I'm writing to you to draw…


Dear Editor,

I am writing to you to draw attention to the referendum this week and the question that the Erindale College Special Response Team (ECSpeRT) is asking.

ECSpeRT is an on-campus volunteer medical emergency response team at UTM. Currently, ECSpeRT responders possess the highest level of pre-hospital emergency care training at UTM. To put it into perspective, in 2009 ECSpeRT responded to 54 emergencies, including 13 life-threatening emergencies.

Consider this for a moment, if a casualty is not breathing and has no pulse, brain damage can occur within 4-6 minutes. Emergency Medical Services (EMS), such as ambulances, can take 10 minutes – sometimes even more, to arrive on campus. 13 people could have died on-campus last year if ECSpeRT was not there to help. With the growing complexity of buildings on campus, EMS response time is often more than 10 minutes. Actually, since 2007 the average EMS response time has been more than 20 minutes. In life-threatening emergencies responders are needed immediately, and ECSpeRT can play a crucial role while waiting for EMS to arrive. For example, during Winter 2010 ECSpeRT responded to a life-threatening call where EMS had a response time of 40 minutes. Two ECSpeRT oxygen tanks were emptied during this call before EMS arrived.

Currently, the ECSpeRT on-call hours are from 10am-10pm Monday to Friday. We would like to increase our hours to be a 24-hour service because emergencies can happen at any time. Some examples of calls we respond to include loss of consciousness, injuries in the gym, and seizures – although there are many other calls that occur on campus as well. ECSpeRT also provides first aid coverage for events at such as Orientation Week, BizFrosh, Rez Gym Nights, and more.  In addition to emergency response, ECSpeRT also runs First Aid courses at UTM.

We would like to increase fees by 30 cents per semester in order to enhance ECSpeRT’s functionality by having more medical first responders and first aid providers, more equipment, enhanced training, more standard first aid instructors, and working towards achieving 24-hour service.

The referendum is occurring on Wednesday Oct. 27th and Thursday Oct. 28th with polling stations in the North, South, and CCIT buildings. We encourage students to vote yes on the ECSpeRT referendum in order to help increase medical first response.


Tara Ahmed