Marissa Filletti, staff writer
Back in the fall of 2014, UC sophomore and certified EMT Anthony Scalise was at Convocation when a student had a medical emergency and collapsed. After helping to keep the student stable until the ambulance arrived, Scalise realized that although campus safety was there, he was the only person with the medical training to safely and effectively care for the student at the time.
“During a medical emergency, those minutes waiting for an ambulance to arrive are crucial,” Scalise said. “My Dad works at Hamilton College and they have had students who are certified EMTs responding to campus emergencies for quite some time. It just makes sense. In that moment at Convocation, I knew I needed to do my part in establishing an emergency medical services (EMS) club at UC.”
From there, Scalise contacted Wayne Sullivan, director of campus safety, to discuss the steps that needed to be taken to make this happen. Being that medical care on campus is primarily handled by the health center, Scalise began working with the director of the health center, Julie Murawski.
“When Anthony came to me about starting up UCEMS, I couldn’t have been happier,” Murawski said. “I knew that it would take a great deal of work to get the club up and running but I knew that having the EMTs available to respond for medical issues on campus along with Campus Safety would provide another level of care for our entire campus.”
Scalise and Murawski quickly began the search for other certified EMTs on campus, advertising in the Daysheet and gaging whether or not there was interest on campus.
Utica College Emergency Medical Services (UCEMS) was officially accepted as an organization on campus by the UC Senate on Nov. 5, 2014.
Once UCEMS was officially a campus organization, the next step was attaining a New York State Basic Life Support (BSL) agency code, which would ultimately give them permission to begin responding to emergencies on campus. That good news finally came on Nov. 30, 2014.
Although Scalise couldn’t be happier to begin actively using his medical training to keep UC safe, he didn’t stop there. He wanted the club to continue to grow.
The club recently changed its name to the Utica College Emergency Medical Alliance, UCEMA, to represent all of its 37 members, not just its five EMTs. The organization offers CPR and first aid classes each semester, so anyone who’s interested can join.
“You absolutely do not have to be an EMT to join UCEMA,” Scalise said. “UCEMS still operates in responding to campus emergencies but we wanted this to be even bigger than that. We have everyone from nursing and biology majors to criminal justice majors taking part in our trainings and receiving their certifications.”
After a lengthy process, UCEMA officially began responding to campus emergencies alongside campus safety this year on Feb. 1.
“If there is an emergency on campus, students will call campus safety just as they always have,” Scalise said. “Campus safety will then dispatch UCEMS and we will collectively respond to the call.”