Binghamton University blogger
Mark Zakariya

Monday, March 08, 2010

Harpur’s Ferry SVAS

Baxter takes a ride on the ambulance!

When a 911 emergency call is placed from any Binghamton campus phone, UPD acts as the medical dispatch for Harpur’s Ferry. An organization comprised entirely of volunteers, Harpur’s Ferry is the ambulance service that serves the Binghamton University campus, and has a mutual-aid agreement with neighboring agencies; Harpur’s Ferry works together with other local agencies to ensure that no call is ever left unanswered. As an ALS (Advanced Life Support) agency, Harpur’s Ferry is capable of responding to a wide variety of emergency calls. We generally have approximately 150 members, and have a variety of emergency vehicles. Harpur’s Ferry receives approximately 800 calls yearly, primarily during the fall and spring semesters.

Harpur’s Ferry has EMT-Basic, AEMT-Critical Care and AEMT-Paramedic qualified individuals in their ranks. Students take three-hour shifts in the Squad Room (located in the basement of Health Services) from the hours of 6AM-12AM, and there is one six-hour overnight shift from 12AM-6AM. Acceptance into Harpur’s Ferry is competitive; they received approximately 80 applications for 16 spots in the Spring 2010 semester. Students who are accepted will be trained by the agency immediately after acceptance.

Students with NO prior experience (NO CPR training, NO EMT training; etc.) begin their first semester in Harpur’s Ferry in AFAEC (Advanced First Aid and Emergency Care), which is basically a course designed to prepare students for their EMT-B course in the upcoming semester. After the second week, we received CPR certification cards, which are valid for two years. AFAEC this year meets on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 8-10:30PM. After our fourth week in AFAEC, we signed up for observational shifts in the ambulance. AFAEC spans the entire semester. The following semester, students begin their EMT-B training on campus. Students who want to start earlier can take an EMT-B course over the summer, and NYS will reimburse the fees paid. It’s generally a 10-week course.

Harpur’s Ferry receives funding from Binghamton University, the Student Association, the Graduate Student Association and from donors. Harpur’s Ferry does not bill patients for services. It was even declared the best EMS Agency of the Year in New York State - collegiate or not - in 2005!

If you’re interested in reading more about Harpur’s Ferry, Pipe Dream has a couple of interesting articles (1, 2).

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