Colby Emergency Response
Colby Emergency Response (CER) was founded to provide the Colby College campus with exceptional and reliable emergency medical coverage 24 hours a day during the school term.The service is a volunteer first-responder organization whose goal is to provide optimum patient care utilizing resources both on and off campus. CER aims to provide emergency care to patients as well as to transfer care in the most appropriate manner, whether it is to the Garrison-Foster Health Center, Delta Ambulance, Waterville Fire & EMS, or another medical facility. The organization shall also provide members with opportunities for obtaining continuing education as well as experience in the emergency medical field. It is the responsibility of the officers and members to stay up to date with Maine and national EMS protocols and apply them in such a manner that best suits the Colby College campus.
Emergency Information and CERThe Garrison-Foster Health Center does not provide emergency medical care. We employ the services of Colby Emergency Response (CER), a student-run group of emergency medical technicians, who are able to respond to a wide variety of medical emergencies. If you have a medical emergency, please call 207-859-5911 and Security will dispatch CER rescuers. When in doubt, call for CER. When CER responds, they will provide medical care and make one of three determinations:
- Dispatch Delta Ambulance for transport to the emergency room
- Provide transportation to the Garrison-Foster Health Center
- Clear patient if no medical treatment is required
AboutCER is a student-run organization of volunteer Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) working as an extension of the Garrison-Foster Health Center. As EMTs, the squad provides on-scene basic life support (BLS) for medical emergencies within the Colby College community. CER is a non-transport, first-responder service that requires minimal licensing at the EMT level. Although all of CERs members must maintain a Maine EMT certification or higher, CER is not a Maine EMS (MEMS) licensed service. CER operates under protocols provided by the medical director, Dr. Paul Berkner, and the Garrison-Foster Health Center. The Garrison-Foster Health Center also acts as medical control. Current protocols are modifications of the Maine state EMS protocols, with additional consideration given to ALS-intercepts and patient transport. When prudent, patients are transported to MaineGeneral-Thayer Emergency Department in Waterville or transferred to Advanced Life Support (ALS) care—most often provided by Delta Ambulance and Waterville Fire/Rescue. During the academic year, CER is available to members of the Colby community 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Volunteer rescuers run 24-hour shifts on a per-diem basis. CER has two levels of rescuers: a Rescue-One—the senior rescuer on call who is the primary rescuer in charge of overseeing the scene—and the Rescue-Two, the junior rescuer on call. There is always a Rescue-One on duty when CER is in service. Additional rescuers may be placed in service for concerts and other special events that require additional personnel. While on duty, rescuers carry rescue packs and radios and have access to additional gear (including oxygen, suction, an OB kit, and another defibrillator) stored in the security vehicles. CER’s equipment inventory is based on the standard required of a Maine BLS first-response agency; however, the inventory has been modified to this service’s unique operations on a collegiate campus without an ambulance. CER is dispatched by Colby Security and works closely with their officers; officers respond simultaneously with CER and are always available to assist on scene. In addition to providing emergency medical care, CER also serves as an on-campus resource for emergency medicine education. Some services provided include: Continuing Education Unit (CEU) opportunities, guest speakers, information about EMS-related classes offered in the area, and general information about EMS and EMS-related employment opportunities. American Heart Association CPR/BLS classes are also offered by CER periodically throughout the semester.
HistoryIn 1978 a group of EMT-trained Colby students saw the need for a first-responder service on campus. Soon, these students founded Student Primary Emergency Care Service (SPECS). Cate Talbot Ashton ’80 recalls that Jim Elmore ’80 and Alice Domar ’80 were the founders; they took an EMT-B class with Waterville Fire Rescue. At first, SPECS had no formal communications system and it was up to the nurse on duty to call each EMT’s room with the hopes that someone was there. In 1979, with assistance from Health Services, Security, and Student Government, SPECS was given radio pagers, which aided communications. Keep in mind that this was the era when 911 EMS services were beginning to start around the country; Colby was already ahead of the curve. As the years progressed, so did SPECS. A Jan Plan EMT course was offered soon after SPECS’ founding and student interest in the EMS system grew. By 1985 SPECS boasted more than a dozen members. As the 1980s progressed, the call volume began to pick up and instead of responding to a handful of incidents, SPECS members now responded to dozens of incidents each year. In 1988 SPECS’ name was changed to Colby Emergency Response (CER). Over the next several years, CER expanded and changed the location of its squad room several times, from Dana to Roberts to its current location in the Garrison-Foster Health Center. CER saw some major calls in the 1990s, with students falling from windows and a car accident on campus. As always, motivated and professional student EMTs responded and helped to protect lives. CER now boasted a membership of more than 25 rescuers. With the new millennium came some major changes for CER. In 2003 the health center closed 24-hour care due to a national nursing shortage. Lacking applicable protocols when the health center closed, CER was forced to limit its operations to the hours when the health center was open. Shortly thereafter, 24-hour care returned as did 24/7 service by CER. In 2009 the College announced that the Health Center would be shutting down overnight care permanently due to a lack of available resources and limited use of the overnight services by students. CER was well prepared to fill this apparent gap and under the direction of the medical director of the College, CER continued to remain a 24/7 operation. A highly trained group of senior rescuers were charged as the primary caregivers to students when the Health Center was closed. If needed, these rescuers had the services of local hospitals, Delta Ambulance, and the on-call practitioner to assist with calls beyond their level of care. As a result of these recent changes, CER’s relationship with these organizations has continued to thrive due to the high quality of care provided by CER’s rescuers. At the same time, with national concerns regarding EMS response times and scene safety coming to the spotlight, CER added another component to its relationship with Colby Security. On weekends, a senior rescuer would now ride with a security officer to provide care to students more quickly. In the coming years, CER will undoubtedly continue to grow and thrive, as it has since its inception in 1978.
Frequently Asked Questions
To reach CER in an emergency dial the emergency security number: 207-859-5911. Be prepared to say where you are and give a brief description of why you are calling.
CER is dispatched by Colby Security and works closely with their officers. Security officers respond simultaneously with CER and are always available to assist on scene. Security serves as an extra set of hands as needed and are on scene to assure scene safety for CER, the patient, and bystanders. Due to high call volume on the weekends, CER rides with security in the security vehicle from 23:00-2:00 to ensure the fastest response time possible.
CER responds to a wide variety of calls including difficulty breathing, syncopal episodes, falls with injury, and allergic reactions, diabetic emergencies, and intoxication, to name a few.
To join CER you must be a certified EMT-B (or higher) in the state of Maine. If you are not already a certified EMT but would like to join CER, you can become an EMT in the EMT class offered during JanPlan or we can help you find another EMT class off campus during the summer or the semester. Once you obtain your EMT certification, contact Maggie Hall, our Deputy Chief of Communications and Personnel, to set up a time for orientation. At orientation you will be given a uniform shirt and it will be decided then when you will start running shifts with CER. Once you are a member of CER, you will also then be expected to come to trainings and continuing education classes.
- Maine EMT-B License
- AHA CPR Certification
- Proof of Hepatitis-B Vaccination
- Blood Borne Pathogens Course (taken online once you join CER)
- Run 2-3 shifts per month
- Attend at least one training a month
- Attend monthly continuing education classes
CER is a 24/7 service. Shifts are 24 hours long (19:00-19:00). So if you were on duty on Friday your shift would start Friday at 19:00 and would end on Saturday at 19:00.
Typically, there are two rescuer EMTs on duty, and sometimes with an additional trainee. For special events such as concerts there may be extra rescuers on duty.
There are always two rescuers on duty, with the same level of certification. They work alongside one-another to assess and treat each patient with care that meets Maine EMS and CER protocols. They are held to equal standards of care. The trainee is a new member of CER, who assists on scene in order to gain the experience to move up to a rescuer position. A trainee has to run a certain number of calls and gain the experience needed to become a rescuer.
CER members are required to attend a minimum of one training per month but are encouraged to come to as many trainings as they can. Members are also required to attend the monthly continuing education class.
The EMTs on duty go about their normal day and just carry a bag of equipment and a radio with them. If they get a call, they respond by foot from wherever they may be on campus. If an EMT gets a call during class, they are allowed to leave class to respond to the call. EMTs can be wherever they want while they are on duty as long as they remain on campus. Due to high call volume on Friday and Saturday nights, a rescuer rides along with security from 23:00-2:00 to ensure faster response time.
In order to become an EMT-B you must take an EMT-B course and take the national registry exam to obtain an EMT-B certification. Colby College offers an emergency medical technician class during Jan Plan in which you receive all of the training necessary to take both the practical and written exams necessary to obtain your license. EMT-B classes are also offered as semester-long courses and summer programs, including courses at Kennebec Valley Community College; however it’s slightly more challenging to take a semester-long EMT course with a full course load at Colby. Once you take the EMT-B class you must take a practical exam. If you pass the practical exam you then must sit for a written exam. If you pass both of these exams you will be a nationally registered EMT. With your NREMT license you will then need to apply for a state license. Applying for a state license often involves a background check and driving record check; however this is state dependent so check your state’s EMS website to see exactly what you need to do.
If you already have an EMT-B license in another state you will need to apply for reciprocity in Maine.
- This is a general link to the Maine EMS website: maine.gov/ems/
- The next two links provide information regarding reciprocity and provide the appropriate forms for applying for reciprocity.
Of course! If you’re not yet an EMT but are in the process of becoming an EMT or are trying to decide if you want to be an EMT, you’re more than welcome to stop by trainings and/or our continuing education classes to see what CER and EMS are all about.
There is one CER rescuer on duty downtown from 19:00 to 07:00 on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights in order to respond to any medical emergencies in the apartments and immediate surrounding sidewalks. CER has a duplicate full set of equipment downtown that is identical to their gear on campus. The rescuer on duty stays in a designated CER room but may go anywhere in the building while on duty.
Trainings are typically held on two different days and times to help accommodate for the various schedules of CER members. Training is held in the Garrison-Foster Health Center. At trainings we simulate scenarios and work on practical skills to keep our skills and knowledge up to date and ensure that we are providing the best possible patient care on scene. CER members are required to attend a minimum of one training per month but are encouraged to attend as many trainings as possible. Continuing education classes are held approximately once a month at Colby and are absolutely mandatory for all CER members. Continuing educations classes are usually taught by an outside paramedic and cover a wide range of skill sets and specialized topics within EMS (e.g. ALS assists, pediatric emergencies, efficient CPR, water rescues, etc.). These continuing education opportunities count toward the continuing education credits needed to maintain your Maine EMS license.
All information regarding CER calls and patient information is kept completely confidential. As emergency medical technicians, all members of Colby Emergency Response are expected to know and abide by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rules and regulations. Any specific inquiries regarding CER operations or patients are to be referred to the chief of service. Information pertinent to CER is to be treated confidentially and should not be shared to private citizens, news media, security officers, deans, and/or other Colby employees, students, or any other individual not actively involved with the situation. This includes information about runs and forms, patients, investigations, personnel, and operations. Any information regarding patients may never be shared with anyone other than emergency personnel immediately involved in that patient’s care. This includes, but is not limited to, a patient’s name and/or medical condition as well as the overall nature and/or details of the call. Each member is required to sign an oath of confidentiality.