Syracuse University Ambulance, commonly referred to as SUA, is a SU Health Services-based student organization that responds to over 1,500 medical emergencies each year. Providing intermediate life support, transport, rapid cardiac defibrillation as well as non-emergency transportation, SUA operates two full time ALS-equipped ambulances, a supervisor's fly car and a MCI trailer for multiple casualty incidents. Additionally, SUA operates four transport vans for non-emergency transports. SUA was formed in 1973 by a group of students out of a need for emergency medical services on campus. Starting with only a few members and meager equipment, the Syracuse University Medical Crisis Unit was formed. The organization has evolved greatly over time but remains a student-run organization to this day.
SUA provides emergency and non-emergency services 24-hours a day, 7-days a week during the academic school year and is funded by a portion of the student health fee.
SUA's medical services are available for all students, faculty, staff and visitors of the SU and ESF campuses. SUA also provides service for the areas immediately off campus and locations surrounding SU. SUA maintains working relationships with city ambulance services such as Rural/Metro Medical Services that provide advanced life support on calls when required. In the event of a large scale mass casualty incident, SUA has agreements with various agencies to assist with mutual aid for large call volumes. Currently, SUA is involved in inter-agency training and maintains constant contact with other local ambulance services, fire departments, police and public safety agencies.
Special event standby services are provided by request for major campus events. SU Ambulance crews provide services for major Carrier Dome, sports and other special events with attendance exceeding 5,000+ spectators. You will often see an ambulance crew from SUA standing by at large academic events, concerts, ceremonies and large gatherings to ensure the safety of everyone in attendance. SUA has also been utilized to assist with medical support for greek philanthropy events and other humanitarian efforts in the Syracuse area. To request more information about having SUA standing by at an event, click here to contact us.
Mass Casualty Incident
SUA's Mass Casualty Incident trailer is one of the most highly regarded aspects of the agency. SUA is currently one of two agencies within Onondaga County to have MCI response capabilities. With the original trailer put into service in 1999 and a completely new trailer designed and built in 2009, SUA's trailer is outfitted with equipment designed to respond to mutual aid for large or small scale multiple patient catastrophes. Within this trailer there are over 30 backboard setups, MCI tagging equipment, ALS medical support equipment for local ALS agencies, BLS medical support bags/boxes, a backup generator, scene lights, portable oxygen setups for over 30 people and scene organizational equipment.
As a result of SUA's MCI capabilities and equipment, SU Ambulance in conjunction with Onondaga County Fire/EMS/and Police agencies, conducts numerous MCI training programs in an effort to increase large-scale training readiness. These training programs familiarize the agencies and individuals with incident command, usage of equipment, treatment of patients, etc. during large scale MCIs. Working with local area hospitals, large size simulation programs are conducted at Hancock International Airport, the Syracuse Regional Transportation Center, the Carousel Mall Complex, and other strategic training locations. SUA participates in a yearly MCI drill on campus that involves many agencies including Syracuse Police, DPS, bomb squad units and the FBI.
SUA is a self-dispatched agency where paid student dispatchers (certified as Emergency Medical Dispatchers) work in a state-of-the-art dispatch center 24-hours a day where calls to university emergency lines are handled and immediately dispatched/relayed to on-duty ambulance crews. SUA's dispatchers also take calls and dispatch the medical transport vans to locations around the Syracuse area. The phone system also has direct links to SU's Department of Public Safety and the city paramedic ambulance service. Dispatching services are available when classes are in session. During off-times such as vacations or during the summer, SUA's emergency lines are forwarded to DPS where appropriate medical services can respond.
The radio dispatching console allows SUA to communicate with vehicles, notify crews of pending ambulance calls and connect ambulances to on-duty nurses and physicians for medical support. If there is a time when a second ambulance crew is needed or the crew is not available at headquarters, the system includes a paging interface that communicates with text pagers that members of the organization keep on their person at all times.
SUA is committed to providing training opportunities and awareness to the SU campus. Members of the organization are trained in first aid, CPR, Hazardous Materials, Blood-borne pathogens, BLS/ALS assistance, scene safety awareness and HIPAA training. On any ambulance crew, there is at least one or more individuals with a New York State Emergency Medical Technician certification (EMT-B). Some students also have completed training as CPR Instructors for the American Heart Association. Additionally, some members have ventured out across the United States to complete trainer certification courses in response to terrorist bombings, suicide attacks, large scale event planning and emergency vehicle operation.
The Training Process
In order to provide the highest level to training, SUA has developed a training program developed to train both EMT's and non-EMT's about our organization. New members are put through an attendant and progression-status program that introduces them to ambulance equipment and their usage, operations, patient care, ambulance driving, interagency communication, and on-scene involvement.
After completing a probationary period (of approximately six weeks), members go through a rigorous training program starting them as Attendants (ATT), where most of the introduction is done. After displaying proficiency with the requirements, the ATT may choose to begin a Driver (DR) program and become acquainted with driving and operating the ambulance. If the student has completed EMT training, they may also choose to begin a Crew Chief (CC) program teaching them how to be responsible for patient care on an ambulance call. During the training phase, known as a progression, students work side by side with instructors and field supervisors on actual ambulance calls gaining proficiency and comfort in the field. When a comfort level is reached and permission has been granted from the supervisors and training staff, the students will become cleared to work their position without the need of a trainer watching them.
The training program is developed and overseen during the year by appointed Field Supervisors. These members are responsible for the organization's training programs as well as developing protocols for training. These supervisors work one-on-one with progression students to make sure they are learning the right skills to become cleared at their position. Volunteers are divided into companies to allow close interaction with groups of members. Click here to view our current active members, dispatchers, supervisors and officers.