HWS Celebrates Collegiate EMS Week

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hobart william smith 20111114By Hobart and William Smith New Service

The Hobart and William Smith Colleges' Emergency Medical Service recently celebrated Collegiate EMS Week, a week-long recognition and celebration of campus-based EMS that provides an annual opportunity for awareness and education in college communities.

"We have found that not many people truly understand what we do. Collegiate EMS week is an attempt to better educate the community on the service we provide as well as attract new members," says Gibson McCullagh '12, the HWS EMS chief and program founder. "Also, for the second year we have participated in national collegiate CPR awareness day, a day spent encouraging individuals to recognize an individual in cardiac arrest, make the call for help and initiate chest compressions."

During the four-day celebration, spanning from Monday, Nov. 7 to Thursday, Nov. 10, EMS educated and challenged students on their knowledge of EMS. On Monday, EMS held a CPR awareness day in which members of EMS offered students the opportunity to see equipment that the group uses in their day-to-day duties as well as to learn about the "call and push" method. On Tuesday, a slide show on the TVs in the Scandling Campus Center showed the important work that EMS does for the campus and the larger HWS community. Wednesday brought a test of the campus' knowledge as surveys in Saga challenged their familiarity with EMS factoids, giving them the opportunity to win an "I Support HWS EMS" T-shirt.

"Students who make the significant commitment to be trained as and serve as EMT's learn the truest meaning of dedication to others," explains Vice President of Student Affairs Robert Flowers. "The EMTs possess leadership skills that set them apart from nearly all other students.  The skills they gain to manage situations involving the worst of human conditions leave them extremely well suited for the realities of post-collegiate life.  Our student-EMTs have the highest admiration of all members of the HWS community."

Nearly 30 students volunteer their time to provide professional and rapid 24/7 first response emergency medical service. Currently they are accepting applications and plan to accept nearly 10 more students for the spring EMS course. Working on an entirely volunteer basis, the typical EMT works one 15-hour shift, from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. every other week. Supervisory EMTs tend to work 24 hour shifts 1-2 times a week. "While our members do not get paid, we offer a range of incentives, including gear, free training, free parking and college-store credit," says McCullagh.

Since its inception in 2008, approximately 60 students have been a part of EMS. "We have grown dramatically since we started service in 2008," says McCullagh. "We responded to 49 calls our first semester, only working Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. Now we have our own house, located at 420 Pulteney Street, wear full EMS uniforms, maintain a 1999 Jeep as our response vehicle, have a bike unit and have done 150 calls so far this semester, as we now operate 24/7 during the academic year."

As one of approximately 250 colleges nationwide with a student-run EMS organization, HWS EMS is responsible for training and educating all of their members in their methods and procedures. All of their new members go on to receive their New York State Emergency Medical Technician certification.

Featured in the photo above are Christina Hom '12, Zach Clark '14 and Mark Benya '14.

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