Drexel Emergency Medical Services hosted its first barbecue on the Race Street Lawn May 17 in order to increase student awareness of its services.
“The main goal of this event is to increase our campus image. People need to know more about us on campus because our shifts are primarily at nighttime. We’re definitely aiming to educate people on different problems on campus,” Allison Brophy, chief of Drexel EMS, said.
“We wanted to do something where it was less formal, where we could hang out and talk to everyone and really show everyone what we do. We wanted to spread some awareness about what we do on campus,” Hendrik Bilek, EMS public relations officer and freshman nursing major, said. “Part of my initiative was to get more people involved so we can grow as an organization.”
The event included activities such as “drunk-goggle potato sack races,” which aimed to emulate to students how it feels to be very intoxicated and then challenged them to race around cones in potato sacks. There were also demonstrations done by the Drexel EMS staff, who showed how they would put someone on a backboard to transport them into an ambulance.
Volunteers were asked to help make it clearer how safe they were on the backboard. EMS showed the policy regarding the backboard, including standard questions they ask patients.
“A huge part of talking to a patient is to get an idea of how they’re doing. Emotionally, mentally, are they still with you? If they start fading on you, it can keep them in track,” Stephan Botes, a junior mechanical engineering major and Drexel EMS member, said.
“This was definitely interesting for me, watching all the demos. I had never seen anything like that before,” Amber Beckley, a freshman biology major, said.
“[I was] actually coming back from a run, and [I] saw something was here, and [I] wanted to stop by and see what was going on,” Saagar Jadeja, a senior biology major, said.
The University honored Drexel EMS as the Student Organization of the Year the day before the barbecue.
“It was a long time coming. It was a lot of work that members did that wasn’t being recognized. A lot of people didn’t know that we existed. I don’t think we tried to get any recognition, and we finally decided that we’ve been putting so much effort in, so why not go for it?” Brophy said.
Drexel EMS operates from Thursday to Saturday from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every week. They act in all medical emergencies on campus as well as other situations such as fires and elevator entrapments. They are licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health for quick-response services such as resuscitation and controlling bleeding. If patients need further assistance and need to be transported to a hospital, an ambulance is called.
“We originally required that applicants to Drexel EMS be EMT certified, but recently we re-evaluated our organization as a whole and decided it would be beneficial to also accept applicants who are CPR certified or first-responder certified,” Brophy said.
Most of the members are EMTs who need to recertify every three years. EMTs are capable of basic life support service, while paramedics working in an ambulance can provide advanced life support similar to a doctor in a hospital. Student organizations can also request Drexel EMS to be on standby for medical emergencies during events.
“We are setting up scheduled training in order to keep up with our competency. We’re partnering up with Hahnemann Hospital and Drexel Med Emergency Medicine. They’re going to provide our continuing-education courses, and they’ll start regularly hosting EMT training courses. They offer a discount for Drexel students,” Brophy said.
“I started my EMT training because I wanted to contribute more and be more of a part of a team,” Valerie Alcaraz, a freshman biology major and member of Drexel EMS, said.
Because Drexel EMS is recognized as a service provider of the state, it strictly follows the HIPAA protocol. “Sometimes there’s a fine line between what the University feels that it should know and what we can actually tell them. There have been numerous times where we had to tell them what exactly HIPAA is and how we have to follow it. It’s really us as health care providers that cannot give that information,” Brophy said.
“A majority of the calls that we do get are within the Drexel vicinity. We cover streets going up all the way to Chestnut and Spring Garden and Baring,” Alcaraz said. She looked over to the Panhellenic High Heel Derby, a Greek life charity happening at the same time, and pointed out three people whom she remembered helping earlier that year.
The barbecue ended at 7 p.m. “I want to make this a tradition. I think we definitely had a good turnout of people, but it was a struggle having two events going on, and then there’s the location. I’m glad about the members that came out and gave Drexel EMS a good representation. It was definitely a learning experience for us,” Brophy said.
“I think it was nice and relaxing, and it was nice that it was on a Friday afternoon. People want to get out of class and they want to hang out, and that’s why we’re here,” Sera Chowdhury, a freshman economics major who attended the event, said.