At last, students will finally get to see what the two-year wait for the Medical Response Unit (MRU) was all about.
The new campus emergency transportation vehicle will be rolling onto campus Thursday on the Marshall Student Center lawn from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the official launching event.
Student Health Services (SHS), Student Government (SG) and the University Emergency Medicine Student Association (UEMSA) collaborated to curate an MRU to provide Basic Life Support (BLS) care for USF students, faculty, staff and guests.
Examples of BLS include vomiting, abdominal pain, broken bones and stitches, according to flyers created by UEMSA. In severe cases like head injuries, strokes, difficulty breathing or thoughts of self-harm, 911 should be immediately contacted.
UEMSA President Sebastian Smith explained that many BLS units are owned by private companies and some in the Tampa Bay area are not close enough to respond quickly. Some of these companies include Transcare, American Medical Response and Americare.
Wait times may range from 10 to over 35 minutes for private units, but times can be shortened with an MRU on campus.
SG allocated $74,300 in Activity and Service (A&S) fees to fund the MRU, as previously reported by The Oracle. In addition, SG will contribute $2,000 per year for the cost of external detailing and maintenance while SHS will provide quality control, medical direction, protocols and oversight.
In addition, UEMSA allocated $25,000 to purchase equipment for the MRU, including the stair chair, retrofit for the stretcher and power load, as previously reported by The Oracle.
The MRU will run during the hours of SHS — Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The vehicle has two designated parking spots: one behind the SHS building and the other near the College of Nursing.
The unit will also provide free medical transportation to SHS, the Morsani Center for Advanced Health Care and the on-campus residence halls for students, according to SHS’s website. To request the MRU, students can dial 813-974-4MRU.
Smith said that MRU staff will consist of student volunteers who are certified Emergency Medical Responders (EMR), Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) or paramedics with CPR cards.
“We certify all EMRs through an eight-week course every semester,” Smith said. “We also have volunteers who are EMTs and paramedics that have attended community colleges in the area and gotten certifications and licenses for the state of Florida.”
While MRU vehicles are new to USF, they can be seen on other campuses across Florida, including FSU and UF.
FSU’s MRU handles BLS as well and is stationed at campus events such as at intramural sports games and dance marathons, according to its website.
The Gator Emergency Medical Response Unit (GEMR) at UF is also volunteer-based and an entity of their university police department, according to the GEMR website.
“We decided to go with the van because, if it rains, we can protect our patients,” Smith said. “If it’s hot and our students are suffering from heat exhaustion, we can provide air conditioning. It also provides better privacy for the patient as well as store more equipment.”
Smith explained the MRU will act as an extra resource for safety on campus.
“We’re not trying to supplant 911 Emergency Medical Services (EMS),” Smith said. “We’re here as an additional layer to support specifically USF students, faculty and guests. We are here as an additional service either while EMS is on their way or to provide a basic life support unit.”