BU's Harpur's Ferry EMTs help school achieve national acclaim

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By Matt Porter, WBNG Channel 12 Action News

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Binghamton University senior Tristan Devine has been an EMT since high school and working closely to save lives has put him on the path to becoming a physician.

"I think it's made me very interested in emergency medicine," Devine said.

As chief of the Harpur's Ferry ambulatory service, his crew of more than 80 volunteers runs a 24-hour emergency service responding to 99 percent of calls on campus.

"They forgo hanging out with friends on the weekend, and they use that time to dedicate it to the agency," he said.

This year, the service became one of six colleges with a HEARTSafe accreditation given by the National Collegiate EMS Foundation and American Heart Association.

The title is awarded to schools providing large scale CPR training and access to devices known as AEDs which can be used to help restart a stopped heart.

BU HEARTSafe coordinator and senior Brandon Azoulai said the service has been committed to finding ways to make response time to a crisis as short as possible.

"If you look at the survival rate for cardiac arrest victims, the most important thing is immediate CPR and getting defibrillation to that patient as soon as possible," Azoulai said.

Azoulai said an AED is available within three minutes walking from any location on campus.

An AED uses automated voice instructions and can be operated by almost anyone.

"Every second counts when someone's heart is stopped, and having the AED that close is what it takes to bring someone back to life," Azoulai said.

For Devine who spends as much time at the Harpur's Ferry garage as he does in class, he said the job is more than just work.

"When you have the chance to respond to a call where you can actually see an improvement in the patient within the 20 minutes you're with them," Devine said, "It makes you feel fantastic."

This year, Harpur's Ferry organized an event on campus providing CPR training to 1,100 students.

HEARTSafe requires 1 percent of the campus community be trained in CPR. At Binghamton University, 5 percent are already trained including all police officers.

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