Imagine you’re walking back home on a Saturday night when you notice your roommate has gone one too many rounds with Jose Cuervo. Would you need help figuring out what to do and how to help them if they consumed more alcohol then they should have and can barely stand?
If something truly scary happened, you could call the emergency services number on the back of your OneCard and an EMT will be dispatched to wherever you are on campus.
Emergency Medical Services at LMU have been helping students — both drunk and sober — for over 35 years. Once the health center closes its doors for the day at 5 pm, EMS ensures that all students, faculty, and visitors have someone they can call in case of a medical emergency.
Becoming an EMT is a rigorous process. One must first complete 4-10 weeks of training (depending on the accelerated or regular option) through a nationally certified program taken online, then pass the National Registry Cognitive and Psychomotor Examinations (NREMT). But wait, there’s more — candidates must also apply for state certification. Many LMU EMTs completed their programs through UCLA.
Christina Noravian is an LMU senior and the current president of the EMS organization. She got EMT certified during the summer of 2020 but always planned on applying to the LMU EMS program. She was finally able to be in person with patients in the spring of 2021.
At LMU, EMS recruitment happens each semester: certified EMTs can fill out applications, then submit to a skills test and interview. Fifteen to 20 students apply every year.
After completing an interview with a range of questions testing their quick thinking on scenarios, as well as a set of tests to certify and observe their clinical skills — Noravian would not provide any specific questions so future applicants do not know what to expect —they may be offered a spot on the completely student-run team.
“There is a lot of coordination that goes on,” said Drew Hartz, a junior health and human sciences and political science double major and the current training officer for the organization “Like coordinating with the health center, student psychological services, public safety, and sometimes LAPD and LAFD. Occasionally having five to six calls in a night and having to go to class and be a student — it can be one of the hardest parts. Some of the calls we have can be tough too; they can be emotional and sensitive cases.”
Massive campus-wide events like Fallapalooza, lip sync, Greek football, and commencement are always a busy time. EMS sets up a station nearby where attendees can go for help in case anything happens — from a blister to a broken bone. For Fallapalooza, special training about heat- and drug-related cases is required, and every student on the team, or about 20 students, has to be on duty.
With the stress of being the designated people called when there is an emergency, the EMS team relies on one another. When a call comes inat 3 a.m., they rush together to help someone in need.
“People who completely volunteer to wake up in the middle of the night and go help people in need — that is a really special group,” said Hartz.
With many EMTs hoping to continue their medical career post-graduation: clinical hours are required for the med school application. These hours must be non-paid and volunteer-based thus LMU EMS serves as a great opportunity that can take them to the next phase of their career.
In the third week of October, the team welcomed new fall recruits to the group and had their yearly retreat, which took place in Big Bear. Noravian said a weekend in nature gave them an opportunity to bond with one another while hiking and other activities. To many of them, this team is the best part of the job.
“I came into college knowing I wanted to be pre-med, but never knew the concrete reason why exactly I wanted that — until I joined EMS,” said Noravian. “It made me realize I want to be a doctor. This has been such a great experience, with the best people.”