When medical emergencies interrupt daily life in the Meadville community, members of the Allegheny Emergency Response Organization are on the scene.
AERO is a student-led group that aims to promote community medicine on campus and in the Meadville area, according to AERO President Monessha Jayabalan, ’19.
In 2016, Drexel University was featured in USA Today for its support of its student-run, emergency medical service organization. Drexel is home to 65 dedicated campus members who are licensed to provide first responder services on campus, according to the USA Today article.
While they are unable to provide transport, student first responders at Drexel will arrive at a scene and provide medical support. Then, volunteers can call the community ambulance or fire department to provide further care, the article explains.
More than 10,000 student volunteers on more than 250 college campuses across the country serve as emergency medical technicians or provide emergency response-related services for their fellow students, Scott Savett, spokesman for the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation, told USA Today.
For Allegheny students, AERO provides a similar opportunity to gain exposure to emergency medicine.
Because AERO is an Allegheny Student Government-recognized club, it is open to all students who display interest. This means students interested in emergency response and emergency medicine do not necessarily need prior EMT experience or certifications to participate in AERO events and classes.
Next semester, AERO plans to work with Butler Community College to bring EMT classes to Allegheny. If participants take the class and meet the course requirements, they will receive an official EMT certification, Jayabalan said.
Additionally, AERO provides an opportunity for students interested in careers in medicine to gain on-the-job experience.
“Not everyone has the opportunity to get involved in patient care,” said Matt Kim, ’19, AERO equipment manager.
Kim began as an EMT and received training at the Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department. As AERO equipment manager, Kim ensures equipment is up to date and helps coordinate efforts to connect Allegheny College with the Meadville community.
While the club hopes to eventually provide emergency response services on campus, its board members aim to continue providing educational skills clinics and courses for Allegheny students. These courses include CPR classes, wilderness certification and continued education for EMTs.
The club would also like to implement a Quick Response System on campus.
This system would help facilitate the connection between EMT student volunteers and the Meadville Area Ambulance Service and improve response times and resource efficiency.
MAAS would employ EMTs from Allegheny, who would operate within the bounds of the Allegheny College campus, according to Jayabalan.
In theory, QRS would improve efficiency and limit unnecessary ambulance calls, according to Jayabalan.
“This would help with better access to patient care … quicker response time (and) also helps with resources,” Jayabalan said. “We would be there to help make that decision if you need to go to the hospital or do you not need to go.”
In order to work as part of the QRS System, licensed student EMTs should also have valid CPR certification, hazmat certification and certification to drive an emergency vehicle.
Right now, the club is working with Associate Dean of Students for Wellness Education Gretchen Beck as well as the Office of Financial Aid to work out the legalities and logistics of employing student EMTs.
In the future, Jayabalan said, AERO hopes to implement the QRS System and continue to maintain and improve their medical presence on campus.