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The Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service, or GERMS as it is also known, is a student-run, all-volunteer ambulance service, serving Georgetown University and the local community in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., including the main campus and the neighborhoods of West Georgetown, Burleith, and Foxhall, since 1982.[1] GERMS provides year round, 24/7 medical services, rapid response, treatment, and transport to hospitals in the Washington, D.C. area.[2] GERMS ambulances are equipped to offer basic life support services, including early defibrillation via automated external defibrillators, with advanced life support assistance available from Washington, D.C. Fire and EMS (DCFD).[3]

Founding and early history

In 1979, the Georgetown University Department of Emergency Medicine was presented with a converted E-Z-GO electric golf cart to serve as an EMS vehicle. This survival cart was operated under the supervision of Robert W. “Hap“ Arnold of the Emergency Medical Education Program and was used by medical students to staff athletic activities. Building upon this, GERMS was founded in 1982 by Mr. Arnold, Robert Doherty (College '83, Medical '87), and a group of enthusiastic students.[4]

Doherty's interest in starting GERMS stemmed from serving in a unique emergency service, Explorer Post 53 - Emergency Medical Services, in his high school in Darien, Connecticut. At Georgetown, Doherty saw a great need for faster emergency medical response on campus, especially so due to the convenience of having a medical center located on campus. Although the original proposal was submitted in November 1980, it was not until the fall of 1982 that he was able to get the necessary insurance to start GERMS.[5]

Originally, the proposal was for a basic system of operation consisting of two person duty crews carrying radio pagers to be dispatched by GUPS (Georgetown University Protective Services) to the scene of any medical emergency on campus. The crew members would stabilize the patient and determine the appropriateness and feasibility of transport in the survival cart. Each duty crew would have one Emergency medical technician (EMT) and one person with a minimum of Advanced First Aid and Basic Life Support certification. In 1982 the Nursing School debated and rejected the idea of establishing an EMT certification course for undergraduate credit as it did not fit into the nursing curriculum. The medical school and hospital, however, both agreed to assist GERMS members in teaching the course, although they would not be able to offer undergraduate credit. Since then, hundreds of Georgetown students and members of the community have been trained and certified as EMTs through GERMS.[6]

The spring of 1983 brought GERMS a second-hand ambulance (this vehicle first served as hearse, before being converted to EMS use). Beginning 1983-09-01, with a membership of 60 certified EMTs, GERMS began providing 24 hour service to the Georgetown University Main Campus community.[citation needed]

GERMS today

All GERMS are certified District of Columbia EMT-B's and all new members are required to maintain certification from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Two ambulances transport patients to Georgetown University Medical Center conveniently located on the University's main campus.[7]

GERMS is run entirely by undergraduate students of Georgetown University.[3] GERMS operations are governed by the Executive Board, while personnel matters and quality improvement efforts are handled by the Crew Chief Council. GERMS operates under the Department of Public Safety. On-line and operational medical control is provided by the Georgetown University Hospital's Emergency Department.

Currently, GERMS possesses two ambulances, the newest of which was acquired in 2011, one support vehicle, and enjoys a membership of over one-hundred DC certified EMT-B's, the large majority of whom are undergraduates.[8] A crew of three is on duty at all times, available by two-way radios and dispatched by Campus Police.[2] In addition to serving the Georgetown University Main Campus Community, GERMS members also participate in stand-by medical coverage for events at RFK Stadium and the National Mall - such as the Virgin Festival concert, athletic events, and the 2001 and 2005 Inaugurations of President Bush, as well as the 2009 Inauguration of President Barack Obama - at the request of the DC Office of Emergency Health and Medical Services and the DC Fire and EMS Department.[9]

Historical moments

References

  1. Tannenbaum, Adam R. (2006-04-26). "EMeRG hopes to get ambulance". GW Hatchet. http://www.gwhatchet.com/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticle&ustory_id=6081fe76-12e5-4d38-bf37-35cf0fbe9610. Retrieved 2007-04-24. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Stevens, Leonora (2003-10-17). "Pulling the Night Shift". The Hoya. Archived from the original on 2008-06-23. http://web.archive.org/web/20080623175702/http://www.thehoya.com/news/101703/news3.cfm. Retrieved 2007-04-26. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Koik, Daniel (2001-02-07). "Flashing lights and wailing sirens". The Georgetown Independent. Archived from the original on 2008-06-24. http://web.archive.org/web/20080624081310/http://media.www.thegeorgetownindependent.com/media/storage/paper136/news/2001/02/07/News/Flashing.Lights.And.Wailing.Sirens-26855.shtml. Retrieved 2007-04-26. 
  4. Founding and Early History. GERMS (2006-02-07). Archived from the original on 2008-06-23. Retrieved on 2007-04-24.
  5. Palko, Ian A. (2000-01-21). "Today's Georgetown Takes Shape". The Hoya. Archived from the original on 2004-01-05. http://web.archive.org/web/20040105114718/http://www.thehoya.com/news/80th/news8.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-25. 
  6. "Funds Help GERMS Spread". The Hoya. 2007-01-26. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. http://web.archive.org/web/20070929091320/http://www.thehoya.com/viewpoint/012607/view2.cfm. Retrieved 2007-04-24. 
  7. DaSilva, Ellen (2007-01-30). "Funding Hike Helps Resuscitate GERMS". The Hoya. Archived from the original on 2008-06-23. http://web.archive.org/web/20080623175654/http://www.thehoya.com/news/013007/news6.cfm. Retrieved 2007-04-25. 
  8. Malone, Noreen (2005-11-03). "New wheels for GERMS". The Georgetown Voice. http://georgetownvoice.com/2005/11/03/new-wheels-for-germs/. Retrieved 2007-04-26. 
  9. "News from Around the NCEMSF Regions". NCEMSF 11 (3). 2007. http://www.ncemsf.org/about/publications/newsletter/conference2007.pdf. Retrieved 2007-04-25. 
  10. Pradera, Emilie Lis (2005-09-29). "GERMS steps in for Red Cross". The Georgetown Voice. http://georgetownvoice.com/2005/09/29/germs-steps-in-for-red-cross/. Retrieved 2007-04-26. 
  11. "Leo’s food sickens 96". The Georgetown Voice. 2008-10-02. http://georgetownvoice.com/2008/10/02/leo-s-food-sickens-96/. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  12. "Contagious Virus May Have Caused Outbreak". The Hoya. 2008-10-02. http://www.thehoya.com/news/190-students-infected-in-campus-viral-outbreak/. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  13. "Nearly 100 Georgetown Students Sickened by Possible Food-Borne Illness". NBC4. 2008-10-01. http://www.nbc4.com/health/17598556/detail.html. Retrieved 2008-10-02. [dead link]
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