URI-EMS receives “Striving for Excellence” honor from National Collegiate EMS Foundation

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Award recognizes URI as national leader among first response units

KINGSTON, R.I. – March 18, 2009 – Continuing to build its reputation as a national leader among on-campus first response units, the University of Rhode Island Emergency Medical Service unit was recognized with a “Striving for Excellence in Campus EMS” honor from the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation.

The honor goes to campus emergency care units that are recognized for outstanding quality. URI was one of seven campus organizations to receive the recognition during the National Collegiate EMS Foundation annual conference held in Washington, D.C. from Feb. 27 through March 1. Joining URI-EMS were Columbia University EMS, Cornell University EMS, Muhlenberg College EMS, Rice University EMS, the University of Dayton Rescue Squad and the University of Delaware Emergency Care Unit.

“We’ve worked very hard to voluntarily increase our professionalism and quality of care through the years even though they may not have been required or mandated by any process or regulation,” said Cmdr. Shad U. Ahmed, chief of URI-EMS.

URI-EMS was lauded for its in-depth and thorough administration that includes policies to address a wide variety of situations and an organizational structure that can adapt to almost any situation that arises.

With more than 300 member organizations across the United States and Canada, the National Collegiate EMS Foundation was established in 1993 in response to the need for information exchange among campus EMS groups.

“For our organization to be one of seven recognized nationally out of 300 is a validation of the tremendous effort that we have undertaken to become accredited,” said Josh Manfredo, vice commander and deputy chief.

The honor from the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation comes on the heals of URI-EMS being tabbed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to develop a national training program for mass evacuation planning for institutions of higher education.

Ahmed, who also is director of the National Institute for Public Safety Research Training, is the principal investigator for the three-year, $1.9 million grant. Through the grant, the Institute will research and develop a training curriculum targeting homeland security planning officials to increase the survival rate in the event of critical campus incidents. The training program will introduce basic concepts in mass evacuation, disaster psychology and the mechanics of pedestrian evacuation via Web-based and on-site delivery.

The grant from the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency is part of more than $27 million in funding awarded nationwide to develop and deliver innovative training programs addressing high-priority national security needs under the Competitive Training Grants Program. URI is one of 11 institutions nationally to be chosen for this program, which is designed to be a catalyst for strengthening national preparedness initiatives for first responders, public officials and citizens.

Founded in 1985, the URI-EMS provides aid to surrounding communities in addition to its on-campus coverage for the Kingston and Narragansett Bay campuses. Its volunteer crews provide coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the entire year. URI-EMS is an entirely volunteer operation.

“We feel proud to be held as a model organization for colleges and universities across the nation to look at,” said Emily Paul, corpsman II and administrative manager.

The University of Rhode Island Emergency Medical Services crew received the “Striving for Excellence in Campus EMS” honor from the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation earlier this month. URI Department of Communications & Marketing photo by Michael Salerno Photography.