
Illini Emergency Medical Services won first and second place overall in the skills competition at the seventh annual EMS conference at the University of Delaware last weekend. The IEMS is a group of students who are trained in CPR and other emergency medical skills. The group primarily works campus and public events and was instrumental in saving the life of a fan who went into full cardiac arrest at a November football game.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays the group listens to guest speakers who lecture on EMS topics. The students gather all day Saturdays to experience hands-on training with dummies and real patients.
“Our team was very well prepared,” said Jen Wilhelm, sophomore in applied life studies. “Our class is much more intense than others in the area.”
The conference, sponsored by the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation, was created to promote interaction among campus EMS programs and spread the latest developments in the field.
The skills competition of the conference tested 17 different schools in three areas: trauma assessment, airway management and spineboarding. In addition to the top two overall spots, the Illini also won first place in spineboarding.
The trauma assessment test required a team to examine a badly beaten dummy and identify its injuries. Another dummy had to be treated for a blocked air passage in the airway management competition. Spineboarding — the most difficult of the competitions — involved securing a patient in a stretcher without moving the head or neck.
The conference also provided a chance for ride-alongs with Delaware paramedics as well as lectures including one addressing the response to the Texas A&M bonfire disaster.
The main purpose, however, was the reception that allowed attendees to exchange information with the other EMS organizations. Elizabeth Dickson, the IEMS press representative and junior in LAS, said she learned a lot from the other conference-goers.
“They do a lot more with dorm room situations, doing things on a more interactive level,” she said.
Steve Zils, IEMS vice president of operations, organized the purchase of seven Automated External Defibrillators that were paramount in the November rescue. The conference organizers named Zils, senior in commerce, the Collegiate EMS Provider of the Year.
“Our EMS is really special,” said Jou. “After I took it last spring, I went to get a job up north by Wisconsin, and they all ready knew about this class. They were ready to hire me just based on being in the program.”