Never fear, a revamped GFR is here: Higher selectivity, new equipment, more funding

With the help of new equipment and revamped training sessions, Geneseo First Response – the on-campus, student-run emergency medical care provider – strives to offer the highest quality of care to students, staff and visitors to the college.

Although Geneseo First Response was established in 1974, according to GFR's Chief of Operations junior Gideon Cohen, it wasn't until five or six years ago that it became a New York State certified emergency medical service. With this distinction, Cohen said, GFR received more funding and instead of just transporting students to Lauderdale Health Center, the organization began providing on-site care. GFR now accompanies the ambulance to the scene of an emergency and stabilizes patients before they are taken to the hospital.

Cohen said GFR received 291 calls in 2011. While 100 of these calls were alcohol-related, the other 191 involved issues such as traumatic injuries, unconsciousness, allergic reactions and asthma attacks.

In light of the increasing number and difficulty of emergencies GFR addresses, the organization has recently updated its training requirements. "We always have to reevaluate our trainings to continue giving the quality care that we give," said sophomore Tim Kelly, the second assistant chief of the organization.

After a very selective application process – GFR only accepted 15 of its 95 applicants last semester – Kelly said GFR will hold more training sessions and will require both a written and a practical test before making a student's membership official.

"We hope all our members will become certified [emergency medical technicians]," Cohen said, citing another reason for higher training standards.

The increase in funding that came with becoming NYS certified has allowed GFR to purchase state-of-the-art equipment. "We have all of the capabilities of an ambulance with the exception of a backboard," Cohen said. In the past year, GFR has been able to purchase new pagers and a radio, suction and splints. The big purchase of the next few months will be an external defibrillator.

According to junior Caroline Schwartz, the first assistant chief, GFR is also working to "increase the amount of care we give outside of what we normally do." The organization does this by providing stand-by care at campus events. During last year's spring concert, GFR treated 17 patients. At the Kid Cudi concert this spring, the organization plans to have staff standing by as well.

GFR members attend the National Collegiate EMS Conference annually. This year, the conference was held in Baltimore, Md. and 90 - 100 student-based EMS services attended, coming from colleges in California to Alaska. Schwartz said that attending the conference helps GFR to set a foundation for yearly growth. "[At the conference,] we can interact and see what other schools are doing," she said. "It's nice to have that support."