Conn. college student EMTs to help fire dept. with calls on campus
The Res-Q students can give basic first aid and critical care, including stopping bleeds and administering CPR
By Clare Dignan
New Haven Register
HAMDEN, Conn. — The Fire Department going forward won’t be alone when it responds to medical calls at Quinnipiac University.
The school will be deploying some of its students to emergency calls as first responders in medical situations on the Mount Carmel and York Hill campuses.
The students are licensed emergency medical technicians who will begin responding to calls on campus beginning in November in conjunction with the Hamden Fire Department.
The students in the Res-Q Campus Medical Service Program received pins and certificates in a ceremony Tuesday at the university.
Assistant Chief Charles Lubowicki said the department responds to a Quinnipiac-related call almost once a day during the school year. They also staff the university on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, he said.
“Anytime you can have someone with training and experience on scene to analyze the situation when seconds count is invaluable,” Lubowicki said. “There’s always a need for us and having them here to respond increases good outcomes.”
Of Hamden’s 10,000-plus emergency responses, 74 percent are classified as medical. Both ambulances and fire rescue trucks are staffed by cross-trained firefighter/paramedics and firefighter/EMTs.
Fire trucks are dispatched with the ambulances on many calls for additional manpower or resources and, in most cases, the fire truck may be closer and can initiate medical care before an ambulance gets there.
The university’s Public Safety has a fire marshal on staff who maintains a professional relationship with the Hamden and North Haven fire marshals.
Nearly 5,000 undergraduate students lived on campus in the 2018-19 school year.
The Res-Q students can give basic first aid and critical care, including stopping bleeds and administering CPR. They will carry a variety of emergency equipment on calls.
The service is supplemental to the Hamden Fire Department but incorporated closely, Quinnipiac University Medical Director Phillip Brewer said.
The Public Safety staff on campus acts as first responders daily from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. at the university. The Res-Q team will work the overnight shifts Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the time the campus isn’t staffed with first responders from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
The team will be broken up into two shifts overnight of two people at a time and an extra shift Saturdays from 2 p.m.-8 a.m.
“We’re still actively recruiting and our goal is to have shifts 24/7 during the academic year,” Brewer said.
The EMS team will begin responding in November with members doing one shift per week for the rest of the semester, he said.
“These can be life and death situations, so at the beginning our ambitions are very limited,” Brewer said. If they’re successful in recruiting more students, he hopes they can expand the program to run 24/7 in two to three years.
There are 250 universities across the country with some type of student EMS team, including Brown University, Villanova University, Boston College, Georgetown University, George Washington University and MIT.
The student EMTs will provide non-transport services under the auspices of the Hamden Fire Department with oversight and support by university Public Safety staff and Brewer.
The EMTs will be uniformed and have access to an office, motorized cart, radios and medical supplies.
“It’s another example of Quinnipiac thinking forward,” Acting Police Chief John Cappiello said. “They realize our limited resources and this helps take some of the burden off of us.”
Cappiello said having EMS on campus can make all the difference in an emergency situation when seconds count.
Lubowicki said the most important element that this experience will give students is learning to interact with patients and providing better patient care in a mentored environment, which will make them better health care providers later in their careers.
“You will be providing help than can be lifesaving, but also emotional support, holding someone’s hand and giving them the confidence that they can get through it,” university President Judy Olian said to students before the ceremony.
University Chief of Public Safety Edgar Rodriguez said the program wouldn’t have been possible without the community collaboration with Hamden.
“We’re very excited about this program and it will give our students the ability to serve others and enhance medical care on our campus,” Rodriguez said.
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