Students Helping Students: FSU's Volunteer First Responders Unit

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The State Volume 36, Number 15

Within the next few months, a group of FSU students will begin serving the campus community as medical emergency response volunteers.

The Volunteer First Responders Unit, made up of students from many academic disciplines, has been training for the past two semesters to become certified First Responders in order to answer urgent medical calls from fellow students and prepare them for transport from campus to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, adding another safety link on campus.

"In any medical emergency, lessening the amount of time it takes to assess and treat a patient at the scene, then transport the patient to the nearest treatment facility is critical," said Lesley Sacher, director of the Thagard Student Health Center.

Students in the volunteer unit have been training in a partnership with Tallahassee Community College , under the educational leadership of Captain Nancy Herndon of the Tallahassee Fire Department. The unit is cosponsored by the Thagard Student Health Center, the FSU Police Department and the Student Government Association.

"We'll be part of the system of care on campus for students," said junior Richard Olexa, president of the First Responders Unit. "Our group will be working with special events on campus such as intramurals, Dance Marathon and other student activities. We can quickly evaluate a person's condition and prepare them to be taken to the hospital, so that when the ambulance arrives, they'll be ready to go."

In addition to receiving training from the Tallahassee Fire Department and instructors at TCC, the First Responders Unit also receives direction from Dr. Celeste Paquette, medical director of the Thagard Student Health Center, and Lane Curington, ARNP-C, the Urgent Care manager at TSHC, serve as clinical supervisors for the program. FSU Police Chief Carey Drayton serves as a co-advisor for the unit, along with Sacher. The First Responders will be available on a scheduled assignment basis through Thagard and the FSUPD. "The last thing on the minds of many of our students is what they will do if they get sick or injured," Sacher said. "But with our highly skilled First Responders on the scene, in addition to Tallahassee's excellent emergency medical technicians, any overwhelming concerns about their health and safety can be laid to rest."

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