BY ANNE MARIE MULLEN
GW’s EMeRG, the student-run Emergency Medical Response Group, is applying to the D.C. Health Department for its own ambulance, said Scooter Slade, a recent graduate and member of EMeRG for four years.
“The ambulance is a very exciting prospect and will definitely add a lot to the organization,” said rising senior David Rand, who is one of EMeRG’s two student supervisors.
EMeRG gets funding primarily from the Student Association and for providing stand-by medical services for special events at the Smith Center, such as basketball games and various other sports events.
EMeRG technicians currently use specially-equipped Trek mountain bikes.
The bikes carry almost everything a regular ambulance carries, including defibrillators which are used to restart the heart, and glucometers, used to measure blood-sugar levels, Rand said.
He said Georgetown University’s EMeRG has an ambulance, which has proven to be successful and he said he believes the vehicle will assist them as well.
“We’re very fortunate to have an organization like this on campus,” said Tony Vecchione, the assistant athletic director.
Since its inception, the program has emerged as one of the most effective student-run medical emergency organizations in the nation, bringing relief to students and faculty in need of medical emergency assistance, said Rand, who has been a member for three years.
“[EMeRG] is a great asset to the University,” Rand said. “It provides a chance to give to the community. To learn about people and see them in great stress can be difficult but it can also be very gratifying to be able to help them.”
Every member of the EMeRG program is a GW student and EMT certified, Rand said. In addition, all members must go through two to three days of training, referred to as “the Academy.”
EmeRG receives calls from the University Police Department. UPD then dispatches to EMeRG.
Members are trained to provide a number of medical procedures, including oxygen administration, emergency child birth, defibrillation, assessment of blood pressure, splinting of skeletal injuries, spinal immobilazation, hemorrhage control and CPR.
“EMeRG provides comprehensive care equal or more advanced than many D.C. Fire and EMS units,” Rand said.
EMeRG operates out of a two-room office in the Marvin Center garage. Although the office is small, it is fully equipped with Trek bicycles, helmets, beepers, dispatch radios, all of their medical supplies and a bunk bed for those who work the night shift, members said.
“If it were not for them we would have to contract out another emergency service,” Vechione said. “They are excellent, always there, always very professional, and always pleasant to work with.”
Members said the organization has evolved since in its four years of existence. Two or three years ago students weren’t familiar with EMeRG, but students are now becoming more aware of their presence on campus, Rand said.
“We have very strong membership,” Rand said. “We’ve built up a relationship with the Park Service and the D.C. Department of Health.”
The program has two University advisers, Dr. Ray Lucas, the medical director, and Wanda Herbel, the faculty advisor who is also a nurse and parametic for the GW’s Emergency Medical Department.
EMeRG will provide emergency medical services for Fourth of July events on the Mall and for concerts such as the Dave Matthews Band at RFK Stadium this summer.
EMeRG operates from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and on some days from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m.
“Being in service 24 hours a day is definitely our goal,” Rand said.