Student emergency service answers campus calls

on .

By Ron Medvescek Arizona Daily Star

The University of Arizona is home to more than five dozen first responders who answer calls for help on campus .

From their squad room in the basement of Kaibab Residence Hall, UA’s University Emergency Medical Service responds to more than 600 emergency calls during the school year, assisting students, staff and visitors who are injured or need medical services.

The UEMS staff consists of three chiefs, three captains and more than 50 emergency medical technicians and first responders. All of them are undergraduates.

They work six- or 12-hour shifts, staffing 24/7 during the school year with breaks on holidays and over the summer.

“As EMTs we operate at the BLS level (basic life support), same as Southwest Ambulance and the majority of the Tucson Fire Department,” said Executive Chief Zach Saxman.

Tucson Fire dispatches paramedics who are certified in advanced life support. UEMS squads are dispatched by UA Police and respond simultaneously to campus 911 calls .

In the fall, the service equipped a Chevrolet Suburban with emergency lights and sirens, but it’s awaiting state authorization to use them while headed to “Code 3” emergency calls.

The squads also use customized golf carts to cover special events around campus such as the Tucson Festival of Books, Spring Fling and graduation ceremonies.

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