By ERIC ANDERSON
BYU has a group of student volunteers, all of whom are certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), who respond to emergency 911 calls made from university phones.
This group is known as BYU Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and, according to David Blackett, a duty supervisor for this medical team, is only six months old.
Blackett, a senior from Murray, Utah, majoring in human biology, said the team has responded to all kinds of situations ranging from dislocated knees and ankles, (the most common injury), to allergic reactions.
This service is offered between 3 p.m. and 11 p.m., Blackett said. During any other hours if medical assistance is needed, Provo City is contacted by University Police dispatchers and the city will send an ambulance.
“Eventually, we would like to be able to staff a 24-hour response team, but right now we just don’t have the staff for it,” Blackett said.
Erinn Bowler, another duty supervisor and a senior from Columbia, Md., majoring in exercise physiology, said she loves being a part of EMS.
“I love going and helping people in need,” she said. “It’s a great way to get experience without all the blood and gore, because BYU doesn’t have much blood and gore.”
The most memorable experience for Bowler so far has been responding to a call where a man was in possible cardiac arrest. “It was like what you see on TV,” she said.
Russell Williams, assistant program coordinator and operations manager for EMS, offered two reasons why students who are certified EMTs would benefit from volunteering for EMS.
First, EMS offers students who are certified EMTs an opportunity to keep their skills sharp. EMS also gives students an opportunity to serve the BYU community in a vital and meaningful way, he said.
Williams sees the EMS playing a role that helps BYU become more self-reliant.
“The vast majority of people injured on campus do not require transportation to a hospital,” Williams said. “Wouldn’t it be nice if we took care of more of our own needs?”
Any student who is a certified EMT and would like to become part of EMS must schedule an interview with Williams. He can be contacted in 210 FB during normal working hours.
If the student passes the interview with Williams, he or she is assigned a single four-hour shift with University Police dispatchers in an effort to “teach them the problems the dispatchers see,” Williams said.
Once that shift is completed, the novice member is then assigned with a more experienced member of EMS until he or she is familiar with campus and with how EMS operates.
Volunteers are expected to work two four-hour shifts a week, Blackett said.