UTD Students Improve Emergency Response Times by Volunteering as EMTs

The students' supervisor says UEMR can arrive at a call five minutes before the professionals arrive

Any time of the day or night, you'll find students in a small office on University of Texas Dallas campus monitoring radios and waiting for the phone to ring. About 50 students volunteer with the University Emergency Medical Response as fully trained EMTs to help emergency response times on campus.

"When we do get a call, it's action time, and we get out there and do what we have to do," said UEMR Chief Scott Bell.

The program got underway last year. Then, in January, UEMR started to get the same 911 calls the Richardson Fire Department received for emergencies on campus.

"We saw that the fire truck was getting to campus but wasn't able to get to the patient on campus in an effective time manner," Bell said. "We know the campus. We know its intricacies. We know the response hazards, and we're able to effectively get to the scene in a significantly less amount of time."

Several months in, the center receives nearly 50 calls a month.

"There's a lot of trauma. We get a lot of cardiac problems and a lot of respiratory," Yushra Rashid said.

Students respond from campus by golf cart, which Bell said usually helps them respond five minutes before the professionals arrive. It's time that could mean the difference between life and death.

Equipment is funded through grants and the university.

"It's huge. Definitely in a lifesaving emergency we can provide or initiate the care that's needed, provide the respiratory ventilation, drug administration, a lot of the things that really do affect the outcome on that patient," Bell said.

UEMR also takes some calls directly from campus, freeing up the city's first responders to help others in need.

While many of the students who volunteer plan to move on to medical school, they'll finish the program fully trained and certified for a career as a professional EMT. 

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