Approximately 600 emergency calls a year are handled by undergrads as members of the University of Dayton Emergency Medical Services.
The primary emergency medical service for the campus was started in 1992 by a small group of students and has grown to about 60 student volunteers. UD EMS was recognized this past February by the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation as the EMS College Organization of the Year. The group won the same award in 1999 and 2003.
“It’s a totally student-run organization, and people are surprised by what we’re able to do and the extensiveness of our training,” said Gregory “C.J.” Moellering, a junior who was elected chief of operations last month. “We obviously have the CPR training, but we’re also trained in how to manage a person’s airway, or how to backboard and immobilize someone for transport.”
The group also has been instrumental in getting automated external defibrillators in almost every building on campus, and conducting a record number of free CPR classes on campus.
“UD EMS has been important in the implementation of AEDs because we are in charge of the maintenance of the equipment. Every weekend, on-duty crews go to each building and ensure the AEDs work correctly,” said CPR coordinator Leah Frischmann. “One of our main goals as an organization is educating as many students, staff, and faculty as we can on how to use an AED.”
In addition to the national award, UD EMS received Agency of the Year honors at the 16th Annual EMS Star of Life Awards ceremony in Columbus on May 18, 2016. It was hosted by the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s division of emergency medical services, the State Board of Emergency Medical/Fire and Transportation Services, and the Ohio Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians.
“It was nice to see that all the hard work and dedication that we put forth doesn’t go unnoticed. [Considering] all the great leaders and members of the organization, it is easy to see why some would consider us for the awards, from both Ohio and NCEMSF,” said assistant chief of operations John Thesing. “We provide high quality medical care to all on our campus, free of charge, and I would trust every member to take care of me in an emergency situation. We are very humbled to receive these awards and look to continue to hold these high standards for our organization.”
Thesing said the EMS members are required to work at least 24 hours a month, but many of them go beyond that minimum. All of the members, crew chiefs and officers work many hours off shift for training, exercises and meetings that aren’t recorded.
“I love being on call because I get to practice and work in the field that I am passionate about. Most UD EMS members plan on continuing on in the healthcare field, but all of us are passionate about helping others and making a difference,” said Thesing. “When people call for an ambulance they may need to rely on someone else to help them, and we are always here for them.”
According to Moellering, a trait that EMS students gain that is often overlooked is character development. UD EMS is made up of 20 sophomores, 20 juniors and 20 seniors. First-year EMS students may be intimidated at first, but as they get training and experience, they gain confidence and become more competent.
“We are all passionate about helping our community so we hold ourselves to high professional standards in order to help in the best possible ways,” said Thesing.
Contact this contributing writer at PamDillon@woh.rr.com.