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Students Form Volunteer Emergency Response Team on Campus
Aug. 24, 2017
Biology senior Umer Nadir (left) and biochemistry senior Nidhish Lokesh share information about University Emergency Medical Response during freshman orientation's organization fair. UEMR is a team of volunteer first responders.
UT Dallas students with emergency medical technician (EMT) training have organized a team of volunteer first responders to provide faster and more direct access on campus to emergency basic life support.
University Emergency Medical Response (UEMR) will consist of student volunteers who already have emergency medical training or paramedic experience. Faculty and staff with EMT training can also volunteer.
“In an emergency, you have about a 10-minute window to expect a response. I think we can shave that response time by five to seven and a half minutes,” said Umer Nadir, a McDermott Scholar and biology senior who is the team’s organizer and chief.
University Emergency Medical Response is in the Safety and Grounds Building (SG).
To apply to be a volunteer or for more information, contact Umer Nadir at [email protected] or call 972-883-4355.
Physicians at UT Southwestern Medical Center have agreed to provide medical protocols and supervision for the UEMR volunteers. Medical oversight of the new program will be provided through the UT Southwestern/Parkland Biotel EMS system. The system’s EMS physicians, nurses and administrators have been directing out-of-hospital emergency care in North Texas for more than 40 years.
“BioTel is proud to partner with UT Dallas and commends the University for developing this innovative program that will enhance public safety for UTD students, faculty, staff and visitors,” said Dr. Marshal Isaacs, medical director of the BioTel System.
Melody Gardner, director of BioTel, added, “BioTel is excited to be part of this new program and looks forward to assisting UT Dallas’ volunteers in providing emergency medical first response to the UT Dallas community.”
The UEMR team is modeled after similar teams at Duke University and Rice University. UT Dallas will be the first in the UT System to have a campus-based responding emergency medical squad. Other Texas schools with similar teams include Texas A&M University, Baylor University and Southern Methodist University.
The UEMR service will be phased in. This year, the team will operate first-aid stations and offer services at University-sponsored events such as commencement and athletics events. By 2018, UEMR volunteers will work with the UT Dallas Police Department and the city of Richardson to provide first responder service for 911 calls on campus.
“Most people on campus are not aware of the number of medical calls we have, which can be several each week and often more than one a day,” UT Dallas Police Chief Larry Zacharias said. “This service will enhance our emergency response for these calls, quickly stabilizing the patient with a smooth transition to arriving paramedics.”
Initial funding for medical supervision and supplies for the UEMR team will be provided by the Office of Administration and managed through the University Police Department to maintain appropriate budget and acquisition procedures.
Two volunteers will be on-call each night. University police will send them a UTD Alert message when a call is received. Response goals include having volunteers use golf carts to arrive within minutes at any location on campus, and provide basic life support and first aid.
The service will especially benefit students who don’t have a vehicle on campus to get to emergency care facilities and those who need emergency care after 5 p.m., when the Student Health Center is closed.
“This pilot program will draw on the special talents of our student volunteers and enhance their overall experience at UT Dallas while providing a great service to the University community,” said Dr. Calvin Jamison, vice president for administration.
Most emergency medical calls on campus last spring involved fainting, falling, trauma or breathing problems, and about 75 percent of the calls could be handled by UEMR volunteers, Nadir said.
UT Dallas Police will post information on the UEMR team on its website. Departments and offices on campus can book the team for events online.
Volunteers will wear uniform shirts with emergency medical response patches.
Besides helping those with medical needs, the team gives its student volunteers the opportunity to learn patient care skills, develop leadership skills and work together in high-pressure situations, Nadir said. According to the Health Professions Advising Center, 35 percent of last year’s pre-med applicants at UT Dallas were EMT basic certified.
“Many pre-med students are registered EMTs and never get an opportunity to volunteer. I like to think of it as giving back to our school,” Nadir said.
Media Contact: Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].