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Students respond to emergencies on campus


Fanshawe nursing student Eileen Ju is in her second year with SERT, she is one of the 45 members on the team.

Jessica Thompson | Interrobang | News | October 11th, 2016

Fanshawe has many opportunities for students to get hands on experience and help others and one of the best examples for this is the Student Emergency Response Team (SERT).

The Emergency Management Office (EMO), with the help of student volunteers, developed SERT, a team of student who respond to medical and first aid emergencies on campus.

“You make an application to the team, you come in for an interview [and] if you are to be successful, we take you on board as a first responder and provide that training for free,” said Brent Arseneault, the emergency planning, fire and life safety specialist with the EMO at Fanshawe.

Applications are accepted in September each year and no prior experience is required.

“The basic qualification is you need to have standard first aid or basic first aid and once that happens we train you at the first responder level [for] free. If you were to pay for that outside, it would be $600 to $800,” Arseneault said.

It is on a volunteer basis, but with the training and the personal rewards, Arseneault stressed it is well worth the time put in.

“It’s $800 worth of training you are getting for free, it’s an opportunity for you to add that to your portfolio, it goes on your co-curricular, it goes on your academic transcript,” Arseneault said. “It’s just a win, win, win all over the board and you’re at school anyways so it is making the most of your time.”

Though this may seem like something that is geared towards paramedic students, SERT welcomes students in any program.

“We have nursing students, we have pre health students, we have students in mechanical engineering, we have students all over the college that participate,” Arseneault said. “It doesn’t have to be under the public safety umbrella, everyone is welcome.”

Second year Fanshawe, Western nursing student Eileen Ju is proof that not all members of SERT are paramedic students.

“That’s the misconception that we would hope to fix because mostly people think of SERT as a paramedic program, it’s not, people from all over the school can join,” Ju said. “That’s the big thing this year, we are advertising to all programs.”

According to Ju, programs such as SERT are nothing but rewarding, with her love of being a first responder starting when she volunteered with St. John’s Ambulance during university.

“I always enjoyed it, you get a chance to be up and close, you get a chance to be the first responder on scene and see what’s happening,” Ju said. “To be the first contact person for someone who is in distress, it is amazing because you have the ability to change the situation.”

Though being a first responder can be stressful, the training received and the fact that you always have back up, be it security or your partner, helps to alleviate the stress and help SERT members focus on what they are there to do: help people in distress.

“Each person brings something unique to the team, and we like seeing that,” Ju said. “We want to have a diverse team to represent Fanshawe because Fanshawe is diverse.”
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