Colby Emergency Response
Colby Emergency Response (CER) was founded to provide the Colby College campus with exceptional and reliable emergency medical coverage 24-7 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 Delta Ambulance, Waterville Fire-Rescue, 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 CER
The 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
- Escort via Colby College Security to the emergency room
- Clear patient if no medical treatment is required
ER 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. Scott Lowman, 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 crews usually consist of 2-4 members, though 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, a backboard, another defibrillator, and more) 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.
In 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 group of rescuers 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
Hometown: Sandy Hook, CT
Class of 2021“Hey y’all! I’m a psychology major with a concentration in neuroscience. I took the EMT JanPlan my freshman year, joined CER sophomore year, and I’ve been in love with EMS ever since! I’m so grateful to work for Newtown Volunteer Ambulance back in Connecticut, and Delta Ambulance and Waterville-Fire Rescue here in Maine. During my free time you can catch me at the Woodsmen field or skating on Johnson Pond. In the future, I’ll hopefully be heading to paramedic school!”
Hometown: New York City
Class of 2021“Hi! My name is Sam and I’m a chemistry major and theatre and dance minor. I became an EMT when I was sixteen, and I’ve been an officer on CER since my first year at Colby! My favorite part about CER is hanging out with the ghost of Runnals on late night shifts. I’m planning on taking a gap-year and then applying to medical school after I graduate. Outside of CER, I play for Colby Ultimate, act and direct plays, lead hikes for the Outing Club, and I bake a ton of bread.”
Hometown: Winnetka, IL
Class of 2022“Hi! My name is Katie and I’m a junior pursuing a Biology major with a Neuroscience concentration and a Sociology minor. I am an SVP Peer Educator for first-years and sophomores, a CPR instructor, and a research assistant in the Biology department. In my free time, I enjoy running outside, exploring Maine with friends, watching movies, and skating on Johnson Pond! I took the EMT course at Colby during Jan Plan of my freshman year and joined CER shortly after receiving my license. My favorite thing about CER is that the service has introduced me to a lot of great people that love EMS as much as I do!”
Hometown: Ellicott City, MD And York Harbor, ME
Class of 2021“Hi all! My name is Emma and I am a senior Psychology: Neuroscience major. I have been working on CER since my freshman year, and I absolutely love getting the opportunity to help train our new members. After Colby, I plan to pursue some type of graduate education in healthcare, perhaps nursing! Working for CER, as well as my own experience, has made me fall in love with patient care and the field of medicine. In my free time, I enjoy making gluten free snacks, eating said snacks, and acting for Powder and Wig!”
Hometown: Coventry, Connecticut and Stevens Point, WI
Class of 2022“Hi! My name is Devon O’Connell and I’m a junior at Colby this year. I’m majoring in Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience. Outside of CER, I’m an SVP peer educator, a BLS instructor and I’m pursuing the pre-med track. I love to ski, hike, cook and making frequent weekend coffee runs! I’m originally from Coventry, CT and I’m now living Stevens Point, Wisconsin with my mom and two dogs.”
Class of 2021“My name is Jack and I am this year’s Quality Improvement officer. I’m a senior from Minnesota double-majoring in mathematics and philosophy. I became an EMT before coming to Colby and have worked and volunteered as an EMT outside of Colby. Besides CER, on campus I am involved in the Outing Club, Project Pengyou, and the Mountaineering Club. In my free time, I enjoy being outdoors, meeting new people, and reading. I am very excited to develop CER’s Quality Improvement program over the year. I look forward to connecting with our CER members and partners, and to creating strong Quality Improvement policies and practices that enable CER to serve our community better.”
Hometown: Standish, ME
Class of 2021“Hi! I am a student on the pre-med track majoring in biology with a concentration in biochemistry. Aside from CER, I also work in the Office of Campus Events and am a member of the women’s rugby team. I (really) hope to eventually attend medical school. My hobbies include playing sports and/or board games, watching movies, and eating chocolate :)”
Hometown: Queens, NY
Class of 2021“Hi, I’m Michelle! I’m a Chemistry-Biochemistry major and East Asian Studies minor from Queens, NYC. Outside of CER, I’m involved with the Asian Student Association and sew face masks for the local public schools. I also love to cook and paint! After Colby, I hope to enter medical school and pursue a career as a physician.”
Hometown: Concord, NH
Class of 2022“At Colby, I am a Psychology major with minors in Chemistry and Italian. I am a research assistant in the Rice lab and SETO lab, a CCAK mentor, a Maine General Hospital volunteer, and a member of Colby Dancers. In my free time, I enjoy baking, photography, dance parties, and spending time with my friends. In the future, I hope to do something women’s health-related, likely pre-PA, but I’m open to exploring other options as well!”
Hometown: Burbank, CA
Class of 2022“I am a psychology major with a concentration in neuroscience and a chemistry minor. In addition to CER, I am a research assistant in the Cognitive Development Lab (Baby Lab) and a TA for Psychology Research Methods and Statistics. I am a student advisory board member and mentor of Colby Cares About Kids. I also play the violin in Colby Symphony Orchestra. In my free time, I enjoy ice skating and spending time with my friends! I hope to pursue a career in medicine after I graduate from Colby.”
Class of 2023“I am a Pre-med Biology Major with a concentration in Neuroscience. At Colby College, while not working shifts with CER, I play as a goalkeeper on the Men’s Soccer team and during the winter I like to ski. I love reading and playing guitar in my free time, and if I get the chance I like to explore Maine and go for hikes around New England. I took the EMT program during Jan Plan here at Colby College because it was one of the things I knew I wanted to do when I was initially applying. After college, I hope to go to graduate school but the exact career I am looking for hasn’t made itself obvious to me yet. CER is organized and is composed of some of the most supportive people I know on campus; I’m equally as excited for each shift as I am proud to represent CER around campus.”
Hometown: Gresham, OR
Class of 2021“I am a Biology major with a concentration in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and an Economics minor. On-campus, I am also a Community Advisor, Outing Club Trip Leader, Biology Research Assistant, CCAK mentor, and Sexual Violence Prevention Peer Mentor. Additionally, I am involved in the Running Club, Quest Club, and Colby Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. My interest in volunteering as an EMT at Colby stems from my interest in medicine and passion for helping our campus to be a safer space. After Colby, I plan to go to medical school and study to become a family physician. When I am not busy with academics, you can often find me fishing, hiking, running, or skiing in the great outdoors.”
Class of 2022“Hi! I am a Global Studies and Environmental Science double major with minor in Chemistry! In addition to CER I am involved in Food for Thought, a civic engagement club focused on Food sustainability in Waterville, the Colby Outing Club, and Sexual Violence Prevention Peer Education. In my free time, I enjoy being outside, running, skiing, or hiking! In the future, I hope to attend medical school.”
Hometown: Scarborough, ME
Class of 2022“I am a biology major with a concentration in neuroscience and a religious studies minor. After Colby, I hope to attend PA school. I am looking forward to being on CER this year!”
Hometown: Edina, MN
Class of 2023“Hello! I’m Kurt and I’m currently majoring in economics and neurobiology! (Who knows how long that’ll stick) I became an EMT so I’d always be able to help my friends and family if they needed it. My favourite thing about CER is of course the wonderful CER members I get to work with, and helping make Colby a safer place for students. My motto, “I can help you once you get injured, but only you can prevent yourself from getting injured in the first place.””
Hometown: Glenview, IL
Class of 2022“I am majoring in mathematical sciences and biology and minoring in chemistry. Besides CER, I am a member of SHOC and ASA, as well as a research assistant for Lindsey Madison’s Computational Chemistry Lab. In my free time, I enjoy going outside with COC and watching movies with friends. I hope to pursue a career in the medical field after Colby.”
Hometown: Darien, CT
Class of 2021“I am a senior biology major with a concentration in neuroscience. On-campus I am a CCAK board member, a member of Colby dancers, and a tutor for the biology department. I am pre-health and plan on going to PA school in the years following Colby.”
Hometown: Rockland, ME
Class of 2021“I am a senior double majoring in music and biology with a concentration in neuroscience. At Colby, I work in the Athletic Training room and have enjoyed being a TA for Chemistry Labs and a Research Assistant for Maine Concussion Management Initiative (MCMI). In addition to CER, I am involved in Best Buddies, Colby Wind Ensemble, Colby Symphony Orchestra, and Colby Dancers. After graduating, I hope to attend medical school to become a pediatrician!”
Hometown: Houston, TX
Class of 2023“Howdy y’all! I’m Tiger and am a Biological Neuroscience and Music double major, in my second year! On campus, I am heavily involved with S.V.P. (Sexual Violence Prevention), G.S.D. (Gender, Sexuality, and Diversity), C.M.I. (the Colby Music Incubator), and C.E.R. (Colby Emergency Response). In my free time, I can be found composing and performing music, as well as working with local ensembles and bands in the greater Kennebec Valley.
- See a moose
- Have lobster at every meal
- Find where they keep the big freaking throne that David A. Green sits on during convocation and sit on it