The Department of Emergency Medical Services (LUCEMS) reached an important milestone this past January, receiving its 1,000th call. To mark the achievement, the department honored both crew members on shift at the time of the call with $500 awards. The monetary awards were made possible through a collaboration of fundraising initiatives that the program has undertaken in the past year, including their successful CPR training program that features LUCEMS members teaching CPR to students. Due to privacy laws, no further information about the details of the call can be released.

The Department of Emergency Medical Services was created in 2008 when several students expressed an interest in starting a collegiate EMS program on campus. Since the program’s inception in 2008, it has grown each year, with more and more students going through training to become EMS responders. Also, thus far, more than a 1,000 people have been trained in CPR by LUCEMS members, demonstrating the growing reach of the program outside of its individual members.

LUCEMS Director Jonathan Winarski, 22, a senior health system management major, has been with the department since he was a freshman in 2009. He says that the LUCEMS call volume has increased every year since he’s been with the program.

“We are continually improving our program, and to be a part of the program, no matter at what level, allows me to be proud of the work we do because it makes a difference,” Winarski says. “It also shows that students are being safe. Whether it is looking out for an intoxicated friend, or someone who has sprained their ankle, people know to call us and they can trust us.”

Winarski says all students working as responders are full-time students who volunteer in their free time. The average shift lasts 14 hours and is unpaid. Each year, students volunteer for hundreds of hours in order to fulfill the commitment they made as EMS responders to care for the Loyola community.

“This program is a prime example of how students can live out the Jesuit mission of service to others by continually serving and asking for nothing in return,” says Winarski.

One of those student responders is Anna Presniakov, 21, senior health system management major. She is the executive supervisor of LUCEMS  and says her studies at Loyola helped prepare her for dealing with a number of difficult calls she faces as an EMS responder.

“I knew it would be a tough job going into it, but I learned that if you develop a pattern and turn the job into a habit, everything falls into place,” Presniakov says. “This position has taught me the benefits of being positive in stressful situations, asking for help if I need it, and to always, always, always expect the unexpected.”

The 1,000th call marks a milestone for the department and is a testament to helping the Loyola community in a meaningful way. That said, Winarski looks forward to improving the collegiate EMS program in the future.

“It is important that as we continue to be a part of Loyola, we continue to develop and strengthen our program. I believe over the past five years we have grown leaps and bounds, and I’m excited to see where we are five years from now.”

For more information on the LUCEMS program, please click here.