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ISSUE 119 VOL 8 PUBLISHED 11/11/2005

EMTs increase presence

By Emelie Heltsley
Staff Writer

Friday, November 11, 2005

St. Olaf Emergency Medical Technicians (SOEMTs) celebrated their eighth year on campus during National Collegiate EMT Awareness Week, Nov. 7-11. The group, which formed in 1997, is working to increase its presence on campus through inservices, interest meetings and CPR classes.

The group of 12 volunteer student EMTs is on call week nights from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., and 24 hours Fridays and Saturdays. The EMTs respond to calls for everything from fevers to falls, alcohol poisoning to abrasions, heart attacks to head trauma.

"[We have dealt with] trauma, vomit, illness and insanity since 1997," said Justin Smith '07, co-coordinator of the SOEMTs.

More than half of the SOEMTs work on ambulances and at least four of the EMTs work in hospitals.

"A lot of [SOEMTs] do this because we want this as a vocation," said Ryan Christensen '07, co-coordinator of the SOEMTs.

The frequency of calls to the SOEMTs has increased through the years. When the SOEMTs started, they responded to approximately 30 calls each year. Last year, the calls grew to 60 in the year, and so far this year, the EMTs have answered 25 calls.

"We're really happy about that," said Stephanie Neitz '07, president of the SOEMTs. "We're the ones who are getting experience."

Along with providing students, faculty, staff and visitors with basic medical care, the SOEMTs offer CPR training and hold interest meetings for students considering joining the group.

The SOEMTs have access to several pieces of medical equipment, including an automated external defibrilator (AED), oxygen tanks and an obstetrics kit (OB kit).

During their time as a group, the SOEMTs have provided medical care to one of the Regents, a custodian, several visitors to campus and many students.

"We go to these scenes because we are close," said Jessica Edge '06, secretary of the SOEMTs.

The EMTs emphasized that the severity of the situation and the worry of getting into trouble should not be a hindrance to calling an EMT.

"We would much rather have you call us than not," Joe Rauch '07, vice-president of the SOEMTs said. "I get mad when I hear that people have been sick and haven't called an EMT."

Being on-call during weekends and attending to various medical emergencies on campus on a purely voluntary basis demands for hard work and dedication, according to the SOEMTs.

"We have appreciated so much support from the Dean of Students office, Dean Kneser, Residence Life, the Health Center and Health Services, Public Safety and the Student Government Association (SGA)," Christensen said.

For students interested in joining, an EMT class will be offered at a discounted price for students early second semester, and students can register for that class next week.

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