Syracuse University Ambulance celebrates 30 years of service
Syracuse University Ambulance celebrates 30 years of serviceJanuary 07, 2004Edward Byrnesedbyrnes@syr.edu
In 1973-74, its first year of operation, Syracuse University Ambulance (SUA)-then known as the SU Medical Crisis Unit–endured a refusal of support by the local medical community, the loss of its new ambulance in a traffic accident and the lack of backing by the Student Health Services Department. Still, the need for a fast-responding medical team on campus remained, and with perseverance and the dedication of its members, the student-operated SUA is now celebrating three decades of professional life-saving service to SU and the surrounding community.
SUA, a division of SU Health Services, began with just a station wagon, a bag or two of first aid equipment and a handful of volunteers. Once derided as “a glorified taxi cab service” by the University community, the membership and capabilities of SUA have steadily grown throughout the years. SUA now boasts more than 60 student volunteers, several student supervisors and a full-time EMS manager. SUA recently added a new 2003 Road Rescue ambulance to its fleet, which also includes a Braun ambulance and basic life support (BLS) “fly car.” It also possesses an advanced life support Medical Support Unit trailer for critical, multiple-casualty incidents.
From its meager beginnings, says SUA Administrative Supervisor Jon Quealy, SUA has become a provider of BLS and rapid cardiac defibrillation on equal ground with any other BLS emergency medical service.
“We are all professionally trained EMTs, dispatchers and drivers. We wear the same patch that, for example, the city of Syracuse and the FDNY wears. We’re no different,” the junior political science major says.
EMS Supervisor and Paramedic Heather Badger says that SUA prides itself on training crew chiefs, drivers and attendants at the highest level. All members go through intense peer-based training and are constantly under review for promotions or other considerations. They are supported and encouraged to pursue more training if they desire.
“We are well prepared to deal just about any situation, and have demonstrated that capability when necessary,” she says.
This professional level of service and high standard of training was demonstrated a few years ago when three SUA EMT personnel responded to a full cardiac arrest situation prior to a basketball game in the Carrier Dome. The EMTs arrived to find a man who had collapsed, had no pulse, and had stopped breathing. The three were able to restore the man’s heartbeat and breathing prior to his transfer to Crouse Hospital, and their actions have been credited with saving the man’s life.
According to Badger, the only non-student paid employee of SUA, the service averages about 1,250 calls per year and is ready to respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the SU and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry campuses. SUA services are free to students and are supported by student health fees.
Anyone experiencing a medical emergency on campus should dial 711 from any campus extension or pay phone, dial #SU from any cellular phone in the campus area or activate any campus blue light emergency station. Near campus, SU students may dial 443-4299 directly. For more information, visit SUA’s web site at http://students.syr.edu/sua.
Officially chartered in 1870 as a private, coeducational institution of higher education, Syracuse University is a leading student-centered research university. Syracuse’s 12 schools and colleges share a common mission: to promote learning through teaching, research, scholarship, creative accomplishment and service while embracing the core values of quality, caring, diversity, innovation and service. The 680-acre campus is home to more than 18,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and 90 countries.