When the student-run Ramapo Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) squad was disbanded in 2011, Ramapo lost one of its greatest assets in preparing and caring for the community. The squad, which consisted of approximately 15 students, provided emergency care with a full range of standard EMT equipment. Most notably, the service had an ambulance, housed in the barn (near The Lodge), and had students on-call, ready as first responders. For those looking to get EMT certified, the squad was able to provide training, paid for by a state allocation.
However, management of the ambulance and funding became an issue due to recent state budget cuts. In its place, Ramapo now utilizes private services, such as Fuchs EMS and MICCOM, for its emergency response. In addition, the College's Environmental and Health Safety Department has provided certain emergency services to students, like Alert Me Now and other programs.
But the involvement of student EMTs is lacking.
A former Ramapo EMT, junior Kevin Manz said, "The greatest benefit of having an on-campus ambulance was its ability to train newly certified EMTs in a setting managed by friends."
In order to give students a chance to become more involved, sophomore Josh Luster started the Ramapo First Responders Club along with vice president David Resnick, also a sophomore.
"Some of our goals are to provide education of the emergency system…[and] to educate about fire safety, CPR and first aid," Luster said. "In order to do so, we hope to have trips to different emergency buildings planned or to provide lectures or discussions about the emergency system."
The club also hopes to build a relationship with the Mahwah Police Department and EMT squad in the coming months. Ramapo's Student Government Association has given the club its full backing, approving the club and its funds this past November.
With Hurricane Sandy still on our minds and having an impact on the local community, it is easy to see that EMTs are a great asset and should remain so here at Ramapo. I encourage all students who are interested to get involved by liking the Ramapo First Responders Club page on Facebook. Meeting days and times have yet to be set, but the club is anxious to begin operation in the spring semester.