EMS responders on campus

Imagine watching an avalanche taking down a friend, or maybe a fellow hiker twisting an ankle, or a stranger going into cardiac arrest. Ryan Demmendaal and Jaden Walle know how to respond and they are eager to share their knowledge.

Demmendaal is the president of the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Responders Club at MSU. He is trained as a combat medic, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), in pre-hospital care and search and rescue. Vice president of the EMS Club, Walle is trained as a wilderness EMT.

The EMS Club, which started last semester, hosts meetings and trainings on campus. In the last semester they have been the medical support for Run for the Roses, Run for your Life and Relay for Life. They recently teamed up with the MSU WILD club to give an avalanche beacon training course. The club assists students in learning more about how to get certified in EMS, as well as general training.

“Being an EMS first responder is a great way to get started in the healthcare field. You receive great experience with patient and hands-on medical care. It is a great way to start building a resume toward becoming a nurse, paramedic or doctor,” Demmendaal said.

“Even backcountry enthusiasts benefit from this type of training,” Demmendaal added. The club has connections with Chris Call, the EMT instructor on campus, Summit Air Ambulance, Katie Boyce with Inter Mountain Medical Educators (IMME) as well as others. In the future they hope to provide scholarships and discounts for students interested in receiving training.

Besides the obvious intrinsic benefits of being a EMT, a person can also receive pay, credit and continuing education hours, or even a free ski pass for being a ski patroller. “When a call goes out that is a huge adrenaline rush. I love to help people … it is a lot of fun and addicting,” said Demmendaal.

“Our goal is to turn into an operating stabilization and first assessment service on campus,” said Demmendaal about the future of the club. In theory, they would respond to all 911 calls on campus including the dorms. The EMS responders would also be on standby for games, club sports and SUB events. All volunteers would receive experience with EMS work while going to school. Currently Bozeman Fire Station #2 and American Medical Response take calls with a response time of up to 15 minutes. By becoming an operating service on campus, the EMS Club could cut response time to two to three minutes.

In April, the EMS and MSU WILD Club with IMME will be putting on backcountry medicine classes covering topics such as how to put on a splint, treat hypothermia, dehydration and burns. For more information visit their Facebook page: EMS Responders on Campus.