College hosts EMS conference
On Saturday, March 31, Colby Emergency Response (CER) hosted the first annual Greater Maine Collegiate Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Conference.
Representatives from EMS programs at several colleges, universities and from local communities attended the conference, including members of Bates College EMS, Bowdoin College EMS, University of Maine Orono (UMO) EMS, Dartmouth College EMS and Husson University Security.
According to CER Rescue Chief Jack Lewis ’12, “The goal of this conference [was] education.” Fifty-five people signed up for the conference, including student Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Delta Ambulance paramedics, representatives from the National Collegiate EMS Organization and the Chief Medical Officer at Maine General Hospital.
The day began in Lovejoy Hall with opening remarks from Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jim Terhune. “I want to thank you all, welcome you all, and in particular I want to thank the Colby CER students who have been working hard for a long time to organize this,” Terhune said.
Charlie Frank ’13, assistant rescue chief of CER, said, “This year there have been a lot of changes with CER,” the conference being one of them. “Our students are highly professional, highly motivated and trained at the same level of the EMTs on an ambulance.”
The morning portion of the conference consisted of three lectures. The first lecture, led by Lewis and Delta Ambulance paramedic Jeremy Damren, addressed how college EMS collaborate with community EMS. The lecture focused on how college EMS programs can improve communication and cooperation with community EMS programs like Delta. Students from UMO and Bates shared their experiences with local emergency response personnel.
Together, the group brainstormed ways to improve the relationship between college and community EMS, such as by training together with local EMTs, getting together regularly, and always keeping open minds. The next lecture, featuring the UMO EMS and Bates EMS, addressed how licensed collegiate services operate with emergency medical vehicles. UMO brought one of its ambulances to the conference for demonstrative purposes.
Colby Medical Director Dr. Paul Berkner and CER officers facilitated the final morning lecture, which provided an overview of how CER operates.
The conference featured a lunchtime keynote lecture from Dr. Steve Diaz, Chief Medical Officer for Maine General Hospital. Diaz talked about how “EMS is not just about time-sensitive issues.” According to Diaz, “about 11 percent of calls are true time-sensitive emergencies.”
The afternoon portion of the conference began with a live skills competition in Pulver Pavilion. Members of Colby’s student theater group Powder and Wig volunteered to be mock patients in this demonstration, acting out various traumas and medical conditions. Teams of three EMTs from each school were given 10 minutes to assess, treat and report the “patient’s” condition. Members of Waterville Fire and Rescue judged the competition.
Teams waiting for their turn to compete participated in a spinal clearance lab, given by Damren in the Lower Programming Space of Cotter Union.
The final activity of the day was a spinal assessment and packaging workshop with Joshua Wheeler, an educator from the Mid-Maine Technical Center.
Many students shared similar positive sentiments at the end of the conference. John Rolfson, a senior at UMO, said, “[The conference] was a tremendous opportunity…to get everybody together and to be able to share our experiences.”