Westmont Magazine Training Students in Case of Medical Emergency

Thirty Westmont students have been certified in CPR/first aid thanks to a new group that seeks to create a safer environment on campus. Paige Freeburg ’24 has brought her passion for helping others to the student-led group Westmont Student Emergency Medical Services (SEMS).

Even though Campus Safety officers patrol the college 24/7, Freeburg says having trained students on campus could make a difference in an emergency situation before paramedics arrive.

“I hope that Westmont SEMS will become a functional unit providing an overnight, on-call system of EMTs for students to get immediate help as well as providing certification classes,” she says. “We strive to help create a culture of safety and equip as many community members as possible with the knowledge of how to save a life.”

Jason Tavarez, director of institutional resilience, provides administrative support for the group. “They’re creating a space for currently certified students to keep their skills sharp, and they hope to expand those skills with others on the team,” he says.

“Paige’s tenacity and dogged determination to get this team off the ground has impressed me. She has recruited current, certified EMS students, created an administrative group to help promote the team, and added validity to this project. The group includes amazing students. I’m so impressed with their ability to be this organized.”

Tavarez says as SEMS expands, a large group of students will be available to help in a variety of emergency situations, creating a safer environment for everyone on campus.

“I hope we can find a doctor to serve as the medical director of the team, allowing them to provide first aid and EMS services to students and sports teams on campus,” Tavarez says. “I envision them overseeing club sports and providing EMS services for competitions and practices and possibly joining with Campus Safety for first aid and triage services. I’d love to integrate them into our emergency response team for disasters that affect the entire campus community.”

Freeburg, who obtained her EMT license in summer 2021, majors in biology on the pre-med track. She hopes to attend medical school. “I’ve assisted with incidents such as seizures, COPD, asthma, heat stroke, broken bones (even a femur fracture), and more,” she says. “I’m also trained in opioid overdose, diabetic emergencies and epi-pen administration. The skills I obtained from my EMT license have proven crucial. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.”