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Daemen College students take charge of emergency response in new Rescue Squad

Avery Schneider

Students on the Daemen College campus now have the opportunity for far more than just classroom training in medicine – they’ve got a chance to have a hand in their own health care.

In the newly launched Daemen College Rescue Squad, students have the opportunity to train and serve as Emergency Medical Technicians. The school doesn’t have its own on health clinic, making this is the first time medical care is being offered at the Amherst campus.

“Most Daemen students are actually in the medical field – so physical therapy, physician assistant, nursing, pre-med. So these students will have an opportunity to get an early start in the medical field and get hands-on experience,” explained graduate physical therapy student and Squad Operations Chief Krista Kowiak.

The hands-on experience begins with what would otherwise be an $800 EMT course, provided for free by the college in return for one year of service on the squad. Vice President for Student Affairs Doctor Greg Nayor said a lot of work went into making sure the school became credentialed to offer the course.

“We weren’t going to just launch something unless everybody was trained and certified the right way, and that we understood the protocol,” said Nayor. “So there was a lot of traveling to other places and seeing what that looked like; making sure our standard operating procedures were in place.”

Credit Avery Schneider / WBFO News
Members of the Rescue Squad will carry a fully stocked EMT bag wherever they go, including oxygen, an AED, and a suction device.

Once trained, students are scheduled for 12-hour shifts, carrying a fully-stocked EMT bag wherever they go.

“We work closely with Twin City Ambulance and with Snyder Fire Department,” said Kowiak. “So if an incident were to happen on campus, we would be the first ones to respond, and they would come out and help after. So there’s always enough hands on board and always enough people to come help out.”

The squad doesn’t have its own ambulance, but Kowiak estimates with members spread out in classrooms and libraries across the campus, response time on foot could be as little as two to three minutes.

Considered an on-campus club, the Rescue Squad is funded by student activity fees. Daemen is of only about 250 schools across the country to have a student-run EMT unit and, according to school officials, the only one in Western New York.

Follow WBFO's Avery Schneider on Twitter at @SAvery131.

Avery began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey for WRUB, the University at Buffalo’s student-run radio station.