UMass EMS is a University Agency consisting of undergraduate students (occasionally graduate students as well) employed through the department of Environmental Health and Safety. All members of UMass EMS must be certified in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at the level of EMT-Basic or above. UMass EMS was originally founded as a volunteer fire department. It currenty consists of approximately 120 members who work as EMTs and Fire Marshals at most on-campus events. These include sporting events (basketball, football, hockey), rock concerts, theater performances, as well as a variety of other events. Member responsibilities primarily involve providing first aid to participants and spectators as necessary and performing building fire safety inspections prior to the events (for theater and concert hall performances).
The number of patients we see during a detail is largely dependent upon the type of event. During theater performances, for instance, the patient volume is much lower, so one of our primary duties is performing fire safety inspections. Our patient volume increases a great deal for large sporting events or rock concerts held at the Mullins Center. For these types of events, we function as first responders in the EMS system with our own equipment or equipment housed at the facility. We see a mix of walk-in patients and patients to whom we are dispatched by event staff or the UMass Police Department (UMPD). We are in radio contact with UMPD and the fire inspector on duty and oftentimes work in conjunction with Amherst Fire Department (AFD) paramedics during concerts.
For larger events, we staff both a primary first aid room and triage room for patients awaiting the next available transportation. This transportation is provided by Amherst Fire Department (AFD).
Our unit operates on a relatively low budget. We are able to do this through support from other organizations on campus--Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S), the Student Government Association (SGA), and University Health Services (UHS). EH&S allows us use of their vehicles for transportation of equipment to events and supplies us with radios, the SGA provides us with much of our non-revenue-based funding, and UHS provides us with some of our disposable medical supplies, oxygen refills, and takes care of our biohazard disposals. UMass EMS purchases much of its own equipment, from large, reusable pieces to simple bandaids and other disposables, with money from its revenue and SGA funding accounts.. For events in which the anticipated demand exceeds our supplies, we have been able to borrow additional supplies such as backboards, collars, etc. from the Amherst Fire Department.
The money necessary for the maintenance and improvement of our equipment, then, comes from the following sources:
- Revenue from the EMT Training class offered each semester
- Profits from CPR classes that are taught by unit members and open to the public
Note that no income comes from billing for treatment--our patients are never charged a dime. The sponsors of the event always pay our wages, which are independent of the number of patients treated.
Unit Orgnization and Operation
The unit is run by our board of directors, who are voted into office every December. There are five positions: Executive Director, Director of Operations, Director of Finance, Director of Administration, and Director of Training. Meetings are held every two weeks for detail scheduling or in-house training and the Board of Directors holds meetings before general meetings as well as informal meetings on off-weeks.. Detail assignment priority is determined by a point system, where members earn points based on the number of details worked or volunteer work since the last scheduling meeting.
Current undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students are eligible to become active members in the unit on a space available basis. Recruiting drives are held every fall. Should more students apply than the unit can support, students who meet the requirements are admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis as active members. Students who meet the requirements but cannot be employed due to lack of positions are eligible to be on the unit's mailing list. The requirements of active members are listed below, with an asterisk meaning that the unit provides the training once a student has been admitted:
- Mass. E.M.T. certification (EMT-Basic minimum)
- CPR (ARC Professional Rescuer or AHA Healthcare Provider) certification
- Fire Safety training*
- Fire Extinguisher training* - required every semester
- Attendance at all bi-weekly informational and training meetings (unless excused)
- Pass both Written and Practical EMT-B standardized exams, taken at Orientation
- Commit to membership required hours
New members are considered probationary for at least their first semester and must always work with a non-probationary member.
If you are currently certified as an EMT-B in Massachusetts and would like to inquire about joining please contact Jon Shecter.