At 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, University of Dayton Rescue Squad members Matt Haley, Marie McDaniel and Sophia Raptis arrive for an 18-hour shift.
They head out to the garage to perform a routine check of the ambulance. Raptis, a senior biology major and UDRS chief, hands out checklists and Haley and McDaniel, both junior pre-medicine majors, begin sliding open drawers and lifting benches, checking the many compartments of the vehicle to make sure everything is accounted for and ready for the next call.
Usually, they would head back into the house and wait for the Public Safety dispatcher to radio in a call, but tonight is different.
They drive the ambulance from the squad house on Lawnview Avenue to the McGinnis Center where 23 UDRS class members are studying for their practical, an exam held Saturday, Nov. 10, that will allow them to complete their basic emergency medical technician certification and officially become members of Rescue Squad.
Class members take a four-hour EMT class three times a week and must complete a certain amount of ride-along hours with the Dayton Fire Department, as well as a set amount of hours working at a hospital.
“These experiences give them a chance to see what an EMT does, get to know the hospital atmosphere and practice skills like checking for vitals,” Haley says.
Ben Schuff, a junior biology major, and Nate Clapp, a junior pre-medicine major, sit in McGinnis with their exam sheets, running through the emergency medical situations that they are responsible for during their exam.
“Rescue Squad came into my biology class last year, and I knew I had seen them around and thought the opportunity looked interesting,” Schuff says. “I liked what it was about, so I went through the whole process of applying and going to the events and I got an interview.”
Schuff and Clapp are two of the three juniors in this year’s class. The rest of the class consists of sophomores.
“I’m excited to be a real EMT and be able to do all the things I’ve learned when I’m on call,” Clapp says.
McDaniel, Raptis and Haley, along with other UDRS members, run through different situations ranging from backboarding to trauma care with the class members to help them practice for the upcoming exam.
They check the time and talk about how many calls they think they might get.
“11:17 p.m.,” McDaniel says. “That’s my guess for our first call.”
McDaniel, Raptis and Haley head back to the house, which is fully equipped with a kitchen, two bedrooms, full bathroom and a computer room, to wait for their first assignment of the night.
After popping in a movie and starting to doze off, a voice comes over the radio, tones ring throughout the house and all three squad members are on their feet and out the door.
They quickly decide who will drive and grab everything they will need for the call.
With seamless precision, they arrive at the scene, hop out of the ambulance and immediately begin assessing the patient’s condition. Raptis and McDaniel tend to the patient while Haley asks for the patient’s information and details about the incident.
They quickly load the patient in the ambulance and head off to Miami Valley Hospital. On the way, they check the patient’s vitals and continue asking questions so that they can provide the hospital with as much information as possible.
After checking the patient into the hospital, giving all of the information to hospital staff and filling out a report of the call, they return to the ambulance and prep for the next call.
This call is one of about 400 that Rescue Squad receives annually. The 24/7 student-run service is trained to handle basic emergency medical situations. The services performed by Rescue Squad are free of charge to university students, faculty and staff.
“Medical knowledge and proficiency is completed by the students on shift on a day-to-day basis,” Raptis explains. “We exist here for a purpose. Students shouldn’t be afraid to call us if they need help.”
The three members on duty return to the house and lie down to get some sleep. Shortly after, the tones sound and they are back in action, calling out roles and heading to the ambulance. They arrive on the scene and perform the same routine, caring for the patient while calmly coaxing for information about the situation. They load up the patient and head back to Miami Valley Hospital.
The medical knowledge of the team members is evident through these calls as they fluidly move through the examination of each patient and respond carefully based on each separate situation.
Members are trained to deal with a number of medical emergencies. The most common calls come from people with injuries, followed by alcohol-related incidents. Other situations that Rescue Squad handles include illness, chest pain, allergic reaction, abdominal pain and more. Rescue Squad averages about 2-3 calls per day.
“We get a lot of sport-related injuries,” McDaniel says. “Also, this year, we have had an increase in calls for seizures so we have had a few training lectures on them.”
Students who are members of Rescue Squad are able experience hands-on situations and develop valuable skills. They learn to work as a team with other medical personnel and squad members while providing care to people on campus.
“It’s been a pretty rewarding experience,” Schuff says. “You get to see real world stuff and it’s pretty cool. I’m excited to be able to help people.”
Rescue Squad’s annual EMS Week will be held Monday, Nov. 13, through Saturday, Nov. 17. Each day will feature training opportunities and a chance to get to know members of Rescue Squad.
CPR training sessions will be held 6-8 p.m. Monday in ArtStreet Studio B, 6-8 p.m. Wednesday in room A at the RecPlex and 6-8 p.m. Thursday in Kennedy Union 207.
First aid training will be held 7-9 p.m. Tuesday in room A at the RecPlex.
A late-night cookout and ambulance exploration with CAB will be held from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday at the ArtStreet Amphitheatre.
The week will conclude with a Careflight helicopter landing from 1-3 p.m. Saturday in the U lot.
For more information on Rescue Squad, visit udayton.edu/students/squad/index.php.