above, l-r: student leaders Sarah Wiggins and Megan Golbus with Reilly Walker, EMS compliance and training coordinator

The student Emergency Medical Service (EMS) team at the College of Charleston does a lot of important work – and it doesn’t go unnoticed!

The team, which consists of 30 volunteer students, picked up the S.C. Small System of the Year for 2021 at EMS Symposium last month – the first time the South Carolina EMS Network has awarded it to a collegiate EMS.

“I cannot express how proud I am of our students and how much of an honor this is for a collegiate team to win,” says Chip Searson, the chief of police and associate vice president for the Department of Public Safety.

RELATED: Learn more about the student EMS team at CofC.

Reilly Walker, EMS compliance and training coordinator, couldn’t be more ecstatic, either.

“This is a huge recognition for a collegiate volunteer team and the first time we have ever been recognized for something like this on the state level,” she says. “We had a lot of great competition – many other teams are government-funded and have paid, long-term employees; our students work so hard to maintain our funding, retain student volunteers, and make our team run smoothly like these other agencies.”

The College has had its own emergency medical technicians (EMTs), who provide medical care and transportation free of charge to students, faculty and staff, as well as the surrounding community, since 1995. The group is also licensed by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) as a Basic Life Support (BLS) transport agency and has an average response time of three minutes.

To become a certified EMT, students must complete a 16-week EMT Basic credited course (taught right on campus by Lowcountry EMS Council) to learn about anatomy, physiology, EMS operations and patient assessment and treatment.

“It is wonderful to hear the very providers you admire say great things about this team,” says Walker. “I can easily say that I have never worked with a more passionate group of EMTs. They truly deserved this.”