Round the clock? SERTainly!
By Claire La France
With the ceremonial cutting of a huge gauze bandage, Western's Student Emergency Response Team launched their new 24-hour on-call emergency response service on campus yesterday.
Previously, SERT was only available between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m.. Western follows the lead of MacMaster and Lakehead Universities in providing around-the-clock service.
Alex Drossos, communications director for SERT, said the decision to increase the availability of the emergency service was based on need within the Western community. "We were missing about 40 per cent of the calls," Drossos said.
The emergency response's role is to provide care in the time period between when an accident occurs on campus and when an ambulance can arrive on the scene, Drossos said. Often ambulance staff are not familiar with campus and it takes longer for the attendants to locate the area of the incident, he added.
Michelle Bacon, response coordinator for SERT, said the 45-member team of well qualified first aid volunteers will now work longer shifts around the clock in order to staff the extended service hours.
In addition, a room has been provided in Delaware Hall for SERT to use on their new overnight shifts.
"This is a huge development in personal safety on campus," said Insp. Bob Earle of the University Police Department speaking at the inaugural reception held yesterday in the Student Health Services Resource Centre. "It is a great privilege to work with SERT."
"This is really a monumental event even though the impact may not be obvious," said Tom Macfarlane, director of SERT and Student Health Services.
Anyone in need of emergency services on campus can contact SERT by pressing the free direct-link button on any campus emergency phone or main campus pay phone.