The River Campus Medical Emergency Response Team obtained a vehicle for emergency medical service purposes. The vehicle is a 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The arrival of a car provides MERT with an increased presence on campus and improves the safety and response time of its volunteers. Campus Security, the College and University Health Services have funded the vehicle.

Three years ago, the organization applied for a vehicle to aid in assisting patients beyond what they could accomplish on foot. Until now, MERT volunteers had to carry whatever potential medical supplies they would need while rushing on foot to the scene of a medical emergency. According to MERT Director of Operations and junior Daniel Nassau, this slowed response time and efficiency because only minimal supplies could be carried at once.

“Our service will be improved because we will be able to deliver all of our life-saving equipment quickly and safely,” he said. “When we used to respond to our calls, our members were constantly in danger of hurting themselves because of how heavy our bags were.”

The vehicle, which can hold the equivalent in equipment of a basic life support ambulance, allows MERT to cover a larger section of campus. It also allows them to respond to calls outside the immediate River Campus, in areas such as hospital apartments, Southside and other off-campus housing.

“We will be expanding our coverage outside of the River Campus to serve other areas that were not previously served by any University medical staff,” Nassau said.

The vehicle will not, however, be used to transport patients, since this is considered the role of the Rural-Metro ambulance.

In 2005, the organization underwent a three-year process including a 25-page bulletin outlining the needs and purposes of the vehicle.

As the process finally comes to fruition, board members are grateful for the initiative shown by previous MERT executive officers.

“The vehicle project started three years ago with Josh Brown ’06, and it is still not complete,” Nassau said. “This has been a long and hard-worked process by the officers of MERT and the administration of University Security.”

The vehicle will be used in response calls beginning as early as this Sunday. Prior to Sunday, MERT members will be learning how to operate the vehicle.

“Our training mainly will be getting our crew chiefs oriented to the specific functions of the vehicle and operating it on campus,” Nassau said. “We also will be doing a training session that will go over our operating procedures so that everyone understands how the vehicle should be used.”

Once put into service, the vehicle will be located outside of Community Living Center on Fraternity Road. Future plans include cabinets for medical supplies and a shoreline that will keep the vehicle warm while on calls.

“This way our temperature-sensitive material will be kept warm since the vehicle will have a heater running in it while it is plugged in,” Nassau said.

The new car promises to expand MERT’s range and reduce response time on campus.

“The vehicle is extremely important because it will improve our service as well as increase our professional image,” Nassau said.

Sahay is a member of the class of 2010.

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