Eagle EMS Expanding Presence in Community
Published: Monday, September 13, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
Boston College's emergency medical service, Eagle EMS, is all-volunteer and student run.
Since its founding in 1997, the organization has grown to more than 120 certified members – and it continues to grow every year.
"Eagle EMS has been growing since the group's beginning and we have a solid foundation of core people," said Chris Faherty, president of Eagle EMS and A&S '13.
Eagle EMS' roster includes 70 certified emergency medical technicians (EMT) with either state or national certifications. The organization also has 50 observers, or participants with CPR certifications, many of whom study further to become EMTs.
Faherty said that Eagle EMS works nearly 100 events per year, ranging from sporting games to Undergraduate Government of BC (UGBC) events. Each Eagle EMT works, on average, two events per month and take turns riding seven hour weekend shifts with the Armstrong Ambulance Company.
"I joined Eagle EMS as a way to give back," Faherty said. "Having already been an EMT for five years before coming to campus, volunteer medical service was a big part of my life, and so when I came to campus and saw Eagle EMS I knew I had to get involved."
Eagle EMS organizes three EMT certification courses throughout the academic year for students, one in the fall semester and two in the spring, along with monthly CPR certification classes.
Each course is 16 hours per week, with classes running through the entire semester. Eagle EMS also has classes for EMT recertification, which is required every two years.
Ashley Griswold, director of training for Eagle EMS and A&S '11, said that the class is intense but that it also comes with long-term benefits. "Being an EMT gives you confidence, which is important in whatever you pursue, whether it be medicine or not."
Michelle Gaglia, A&S '12, took Eagle EMS' certification class the spring of her freshman year.
"Eagle EMS offered me a chance to gain experience in medicine and see if being a doctor was really something I wanted," she said. "I have since made many friends and learned a lot. The EMT class helped with my premed classes and studying for the MCAT, too."
Beyond her time serving on campus, Gaglia's EMT certification and experience allowed her to volunteer with the Central Park Medical Unit in New York City this summer. Gaglia spent the summer expanding her EMT skills while dealing with cases of drug overdose, heat stroke, and assault.
"Joining Eagle EMS has definitely opened up many opportunities for me," Gaglia said. "I would for sure recommend joining Eagle EMS for anyone interested in medicine. It's a big time commitment but definitely worth it."
Many of the Eagle EMTs are premedical or nursing students, but not all. Griswold stressed that all that is necessary to join is a general interest in health and a desire to give back to the community. "The things we learn as EMTs are helpful to know in life if any sort of medical problem comes up," said Lauren Westover, external training coordinator for Eagles EMS and A&S '11.
"In being a part of Eagle EMS I got insight into how BC works," Griswold said. "I enjoy meeting and hanging out with deans and the police officers while on duty, and the Eagle EMTs are a fun-loving bunch. There's never a dull moment."