EMS serevice available for WIU students in trouble at night

Karin Lewis

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When seeking help, students have the option of calling WIU’s own Emergency Medical Service, located on campus. “Western’s EMS is going into its sixth year of operation,” Bob Baxter, EMS adviser, said.

“Our EMS is a group of WIU student volunteers that assist WIU students and visitors with any medical needs.

“The Office of Public Safety answers the phones, which can be reached by dialing 911. The OPS then dispatches by radio the EMS. Then a minivan EMS vehicle responds to the call,” Baxter added.

The EMS volunteers and vehicle are located in Olson Hall 316. This makes on-campus emergencies accessible quickly and efficiently.

EMS can be reached seven days a week from 6:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. It is only available at night because all the student volunteers attend daytime classes.

EMS receives an average of 30 calls every month. Between last fall and this spring, approximately half of the calls EMS received were alcohol-related.

In April, 20 runs were made by EMS – 10 of those runs were reported as alcohol-related.

During May, seven of the nine total runs were reported as being related to alcohol.

The majority of calls received by EMS are from residence halls. In January, approximately 82 percent of the calls came from residence halls; statistics from other months are very similar.

Higgins and Wetzel halls had the highest number of calls between August 1997 and May 1998.

WIU’s EMS is a reliable service that staffs many WIU students.

“We have about 45 student members. Half are called EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians). The other half are called First Responders. First Responders must take a 40-hour course on medical procedures,” Baxter said.

Now in its sixth year, EMS has been working at improving its services. “Last year we got affiliated with the McDonough (District) Hospital where there is a 24-hour doctor on staff. The Beu Health Center on campus does not have a 24-hour doctor, so this is an added benefit to our service,” Baxter said.

“We also just got affiliated with the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services,” Baxter added.

Ron Torkilson, WIU senior, is in charge of overseeing day-to-day operations. Any questions concerning EMS can be directed to Bob Baxter or Ron Torkilson at OPS by calling (309) 298-1949. ps sf cw