By Meghan Brink
Five Quad, the university’s student volunteer ambulance service, is gearing up for another semester of providing care and transportation for students in need of medical help during the pandemic and is looking for new members. In operation for 48 years, the student-run ambulance service, which suspended operations during the campus-wide shut down in March 2020, returned to work in the fall providing a variety of care for students, including those who contracted mild to severe cases of COVID-19. To boost its staff this semester, Five Quad President Zachary Morganstein said the organization is looking to recruit 10 to 12 new members, and students of any background and skill level are welcomed and encouraged to join. “If you want to get into Five Quad you just have to be passionate,” said Morganstein. “I had personally never been on an ambulance before I joined Five Quad. I only joined because my tour guide said Five Quad was really cool.” To help prevent the spread of the virus, Morganstein said Five Quad imposed safety protocols in the fall for staff and patients. The protocols will remain in place this semester for Five Quad’s staff of 72 members. Staff are required to wear eye protection when responding to all calls. If a call is suspected to be COVID-19 related, staff must also gear up in disposable cover-all suits. “They look like something you would see in a movie if they were responding to a suspicious package,” said Morganstein earlier this week. “We wear these to try and separate us as much as possible from the patient.” Five Quad’s two ambulances are also routinely cleaned with a disinfectant after each call. Additionally, the area between the driver cabin and the inner cabin, where patient care is administered, has been closed off to prevent driver exposure. Morganstein said the organization began stockpiling the safety equipment during the Spring 2020 semester while Five Quad was not in operation on campus. The protection equipment cost the organization around $7,500, which came out of its Spring 2020 budget of $191,000. During the fall, when many university courses were remote, Five Quad responded to 177 calls, of which an estimated 25 were COVID-related, according to Morganstein. “Most patients were treated and released with mild symptoms,” said Morganstein. If a patient’s symptoms appeared to be severe after evaluation, they would be transported to the hospital by Five Quad free of charge. During the Fall 2019 semester, before the pandemic, the service responded to 460 calls. This semester Five Quad will continue to work with the university health center, which has been operating remotely through Telemedicine. The health center uses Five Quad to examine students in person who may require more attention. Students can also reach Five Quad by calling their office directly or can be transferred to Five Quad by calling 911 or the university police department, said Morganstein. For those students interested in joining, Morganstein said new members can serve as attendants, which do not require certification, or work their way to becoming drivers or crew chiefs, to name a few positions. Time commitments for members range from as little as three hours a week for attendants to between 10 and 20 hours for more qualified Five Quad members. Five Quad has over 20 officer positions, including their Executive Board. Five Quad certifies all of its members with emergency medical technician classes free of charge. Additionally, all staff undergoes extensive trainings throughout the semester. Since healthcare workers in New York State are currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination, Morganstein said he has hopes for all members of Five Quad to be vaccinated during the Spring semester. Interested students are encouraged to follow Five Quad on Instagram @FiveQuadVAS and to keep an eye out for updates on upcoming general interest meetings. Additionally, students with any questions or concerns can personally reach out to Morganstein through his email email@example.com.