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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    SBVAC sirens heard on and off campus

    The Stony Brook Volunteer Ambualnce Corps trains with the hospital and police. (Photo Credit: Joseph Park)

    The Stony Brook Volunteer Ambulance Corps serves more than just the Stony Brook campus community.

    “We’re always on call,” said Joseph Park, a biochemistry major and the president of SBVAC. “We’re on during Christmas, the Fourth of July, and during all major holidays and intersessions.”

    SBVAC is the primary Emergency Medical Service, or EMS, responder for campus emergencies, covering medical issues at concerts and sporting events. The Emergency Medical Technicians, or EMTs, also respond to medical crises at the Long Island Veterans Home and works with fire departments in Stony Brook, Setauket and Centereach. In addition, SBVAC is on duty during Suffolk County events.

    According to Park, one of SBVAC’s missions is to raise awareness. The corps participates in fire safety events around campus, coordinating with residence halls and the Stony Brook community and providing CPR training on campus. SBVAC works with  students majoring in personal training by teaching them how to deal with patients with spinal injuries.

    The corps also participates in a program called Citybear Clinics, in which they visit elementary schools with an actual ambulance truck. This program teaches students not to fear first responders, and the EMTs treat teddy bears in front of the students. According to Park, who is a graduate, one of the students who participated in the Teddy Bear Clinics program successfully called emergency medical services when his mother needed medical attention.

    “I joined as a freshman. I knew I was looking into a pre-health field,”  Daniel Wolbrom, a senior biology major said. “I wanted something more hands-on than working in a hospital so I went to a SBVAC informational and applied.”

    Wolbrom currently serves as a crew chief, which is a head of individual response teams, and is also the head of operations, which is the head of all crew chiefs. He is responsible for deciding how to respond to certain situations.

    Park also said SBVAC accepts applicants every semester. While SBVAC receives applications from licensed EMTs, most applicants are not certified. Those who are not certified are required to take a SBVAC version of an EMT course, which involves weekly seven-hour lectures and sign-offs on a certain amount of hours of field training. After completing this preliminary stage, SBVAC sponsors applicants to take the New York state course for EMT certification, usually valued at about $700.

    The corps also trains with the University hospital and police for events involving mass casualties such as major bus accidents.

    During the regular semester, the EMTs wear navy blue work pants with dark work boots and a blue polo with their name and the organization on the back. New members wear jumpsuits until they meet the EMT qualifications expected of corps members.

    “It’s an honor to get a uniform,” Park said.

    SBVAC was founded by students in 1970. Stony Brook had a modified station wagon with essential EMT supplies as opposed to an ambulance.

    Wolbrom likes the amount of responsibility that is bestowed upon the EMTs. He enjoys that he is given responsibility that is normally given to a 30-year-old nine years earlier.

    “My favorite part about being a part of SBVAC is the people I’ve met,” Jacqueline Cohen, a truck driver for SBVAC and senior biology major, said. Cohen also said that she feels as if she has made good connections and likes interacting with patients.

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