FUEMS may not be students favorite acronym, but outside the gates, the orgaization is now nationally recognized.
Fordham’s own EMS squad, known for helping injured, sick or severely intoxicated students, has recently won two national awards recognizing excellence in campus EMS. The awards place FUEMS in the highest echelon of emergency care in American universities.
One of these awards was the HEARTSafe Campus designation, an award given by the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation (NCEMSF) in conjunction with the American Heart Association, among other groups. The designation recognizes excellence in cardiac arrest care from campus EMS, and other heart-related health issues.
“So this is saying that there’s a statistically higher chance of survival on our campus than somewhere else” when it comes to cardiac arrest issues, said FUEMS Director Chris Valenza, GSB ’16.
According to the NCEMSF website, a “HEARTSafe campus” must have “Rapid Response by CPR and AED Trained First Responders, Rapid Public Access to Defibrillation, Early Access to Advanced Care, Public CPR and AED Training for the Community, Engagement in Preventative Cardiovascular Healthcare Activities.”
Valenza said that some of these qualifications can be deceptively difficult to achieve, such as a requirement that more than five percent of the student body be trained in CPR. However, he said they have managed to exceed that goal, training 10 percent of Fordham students in CPR.
Mickaela O’Neill, FCRH ’15, was instrumental in achieving that percent. She is the head training officer of FUEMS, and she said that she believes the HEARTSafe designation will spur further improvements to heart health at Fordham.
“It promotes awareness of quick access to CPR and early defibrillation, which can make such a difference, if we were ever to have a cardiac emergency on campus,” O’Neill said. O’Neill also emphasized that knowledge of CPR among students can save lives.
Fordham is one of 14 schools nationwide that has earned the HEARTSafe award. Other 2015 winners include the EMS services of Georgetown, SUNY Albany, Rowan University, Tufts University, University of Delaware, University of Maine and Virginia Tech University. The HEARTSafe award has honored university EMS programs since 2013.
The second prize FUEMS earned by FUEMS is the “Striving for Excellence in Campus EMS” award, also from the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation. According the NCEMSF, “the intent of this program is to recognize quality campus EMS organizations and hold them out as examples to other campus EMS organizations that are newly starting or are still developing their programs.”
Valenza said the Striving for Excellence award means that FUEMS meets the “gold standard” of EMS care on college campuses.
“We’re what other agencies strive to be, because of our training, our retainment of members, our quality of care,” Valenza said.
Chris Moore, FCRH ’17, intends to enter the medical field after graduation, and so he has always viewed FUEMS as the ideal opportunity to gain hands-on experience.
“So how’s it giving me experience — well I’m seeing lots of stuff, and I’m planning on taking the EMT course [that FUEMS offers] over the summer. And once I’m an EMT, you’re the one taking vitals, you’re the one making a prognosis on whether they need to go to the hospital, and what you need to do to make sure that they’re okay,” Moore said.
However, Moore said FUEMS’ reputation had been cemented into place long before it got recognized by national organizations.
“I mean definitely the awards help add to its prestige, and gives you a bit of confidence. But for me, I had already known before coming into Fordham that it was a well-established organization,” said Moore. “It has a good reputation for just getting stuff done and making sure everyone’s alright.”
As a winner of the HEARTSafe prize, FUEMS is now allowed to put up an official sign indicating this status to students and visitors. Valenza said that FUEMS is currently discussing where to hang the sign with Public Safety, OSLCD and Facilities Management.
Valenza also said FUEMS plans to continue expanding its services to Fordham students, and that the organization hopes to win the “Collegiate EMS Organization of the Year” at next year’s National Collegiate EMS Foundation Conference.