The River Campus Medical Emergency Response Team is set to receive a 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee to help its members travel around campus. The car will be put into use next semester. The recent purchase was the result of over three years of petitioning by the MERT Executive Board.
In May 2005, the Executive Board of MERT, led by then Director of Operations Joshua Brown ’06, submitted a 25-page proposal requesting a vehicle in order to alleviate pressure on MERT members and help expand MERT’s coverage across the River Campus and beyond. The issue was put off until January of this year, when MERT pushed their proposal at a meeting attended by UR security, University Health Services and other campus organizations. Finally, in August of this year, the car was approved and purchased at a discount price on a state contract.
“This has been an ongoing project over the last three years,” Assistant Director of Operations and junior Brad Goldberg said. “It was known at the time it was introduced that it was going to be a long process.”
The car is being paid for by UR security, UHS and the College. It will have orange lights, not red lights, so that vehicles in front will not have to yield.
“The vehicle will be expected to be operated in accordance with traffic laws and regulations including coming to full stops at stop signs in response to calls, operating within lawful speed limits, observance of lane markers,” Director of University Security Walter Mauldin said.
Mauldin was very impressed with the MERT leadership over the last five years, pointing to the high quality training and operational standards set by the organization.
“When I had to talk to other University administration, I was able to reassure them based on this well-established pattern of excellence and mature leadership,” he said.
The current administration of MERT is grateful for the effort that their predecessors put into getting the car.
“We recognize the work of the past Executive Boards,” Director of Operations Daniel Nassau said. “They were really the ones who made it happen.”
The new car will serve multiple purposes for MERT. The main function will be to transport MERT members across campus. Currently, they have to walk from their room to the incident.
The May 2005 proposal mentioned several instances when crew members were injured. On three separate occasions, MERT members received injuries due to carrying their heavy equipment bags, which, according to the proposition, can weigh 25-30 pounds with a full oxygen tank. On two occasions MERT members suffered injuries after slipping on ice. The car will provide speedy and safe transportation.
The car will also allow for the transport of equipment that MERT members cannot carry in their bags, such as backboards, splints and mechanical suction devices.
“We’ll be able to carry almost all of the equipment equivalent to an ambulance,” Nassau said.
Another purpose that the car will serve is to expand the area that MERT can cover. As of now, MERT receives around 250-300 calls for service a year, and in the future, they hope to be able to receive calls from outside the River Campus.
The car will allow MERT members to respond to emergency calls in Southside, the hospital area, graduate apartments and other off-campus housing.
Nassau is convinced that MERT provides quicker service than the ambulance service contracted by the city of Rochester, Rural Metro.
“The average response time for MERT is six minutes,” he said. “Metro, on the other hand, has a response time closer to 15 minutes. That difference can be huge.”
The new car will have a huge impact on MERT and its performance in times of crisis.
The car will not be used, Nassau notes, to transport patients. Patient transport will still be left to Rural Metro if such treatment is requested by MERT or UR Security.
Although the vehicle will not transport patients, it adds a new dimension to campus saftey.
“They will be operating on a new level,” Mauldin said.Wrobel is a member of the class of 2010.
Additional reporting by Andrew Bruml