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Firefighters take 40-hour EMT refresher course

By Julia Werth
On March 9, 2014

The number of alcohol-related calls to the UConn Fire Department has risen by 10 calls per month since last year.
From Jan. 1st to March 1st of 2014 there were 511 total incidents that the fire department responded to, 57 of which were alcohol related.
"We are and have been trending up in recent years," Captain Steven Garvin of the UConn Fire Department said.
Students should not be scared to call for help if they, their friend, or a complete stranger has been drinking and may need medical attention.
"It is not illegal to be intoxicated, it is illegal to be carrying a container, but the law does not call your body a container," Lieutenant Heidi Vaughan said.
The calls come from all over-dormitories, walkways and off-campus apartments, and from all types of people-friends, RAs, random passersby or even the police.
Despite the increases in medical calls, the fire department remains prepared and ready to get to the aid of any student in trouble on or near campus. Every three years each employee at the fire department must renew their certification as an EMT and this past week several firefighters went through a 40-hour refresher course.
The course reviews everything from how to perform CPR to open wound care to administering EpiPens and inhalers.
"The instructors, who are also employees of the fire department, review any new protocols that have come from the hospital as well," Vaughan said.
This year new advice for handling patients with back injuries has come out and was taught during the course.
"It turns out that people with back injuries are better off not on a back board, moving them is far worse than letting them move themselves," Vaughan said.
On the final day of the course, the firefighters went through testing stations where they were evaluated for their competency in each medical task they may have to perform around campus.
"We need to make sure we know what we are doing," Vaughan said, "so that when we go out to help students everything can go as smoothly as possible and nobody gets hurt."

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