The Case Western Reserve University Emergency Medical Service (EMS) have been responding to campus emergencies since 2005. Operating two ambulances, CWRU EMS cooperates with the CWRU Police Department, CWRU Public Safety, University Hospitals and municipal agencies to keep the community healthy and safe.
Located on the north side of campus, CWRU EMS has nearly 100 clinical members, 25 of which are emergency medical technician (EMT) students. All CWRU EMS clinical members are Ohio certified EMTs and many are also licensed in other states.
CWRU EMS’ services have continually expanded since its establishment. In 2018 alone, CWRU EMS has responded to 334 calls, most of which came during the fall 2018 semester. This was a sizable uptick from the 299 calls CWRU EMS responded to in 2017.
According to Public Relations Officer Hazel Herr, “The call volume and need has probably always been there, people have just begun to realize that we are around, ready to help and well trained.”
Besides responding to medical emergencies, CWRU EMS offers several programs intended for the broader community. Among them is a program called “Stop the Bleed,” which aims to teach severe bleeding control techniques. A nationwide initiative, Stop the Bleed was brought to the University by CWRU EMS and offers a free, hour-long training class.
Herr underscored the importance of this training, explaining, “Severe bleeding can kill someone within five minutes and by giving students and staff the skill to stop it, they can be the difference between life and death.”
CWRU EMS also offers CPR training taught by the group’s members. One of the programs, the American Heart Association (AHA) Heartsaver and Basic Life Support CPR Training, requires a small fee, but completion earns official AHA certification. For students, faculty and CWRU affiliates not interested in official certification, CWRU EMS also offers a free hands-only CPR training program. Herr recommends this program for student groups.
The group’s current expansion plans center around Stop the Bleed.
“We are working to partner with community organizations to expand the Stop the Bleed classes beyond CWRU, into local schools and neighborhoods,” said Herr. Additionally, CWRU EMS intends to continue expanding accessibility to Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and Bleeding Control kits.
In light of recent campus security concerns, Herr highlighted the importance of CWRU EMS.
“Recent campus security concerns have not altered our ability to respond,” she said, “however, we encourage everyone on campus to be prepared for an emergency with both training and equipment. A small first aid kit accompanied by Stop the Bleed and CPR training can truly save a life.”
CWRU EMS members come from a diverse backgrounds and study many different disciplines at CWRU. Not all are on a pre-health track, for example; Herr became an EMT during her senior year of high school, but prior experience is not necessary for students interested in signing up for the EMT class.
Herr believes that CWRU EMS offers a rewarding experience for students, as well as provides an important function on campus.
“CWRU EMS is necessary because we are uniquely equipped and trained to handle emergencies within the CWRU community. Being student-run allows us to know the CWRU campus and population exceptionally well, improving the care we are able to provide,” said Herr. “On another note, having a student-run EMS gives students an opportunity to grow as a healthcare provider with hands on experience while giving back to the community.”