By Geoff Cantrell
Western Carolina University News
For the third straight year, student emergency medical services at Western Carolina University has received “Striving for Excellence” honors, as well as an “EMS Ready Campus” award, for its training and preparedness in mass causality situations.
The recognition came during the National Collegiate EMS Foundation 26th annual conference, held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. WCU also received a “Heart Safe Campus” designation for overall capabilities to react to cardiac response situations and a special achievement certificate for 50 years of continuous service.
Founded in 1993, the foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to the advancement and support of campus-based emergency medical services. It serves as an umbrella group for more than 250 constituent member colleges and universities that provide these services.
“The awards and designation as a ‘Heart Safe Campus’ reflect the hard work, dedication and care that each one of the team members demonstrates daily,” said Pam Buchanan, university health services director. “The safety and well-being of everyone on campus gains from their service.”
WCU EMS is a basic life support service licensed by the state and operating in affiliation with Harris Regional Hospital’s EMS to provide 911 emergency response to the campus community.
“We are constantly working to ensure our agency is the best it can be, because when someone calls for help, they expect the best to show up,” said Madison Benton, WCU EMS chief. “I am very proud of these awards because they reflect the steps that we have taken over the past three years to better our agency and community, as well as recognize the dedication of some individuals who have put in the hard work to have WCU EMS recognized on a national level. All of our employees, past and present, also should be recognized by this campus community for their commitment to serving others, their passion to educate the community and their care for their fellow students. I could not ask for a better group of people to work with.”
Many of the 22 students involved with WCU EMS are enrolled in the university’s Emergency Medical Care Program.