Updated 04/25/2012 07:50 AM
SUNY Oswego student-run ambulance corps celebrate 40 year anniversary
On any college campus where students both study and live, medical emergencies can be a daily occurrence, but at one university, the students themselves have taken emergency responses into their own hands. Our Candace Hopkins has more from SUNY Oswego.
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OSWEGO, N.Y. -- SUNY Oswego is a campus supporting more than 7,000 students and like in any community, medical care is a necessity, but here responding to emergencies is handled by students themselves, who make up the Student Association Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
"We are a completely student run, student volunteer, BLS ambulance, which is basic life support, so we're comprised of EMTs," said Former Chief of Operations Jennifer Figueroa.
The organization was founded in 1972 and was the first ever solely student run ambulance corps and today, more than 50 students are juggling their EMT responsibilities while taking full coarse loads.
"It's definitely difficult to manage this many people and still be a full-time student and a lot of us have jobs outside SAVAC, but it's a lot about teamwork," said Figueroa.
SAVAC responds to more than 300 calls each year on campus and on every shift, there's at least one certified emergency medical technician working and that student undergoes the same intensive training as any other EMT.
"You do classroom sessions where you pretty much sit through PowerPoints to learn what you need to do, then there's lab sessions where you sit down and you actually sit there and do the assessments and treat people and it's a lot of time put into it to learn the actual skills to take the test," said Figueroa.
Tyler Kelly is SAVAC's newest Chief of Operations. Last week, he replaced Figueroa, who is graduating.
"I love every aspect of it. I get to drive the ambulance, I get to do patient care. I joined because I plan to go to med school after this," Kelly said.
With their certification, the students are qualified to work off campus as well, lending support to the city ambulance service when needed.
"They've come in to cover us. If we've got a house fire or whatever, they'll swing a unit over towards the fire scene or whatever and take a BLS response for us also, which saves us. They've come in and been on standby when we've had large scale fires and been tied up for hours," said Oswego Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie.
Meaning the benefits of SAVAC's decades of service and hard work has extended far beyond campus borders.