One of SBVAC’s mission statements is a dedicated to Community Outreach. What does this really mean? In an emergency, the role of the citizen bystander is just as important as that of the ambulance crews’ response. After all, an ambulance can only arrive if a citizen has called 911. This does not always happen, because due to the unpredictable nature of medical and traumatic emergencies, what may seem to be trivial symptoms can actually be caused by very serious medical conditions. For example, this can be seen in heat emergencies; in many cases, friends or colleagues do not notice the symptoms of heat stroke until the patient’s condition has reached a critical point. Furthermore, some common-sense care that the patient receives until EMS arrives is very helpful and will prevent worsening of the patient’s status. Recognition of an emergency and the activation of EMS right away, however, leads to the best care for the patient. While it is not necessary for a layperson to know exactly what the presenting problem or illness of the patient is, knowing basic prevention and health issues/hazards can help immensely. Also, it is understandable that having EMTs and an ambulance come treat patients can be a daunting and unsettling experience for bystanders, friends, and colleagues. Knowledge of emergencies will also familiarize the community with what to expect from an emergency response. SBVAC tries to make this task possible through its various community outreach programs. While our outreach programs typically go out to college students, our programs also reach various groups of healthcare professionals, the youth, the elderly, special interest groups such as scuba divers and many more.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
Typically, the most common type of outreach the agency does is CPR awareness and instruction. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation is a widely accepted technique of prolonging blood circulation in a cardiac arrest victim (thus raising the chance of survival until EMS personnel can initiate defibrillation), and has strong support among proponents such as the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, and the many other health/medical organizations. Many members at SBVAC are experienced and certified instructors in Professional Rescuer CPR, and are available to donate their time to teach members of the community this important skill. If you or a group would like to learn and be certified in AHA/ARC CPR, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment for a class. If you are enrolling on behalf of a group, please also tell us the group size. A fee is required for the certification itself and the agency does not profit at all from these classes.
Alcohol and Drug Awareness
Alcohol and drug awareness is also part of SBVAC’s outreach program. In the college community, substance-related incidents are an unfortunate but frequent occurrence. Although the term “substance-related incident” does not sound very serious, it covers incidents ranging from noise complaints about a party to motor vehicle accidents with DUI present. SBVAC responds to many of these incidents and many members can attest firsthand to the awkwardness, embarrassment, and personal injury that patients under the influence go through in their inebriated or drugged state. Furthermore, alcohol is detrimental to both short and long term health when consumed in large amounts. While substance consumption is a personal choice for every person, SBVAC wishes to remind students of the legal and health implications that may result of drinking and taking drugs. Currently, the agency coordinates most of its substance awareness outreach visits with University and Suffolk County police. An ambulance crew is usually put together to give a presentation to students that have been referred to the University for substance related incidents. In these presentations, SBVAC outlines the health hazards of substance consumption as well as what kind of medical treatment to expect from emergency response personnel in these situations. We are also available upon request. So if you are an RA, University administrator, etc., you are more than welcome to contact us and schedule an appointment. Please send an email to email@example.com.
Teddy Bear Clinics
One of the most frightening things for a child is at the scene of an emergency or a scene where rescue personnel are present. The equipment and presence of emergency rescue personnel are often unfamiliar and intimidating for the average pediatric patient. To help ease these fears SBVAC has had a longtime tradition of visiting day care programs. Over the years, in partnership with different day care facilities in Stony Brook, crews have gone to open Teddy Bear Clinics, where children can bring in their Teddy Bears to be treated for various illnesses or injuries conjured up by the child’s imagination. The children are given a tour of the ambulance and allowed to sit inside of it and learn about the equipment and how things operate. This time spent with these children has proven valuable to both the children and the members of SBVAC. If your day-care facility or school would like to set up a Teddy Bear Clinic with us, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.