DeSales Students Establish Emergency Medical Service Squad

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Press Release

Students from DeSales University established the DeSales Emergency Medical Service (EMS), a Pennsylvania Department of Health certified Quick Response Service. Initiated in fall 2007, the emergency medical service is completely run by DeSales students, who are State Certified Emergency Medical Technicians-Basic (EMT-B's). The students include 10 Emergency Medical Technicians, one First Responder, and one Paramedic/ EMT-P, an advanced level of an EMT-B.

"Having the DeSales Emergency Medical Service / Quick Response Team squad is extremely worthwhile because we now have trained students who are EMTs on-duty and on-campus around the clock 24 hours a day," states Karen Tempinski, assistant chief of police and investigator at DeSales University. "The DeSales EMS does a phenomenal job."

The DeSales EMS squad is a member of the National Collegiate EMS Foundation (NCEMSF), the organization that supports all college EMS agencies. Although other higher education institutions in the Lehigh Valley have college-based EMS agencies, only DeSales and Kutztown universities have EMS agencies that are completely integrated into the local Public Service Answering Point (PSAP). By being integrated in PSAP, the DeSales EMS squad is directly dispatched by the Lehigh County 911 dispatchers.

Ryan Hay, of Bethlehem, Pa., a DeSales junior majoring in political science, serves as the EMS director at DeSales.

"If someone calls 911, we are sent out immediately resulting in a much quicker and more efficient dispatch, along with a shorter time between the 911 calls and treatment," says Hay. "At the scene, we provide initial patient care and when the ambulance arrives, we serve in a support capacity."

In fall 2007, Hay and Mark Ubbens '11, a physician assistant major from Broadheadsville, Pa., who serves as captain of the DeSales EMS squad, approached DeSales Police Chief Vincent Berkes about starting a student EMS. Hay, Ubbens, and their fellow students created drafts of standard operating guidelines and met with the state, county, and medical directors to discuss them and have them approved. In May 2008, under the guidance of Chief Berkes and the support of Rev Bernard O'Connor, president of DeSales, the student -run EMS squad was formed.

In addition to Hay and Ubbens, the DeSales EMS squad members include: Tim Dounaghy, accelerated nursing major from Broadheadsville, Pa.; Megan Hinkle '12, physician assistant major from Leesport, Pa.; Amelia Kalucki '11, nursing major from Holmdel, N.J.; James Kish '09, nursing major from Coplay, Pa.; Kristina Klein '11, biology major from Brackney, Pa.; Richard Malo'10, nursing major from Fitchburg, Pa.; Dana Moore '11, physician assistant and biology major from Pottsville, Pa.; Christopher Peterson '12, nursing major from Mahopac, N.Y.; and Chris Wall ' 11, physician assistant and biology major from Washington Township, N.J.

According to Tempinski, during the month of September of the 2008 fall semester, university police responded to 16 medical emergencies on-campus and two other additional incidents requiring medical services. Tempinski noted that when university police are advised about a medical emergency, the DeSales EMS squad also responds.

"Typically, the EMS squad arrives at a scene within minutes," says Tempinski, "If an injured student, staff, or faculty needs medical attention or requests transport to a hospital, Upper Saucon townships EMS is contacted and responds. Upper Saucon Township EMS headquarters is located less than two miles away."

According to Hay, in order for the students to be Pennsylvania Department of Health EMT-B's, they must complete 160 hours at an EMT school. This schooling consists of passing more than 14 written examinations and two practical examinations.

"Many institutions also require the student spend time in both the Emergency Department of a Level One trauma center, and spend adequate time training with an ambulance squad," says Hay, "This is 'on the job' training that helps EMT students apply what they have learned in the classroom to the street."

EMT-B's must also complete 24 hours of approved continuing education classes every three years. Dounaghy, is the training officer for the DeSales EMS squad, he is a state certified Emergency Medical Technician Paramedic (EMT-P) and EMT instructor.

DeSales University is registered as a state continuing education facility which provides on campus education for DeSales EMT's as well as other EMT's in the area. This helps the students not from the area attain their EMS certifications and ongoing training without having to travel. Having an EMT instructor as a training officer also takes away the fees associated with con-ed classes.

For more information please contact Ryan Hay, '11, director of DeSales EMS, at 610-282-1100, ext. 1911 or

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