MERT, or the Medical Emergency Response Team is a group of people from the university who are first on the scene for any medical emergency on campus, giving people an extra edge before the ambulance arrives. Anyone can join, including graduate students and UR faculty and staff.

A wide variety of people participate in MERT. “I do it because it is a way in which I can give back to the community,” sophomore Greg Rubin said.

No experience is needed to join the group and they will provide, free of charge, courses in Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation, and New York State Emergency Technician certification.

For all this, the commitment is small, “Twelve hours per month, one shift from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., during which the member can go on their personal business, do school work, sleep, talk on the phone, or e-mail,” senior and Director of Operations of MERT, Douglas Schneider said.

“The only requirement for on-call members is to have a radio with them and turned on and a first response bag full of medical equipment, both issued to the member by a MERT Crew Chief.”

MERT can be beneficial in terms of field experience as well, “In a university with a large number of pre-med students, this can be an extremely useful experience,” Rubin said.

Along with the experience from actual MERT shifts, that which is gained from the CPR training is valuable. American Red Cross CPR certification now also includes Automatic External Defibrillator training. These small units, about the size of a laptop, are cropping up in many airports and office buildings ? they can be the difference between life and death in the case of a heart attack or cardiac arrest.

Freshman Courtney Nussbaum is a member of MERT and believes that the training they provide is valuable. “It’s a great program, and they offer free EMT training, which is a $700 class, all you need to buy is the book,” she said. EMT certification is a good introduction to further volunteer service. Many suburban towns have volunteer firefighting districts, which often have many members who are certified emergency medical technicians. “It’s a great way to stay in practice over the summer,” Nussbaum said.

MERT holds meetings every other week on Sunday nights at 7 p.m. in the Gowen Room in Wilson Commons. For more information contact Schneider at x44055, or visit the MERT Web site

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