By: BRIAN HONIGMAN
For The Pitt News
After months of work, the Student Emergency Medical Services held their first meeting last night.
With the ultimate goal of creating a trained student team of EMTs available 24/7 and able to assist in the pre-hospital emergency care of the Pitt community, the group's main purpose is to educate others in the area of Emergency Medical Services.
An EMT is an emergency medical technician trained to respond to the critically injured and ill. They play a supportive role prior to other trained medical official assisting the victim.
The meeting attracted over 40 students - some with experience and others beginners in the field of Emergency Medical Service.
The group is looking to recruit members to help reduce injuries and fatalities in and around the area.
SEMS at Pitt is led by sophomore Chris Dilger and freshman Erik Muhlenhaupt. Both have multiple years of training in emergency medical services, which they hope will help them lead less-experienced students as they join the organization.
Started from the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation, which was founded in 1993 as a non-profit organization, Pitt will eventually be one of the approximately 222 collegiate EMS groups that have complete student emergency medical services on campus.
The organization promotes and assists with the creation of EMS services on campuses across the country.
The goal of SEMS is "to provide pre-hospital education to our members and pre-hospital education and awareness to the students, faculty and staff of the University of Pittsburgh," said Dilger, quoting from the group's mission statement.
SEMS plans to host classes in First Aid and CPR education and possible certification. Dilger and Muhlenhaupt hope to have the group's own fully equipped Basic Life Support Quick Response Service by September 2008.
"A BLS QRS would be certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the service provides most of the equipment found on an ambulance but does not transport," Dilger said. "We would begin to treat the patient until the City of Pittsburgh medics arrived."
The team would be able to respond prior to city EMTs and offer assistance until the city's EMTs and the Pitt police could arrive on the scene.
"I think it will promote a heightened sense of health and safety on campus," Dilger said. "Right now the Pitt Police do a good job responding to medical emergencies, but they only provide basic first aid; I think it's time we take it to the next level, and there are students with a lot of experience who are willing to volunteer their time to help others; and that's really what this is about."
SEMS is currently looking for more money through fundraising activities and donations.
Any Pitt student is welcome to apply and SEMS hopes to have a functioning service, which requires at least 25 active members and can accommodate up to 80.