FUEMS Lends a Hand at NYC Marathon

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Nineteen student volunteers for Fordham University’s Emergency Medical Services (FUEMS) had some of the best seats in the house for this year’s Nov. 6 New York City Marathon.

But they weren’t spectators. They were part of the action, catching runners as they dove for the finish line and assisting for the medical tents.

“It was so exciting! Not only were we ensuring that the medical needs of the runners are met, but we got to be a friendly congratulatory face while doing it,” said Sarah Loftus, FCRH ’18, FUEMS secretary.

FUEMS is a student-run 24/7 volunteer ambulance organization that responds to all Rose Hill campus calls for help, as well as student emergencies in off-campus housing. As an important part of Fordham Health Services for 40 years, FUEMS has become an asset to campus emergency support; students involved in the organization are either certified New York State Emergency Medical Technicians— the same certification required by the FDNY— or First Responders.

At the marathon, the FUEMS students were put at the post-finish line to aid runners once they completed the race. They were trained to perform initial patient assessment, checking for common medical emergencies such as dehydration, fatigue, muscle cramps, hypo and hyperthermia, and hyponatremia.

“We screen the runner by asking what their current emergency is, obtaining their vital signs, assessing their stability as a patient, and possibly getting them any food or water,” said Loftus.

FUEMS students then alerted further medical personnel of the runners’ conditions, where further treatment was needed. After receiving care, runners usually stay in the medical tent for about 15 minutes, said Loftus, before they join their families waiting outside in Central Park.

Some students were also on hand to at the finish line to help runners who collapse after completing the race. They helped the runners get back on their feet or assisted them into golf carts so they could receive proper care.

This is FUEMS second year volunteering at the marathon. Last year, FUEMS chief Nishant Sahoo, FCRH ’16, coordinated with New York Road Runners (NYRR) to allow nine FUEMS volunteers at the 2015 marathon.

“I wasn’t as nervous as I was last year,” said Loftus. “Volunteering for the first time was pretty intense. The energy of the finish line medical tent keeps you on your toes, and you definitely become a pro at multitasking by the end of the day.”

This year, FUEMS was asked by NYRR to send volunteers again. The team this year consisted of 19 volunteers, a number, Loftus said, that is close to offering them a unique opportunity.

“NYRR has a program where if a group has at least 20 volunteers sign up, that group is credited with one guaranteed runner’s spot in next year’s marathon,” said Loftus. “Next year we hope to earn someone a run the marathon representing FUEMS!”

–Mary Awad

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