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ALFA money goes far for EMS

By Hallie Jordan     11/1/11 7:00pm

Benefiting from the Asset Liquidation Funds Appropriations Committee money it received three weeks ago, Rice Emergency Medical Services has purchased a new emergency vehicle and a heart monitor and now has enough funding to subsidize its classes for the next 10 years.

The organization received $30,000 for the monitor, $50,000 for the new truck and $285,000 for class funding, REMS Director Lisa Basgall said.

"Having a reliable vehicle lets us respond quickly," Public Relations Lieutenant Faroukh Mehkri said. "That really helps on party nights."

EMS has not had a new vehicle since 2004, Mehkri said. With the money allocated for the truck, the organization was also able to buy a new golf cart to use as a backup vehicle. The group now has two emergency trucks and three golf carts.

As a volunteer organization, REMS hosts both basic and advanced classes for students who are thinking of joining REMS and becoming Emergency Medical Technicians. However, because of equipment costs, the class costs between $800 and $1,000 per student. EMS usually subsidizes the class so that the costs are about $450 per person. With support from the ALFA money, classes will be free for all students.

Eighty to 90 percent of students who take the EMS classes go on to be EMTs, Basgall said.

"The university has been very generous previously with helping us fund our needs, but the ALFA money insures us and lets us make a plan for the future," Basgall said. "Also, with more calls, it is great to have a second truck."

So far, EMS has already used the new truck to respond to 30 calls — two to three per day — Mehkri said. The leading cause of calls is skeletal and muscular issues, followed by general illness and thirdly, intoxication, he said.

"It's totally bailed us out; we've gotten so much busier lately," Basgall said in regards to the new truck.

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