SLU Emergency Medical Services: Life of an EMT on Campus

By: 
Kate Songer
Class of: 
2019

It’s 2:03 a.m. The pager shrieks at me as if to say “SHOWTIME!” Within a matter of seconds, my blood is pumping and I’m out of bed. I toss on my work shirt that says, “St. Lawrence University EMS.” Pager? Check. Radio? Check.

I catch my breath and click on the radio, “EMT-16 to 100," my way of getting dispatch’s attention. A couple seconds later, I hear, “Go ahead."

“En route to scene” and I was off. Briskly walking across campus, I remind myself how grateful I am I stumbled upon SLU EMS, for a year ago I was in a very different situation.

***

I was an eager first-year on campus. The only thing I knew for sure was that I loved talking to people and I wanted to help whoever I could whenever I could. I shyly took pride in being labeled the “mom” of my dorm.

One afternoon, I popped around campus looking for a job to make a little extra money. One of the jobs required CPR certification, so I sought out a class early Sunday morning. The instructor of the class was a member of SLU EMS, so I asked him more about what they did as we carried the CPR dummies to storage. That led to an email, an interview, and eventually a position as a First Responder on SLU EMS.  

A First Responder starts off with basic skills, such as CPR and first aid, but quickly becomes great at what they do. They get to have direct contact with patients and read essential vital signs. When on duty, the First Responder always carries a blue bag stocked with basic life-saving supplies. An EMT, on the other hand, has specific training on how to provide life-saving treatment, including CPR, airway management, splinting limbs, and treating and dressing wounds, just to name a few. There’s always an EMT who drives a car around campus, stocked with various supplies, from cervical collars, to splits, ice packs, and band-aids. First Responders and EMTs respond to calls at any time of the day and work together to provide the best patient care as possible. Within my first couple of months, I started to understand what it really meant to work with other people towards a common goal under sometimes-stressful situations. These people quickly became like a family to me, providing guidance, tips, as well as a supporting ear after the occasional intense call.

SLU EMS is fairly unique to college campuses; not many offer an entirely student-run EMS organization. Because of this, I’m more enthusiastic to be helping my fellow students, whether it is for a band-aid or allergic reaction. Essentially, we’re a group of students on campus who aim to make sure everyone feels safe if something unpredictable were to happen. 

After the day I joined SLU EMS, the rest of my life wouldn’t be the same. I started off with absolutely no experience, and within the next year I became a New York State EMT, a member of SLU EMS, and Canton Fire & Rescue.

As I get closer to the call in the middle of the night, I feel thankful that St. Lawrence gave me the opportunity to learn more about Emergency Medical Services. I radio in, “EMT-16 to 100, on scene" as I turn the corner to offer a helping hand.