First responders win first place
Competing in the First Responder category for the first time, the University of Waterloo’s Campus Response Team swept the top two spots at the Tri-University response team competition in Guelph this past Saturday.
The win was the CRT’s first in a competition that put each team through a rigorous set of simulations where their treatment of minor and major injuries, from internal bleeding and seizures to a fractured femur, was evaluated by representatives from the Association of Campus Emergency Response Teams (ACERT).
“The competitions are designed to ensure that each situation is as realistic as possible,” said Melad Kamran, the leader of the winning team, “and many of the situations that we encountered were injuries that we have had to deal with on past shifts, from minor cuts and bruises to dislocated joints and other things requiring immediate medical attention.”
The two Waterloo teams were facing off against two teams from the University of Guelph and one from Wilfrid Laurier University, and the move up to the First Responder level from the standard First Aid level represented a significant commitment from CRT members.
First Aid certification consists of a two-day, 16-hour course, while the First Responder course is 40 hours long and represents a significant step up in preparation levels. Both certifications prepare someone to perform First Aid, but First Responder training — which is what most firefighters or police officers receive — places a greater emphasis on the application of knowledge to more dynamic situations.
For the members of the winning teams - Kamran, Sheila Chan, Michael Li, Muneeb Mohammed, Matthew Wong, and Nicole Garcia - the competition served as a nice benchmark to judge their development and improve their ability to respond to real emergencies.
“The experience that we get from these competitions [offers] a better perspective of where we’re at and what we need to do to keep improving,” said Melad. “I think that this will help us develop and improve the services that we provide to the university, and that should result in a safer environment for all students.”
Saturday afternoon’s competition involved a series of six simulations, each 8-12 minutes long, and were staged in residences, lecture rooms and other locations around the University of Guelph campus. Each team completed each simulation and were judged according to ACERT guidelines, developed in coordination with response teams from across the country.
The teams also had the chance to participate in training sessions, an opportunity to refresh their skills and add to their training with sessions ranging from dealing with head injuries and depression to learning to account for behavioural changes due to drug or alcohol when treating an injury.
”Being a co–ordinator of a team, I was able to assess how our team was doing and benefit from the speakers that were there and improve on my own skills,” said Kamran. “It was definitely useful for improving our skills.”