The National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation (NCEMSF) has officially recognized Drexel University’s Emergency Medical Services organization as one of the best in the nation. Specifically, the NCEMSF’s EMS Ready Campus program has awarded Drexel EMS with the Bronze recognition. Only eight other schools have received this accolade since 2015 when the award was established.
The Drexel EMS group, formed in 2010, is a student run-organization that works with the Department of Public Safety. Members are frequently tasked with responding to medical emergencies on campus and often arrive ahead of ambulances and other emergency response.
“Drexel EMS is a licensed quick response service (QRS) at the basic life support (BLS) level under the Pennsylvania Department of Health. We cover from 30th Street to 36th Street, Chestnut to Spring Garden. We cover a variety of incidents: traumas, intoxicated persons, drug overdoses, fires, elevator entrapment and the list goes on,” Hendrik Bilek, chief of Drexel EMS, explained in an email interview.
Drexel EMS responders are often asked what their duties consist of during the course of a regular shift —however, according to the chief, there really is no such thing as a regular shift.
“There is no ‘typical day’ in EMS. The only constant is the fact that you never know what is going to be your next call or assignment,” Bilek, a junior nursing major, said.
“Drexel EMS is really a toolbox full of resources for the Drexel community with everything from emergency response, disaster preparedness, CPR and EMS education, community service and blood drives,” Bilek continued, further describing the situations in which emergency medical services are required.
In the past, Drexel EMS has provided coverage for Drexel-based events such as Fall Fest and Spring Jam, and they have hosted several blood drives on campus through the American Red Cross. During a regular shift, responders on duty patrol campus and may be dispatched by the Drexel Police Department to any emergency situations that arise. Even though the organization carries out such significant duties, all members are unpaid and responders are accepted strictly on a volunteer basis.
“This recognition goes to show our organization’s dedication to improving the safety of our campus and surrounding community by being truly prepared to handle large scale situations that may affect our campus at any time,” Jennifer Rios, Public Relations Officer for Drexel EMS, said in an email interview.
In regards to the recent NCEMSF commendation, Bilek attributed the success to the dynamic and hard-working network of volunteer responders who compose Drexel’s EMS unit.
“Drexel EMS is proud to have achieved this award and recognition. It is a testament to the strong membership we have that really goes above and beyond in everything they do. We love to set Drexel above the rest when it comes to EMS,” Bilek said.
With such a distinctive set of responsibilities, it is easy to distinguish Drexel EMS from most other extracurricular activities that are based at the university. Bilek, however, argues that when it comes down to the passion of those involved, the organization isn’t so different after all.
“Drexel EMS is very similar to most other collegiate EMS organizations. Sure there can be differences in policies and membership but collegiate EMS as a whole is really a close knit community of students who love helping their communities in the area of pre-hospital emergency medicine,” Bilek explained.
Rios agreed with Bilek about the community-based nature of the organization. “Because of the work that we do, this allows our members to make special connections with each other by having this dedication and passion for emergency medicine and helping others in common. I feel that our organization is very accepting of all of our members and most of our members would describe our organization as ‘one big family,’” Rios stated.
More information about Drexel EMS can be found on their website, http://www.drexelems.org/. In the case of an emergency, Drexel Public Safety can be reached at 215-895-2222.