Senate considers fee for emergency services
The ASUA Senate will weigh in on the addition of a new service to its list of sponsored programs on Wednesday, which would provide immediate basic emergency medical care in response to 911 calls until professional emergency responders arrive.
Derek Smith, the manager of UA Student Emergency Medical Services, said UASEMS approached the Associated Students of the University of Arizona to ask to be a part of the programs and services because group members felt they fit with ASUA’s responsibilities, and they want to become more integrated in the university.
ASUA Administrative Vice President Paige Sager said ASUA agreed to consider taking on the liability of UASEMS as a program was because it completes the scope of safety that ASUA provides. ASUA already has programs like the Student Health Advocacy Committee and SafeRide to ensure and emphasize the safety of their students.
UASEMS responds to 911 calls using a bike team that provides immediate care until the Tucson Fire Department or a Southwest Ambulance arrives. Members focus on giving continuous chest compressions or administering an automated external defibrillator until the additional responders arrive.
UASEMS has been using space in the ASUA office to store equipment and provide desk space. Sager said UASEMS is transitioning to new offices at the Park Student Union, but the group is welcome to hold office hours and keep the desk at the ASUA office.
The change comes because UASEMS responds to Coronado Residence Hall most frequently and students will be able to respond faster to 911 calls if the program’s offices are closer.
Other than the office move, the service would not change significantly under ASUA, Sager assured.
“We don’t want to change the program necessarily because it’s been really successful so far,” Sager said. “The only things that would really change is they would be official [under ASUA programs], and we would adopt a lot of the liability.”
Students who work with UASEMS must go through 20 hours of vigorous bike training to ensure members are able to respond efficiently to emergency calls. In order to keep members up to date in their training, UASEMS holds monthly education courses and members perform mock drills during the week.
The program currently operates Monday through Saturday from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Smith said that, by partnering with ASUA, UASEMS hopes to become a 24/7 service.
A golf cart is also utilized for stand-by events and second calls. Teams of two or eight EMTs are available for people to request for their university event such as tailgating or football games.
The program became operational in March and has since been funded by the student services fee. UA Residence Life originally funded the program, said UASEMS founder Justin Friedenthal.
“It just makes sense,” Sager said. “Because when they are going to different fee boards they want to know that they are adopted by the university as opposed to an individual entity.”
When the program first started, there were only 15 members, Friedenthal said. Now there are 35, and UASEMS organizers hope to continue expanding if the senate approves it as an ASUA program
“My hopes are that we do become a service and that we are part of ASUA,” Friedenthal said. “And eventually that the UA notices us a little bit more and hopefully it helps us to get a little bit more
funds or bigger headquarters.”