Geneseo First Response celebrates 40 years by revamping programs

As of this semester, Geneseo First Response will celebrate its 40th year of service. GFR started in 1974, and it is an on-campus, student-run organization that provides emergency medical services to students, faculty and visitors. According to GFR’s Chief of Operations senior Kyle Parnell, it was originally part of the Lauderdale Health Center and served as a transportation service for people with medical needs to the health center. The campus community expressed a need for an on-campus emergency medical service, so GFR left the Health Center. The organization is now a New York State EMS Agency.

Parnell explained that GFR gives Geneseo students and their parents a sense of security, adding that there are at least two or three people alive today because of the GFR team.

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, GFR has planned several on-campus events, is revamping the training process and working hard to increase professionalism.

“We’ve made our training process more intense,” Parnell said. “We took in more applications this year than we have since the past five years. We’re planning on accepting more members than we usually do, training more members than we usually do and increasing our level of professionalism and the impact that we can have on campus.” All new members participate in a rigorous six-week training program in which they are assigned a mentor and encouraged to take training into their own hands.

“It’s a whole new process for them where it’s just constant checking of training skills,” Parnell added. “We want [new members] to be more involved, not only on actual calls, but in their own training.”

GFR press release coordinator senior Jamie Tyler explained that GFR will also update its wardrobe.

“We’re vamping up our attire too. We’re changing from t-shirts to polos because they look more professional,” Tyler said. “We’re making a new rule where we can’t wear jeans anymore when we’re on duty. When we respond to the call, we want someone to feel like they’re in competent hands.”

She went on to describe GFR’s participation in the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Foundation’s Collegiate EMS Week on Nov. 10-16, which Geneseo hasn’t been a part of in several years.

“It’s just kind of to get the campus involved and get them learning about EMS and our importance on campus,” Tyler said. “It’s just also a fun way to get involved.”

Parnell explained that all of the Collegiate EMS Week events will take place in public places such as the College Union lobby or patio. “We want people to [recognize us], be involved and ask questions about GFR,” he said.

GFR is also planning a fall picnic for GFR members, people looking to apply or anyone curious about what the First Response team does.

“There’s going to be an event every day,” Parnell said. “Beyond that, we always encourage people to ask questions, [and] come down to the squad room [to] see if anyone’s in there.”