The History of Collegiate EMS

Colleges that provide emergency medical services to its students is a somewhat new phenomenon. There has always been some kind of medical personal that was in charge of taking care of their community. Multiple colleges in Virginia offer on campus rescue squads as a service to its students. Virginia Tech has one of the most well known on campus, student run rescue squads. The history of VTRS dates back to the late 1960’s. It was founded and is the second oldest collegiate rescue squad in the state of Virginia, and is the first to founded in the Commonwealth of Virginia (Wen, 2013). Currently, the station answers about 1200 calls a year and provides standby for many of the University’s sporting events.

This is the patch worn by all Virginia Tech Rescue Squad members.

Many other colleges and universities has modeled their own version of an on-campus rescue squad. Hampton-Sydney College, right here in Farmville, has a First Responders Team that provides early intervention for someone who has unfortunately become a victim of an accident. This early intervention is crucial in saving lives and providing the best treatment. It may take a county rescue squad 10 minutes to get onto the scene of an accident, but if that accident happens on Hampton-Sydney’s campus, those victims will have a higher survival rate because of the early interventions done by the first responders. By no means is it a complete replacement for a county rescue squad, but it does help bridge the gap in response time.

Longwood doesn’t have a very long history of teaching medical services to students. Longwood’s nursing program started in 2008 with it’s very first graduating class being the class of 2013. Before then, the only medical classes that were offered through Longwood and was recognized as credit classes are the Emergency Care and First Aid class, and the Basic Emergency Care and First Aid class. Both of these classes have been offered to students for the past 6 years, but the class size itself was small. As you can see in the table below, there was never more than 48 students enrolled in that class per semester. When you have a campus of 5,000 students, it simply isn’t a big enough class size. In the earlier years, it was even restricted by major. For example, if you add together the total class numbers from both classes for the Fall of 2013, there was only 55 students on a campus who could provide some basic emergency medical intervention. That’s 9% of the student body (if we use the average of 5,000 total students). The other 90.9% of the student body doesn’t have the training to react in the correct way in an emergency situation. That is a very dangerous situation, but it can be very easy rectified.

This table shows the break down of the number of individuals who have taken some kind of emergency medical training class. This list breaks down into year, semester, the number of sections and then compares both the classes side by side.

Longwood does offer a new program that is trying to get up off the ground. The Longwood University Campus Emergency Response Team is a group on campus with the main goal of providing medical assistance in the case of an emergency. The problem is that the group is very small and relatively new. They also lack funding from the University, which makes it hard for them to do much on campus. Without proper staffing and proper funding, the organization will die off. By making it mandatory for all incoming freshman attend a 2 hour seminar where they learn the basics of first aid, there will be much more of a possible interest in the medical field, while making the campus safer at the same time. More students can become interested in organizations like the CERT team or the rescue squad if they want to peruse more knowledge and more training in that field.

I am not advocating that Longwood needs to create an on-campus rescue squad. The campus is just too small right now, and the county rescue squad is only a few miles away. Instead, it is important to being teaching preventive measures to help fellow students in the case of an emergency. After more experienced and highly trained individuals like EMTs and Paramedics get on scene, they can take over providing treatment. By providing some very basic training to incoming freshman on how to handle various emergency situations. In four years, that means almost 100% of the student body will be able t provide assistance to a victim who may be in a life threatening situation. This makes Longwood a safer campus for everyone: students, professors, visitors, and everyone that student encounters outside of campus. It’s a win-win situation.

–Here is the link to Longwood’s Emergency Response Team if you have any interest in joining:


Work Cited (MLA):

Wen, Johnny. “Virginia Tech Rescue Squad- VTRS.” Virginia Tech Rescue Squad. Virginia

Tech, n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2013. <>.


Critical Source Summary:

I chose this website as my critical source summary because it is very important to a lot of my information. Virginia Tech Rescue Squad is one of the oldest collegiate rescue squads in the country so a lot of other on campus rescue organizations have modeled their bylaws, procedures, applications, and overall operating system to look like VTRS. Without VTRS’s history, there would be very few collegiate rescue organizations today. This website offers history, statistics, events, membership information, and much more to answer questions that anyone could have.

One thought on “The History of Collegiate EMS

  1. So, forget my comment in the next post about an on campus rescue squad. I just thought it would be a good idea to have because there are always emergencies and like you said sometimes the Prince Edward rescue squad is busy on another call. I wish I knew where the funding for the school went because in my eyes there is no reason that we do not have enough money to get it started. There doesn’t have to be an ambulance provided, if it is that much of an emergency then the Prince Edward county can be called. Stick to your plan with having the required training and maybe you can mention in your proposal how it would be nice to have an on campus rescue squad one day.

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