Student EMT service being pitched to Marist administration

Marist College could soon have a new task force to answer the call.

A group of Marist students, headed by senior Tyler Robinson, are looking to formulate a student-run Emergency Medical Service group based on campus. The group would consist of student volunteers with Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) licenses or official Basic Life Support training.

Robinson has toiled with this concept for two years and is finally working to make it happen before his graduation. His plan began simply, recruiting interested students on Facebook and creating a private group, now 22 members strong. Now it appears to be gaining traction, as talks between the group and Marist Administration have been ongoing for several weeks.

Among the group is senior Marie Atileh, three-year employee of Marist’s Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol. Atileh, a licensed EMT, was quick to acknowledge the benefit for students on campus in need of care.

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Photo courtesy Fairview FD

“For students to get EMS, they have to wait for the Fairview Fire Department,” Atileh explained. “We want to make it as quick and easy as possible for those who need it.”

Several group members volunteer with the Fairview Fire Department, approximately a mile and a half east of campus. Google Maps estimates that a drive to the heart of campus would take almost 10 minutes. How fortuitous it would be then, in theory, to have emergency help closer by for a scenario in which every minute matters.

The Marist Security webpage notes in bold type that, “due to staffing and liability concerns,” Marist Security Officers are not allowed to transport injured students to and from their residence halls/classrooms. This policy could pose a problem for the fledgling student EMT group at Marist. Many student-run programs allow student volunteers to perform first-responder service such as CPR, but do not permit the volunteers to transport those in need of hospitalization. This policy varies from school to school.

Over 250 schools utilize a student-EMT volunteer program, with roughly 10,000 participants nationwide according to USA Today. And the numbers are only increasing.

“You read so many articles about the best jobs in America,” said Atileh, “and they consistently rank healthcare jobs at the top.”

Atileh went on to highlight a major boon for student-volunteers: a chance to fulfill patient care hours, a major pre-requisite for graduate school. Many Physician Assistant schools, for example, can require any range from 40 hours of patient care hours to 2,000 hours– which would equate to 50 weeks worth of full-time hours. Patient care hours are necessary for admittance to medical school, dental school and veterinary school as well.

And with increased competition to get into these post-graduate institutions, the more experience, the better.

“It’s a great way to get hours for grad school, but also make a positive impact on the community,” Atileh added.

Though the group’s pitch seems to have precedent and mutual benefit on its side, negotiations have not received much traction yet. One group member speculated that a lack of a university-affiliated hospital was stalling the process.

Robinson had posted in the group’s Facebook page that he was awaiting correspondence from a Vassar EMS representative earlier this month. Atileh and other group members have confirmed that talks with Marist administrators are still ongoing to legitimize the program.

“We’re hoping to get an update soon,” one anonymous group member said anxiously.

It is unsure at this point whether Robinson’s vision is to work in tandem with the Fairview Fire District. The District agreed to a deal that would see Marist pay $150,000 in annual voluntary contribution through 2024 to avoid the District opposing new development projects; the stipulation being that Fairview has the capacity to serve on the new additions to the facility.

Nearly 20% of Fairview Fire District’s house calls were made to Marist College in 2015 according to the Poughkeepsie Journal.

Robinson declined comment.

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