Campus gets ‘Heart Safe Campus’ designation from collegiate emergency medical services organization

Western Carolina University was recognized as a “Heart Safe Campus” by the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation during its 24th annual conference.

The award was presented to representatives from WCU’s student-staffed basic life support emergency medical services.

The foundation, along with partner organizations, the American Heart Association and the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, have developed an initiative to recognize campus communities that demonstrate a commitment to improving overall cardiac arrest care. WCU was one of six universities to be designated as such this year.

The conference was held Friday, Feb. 24, through Sunday, Feb. 26, in Baltimore. The foundation serves as an umbrella organization supporting more than 250 constituent member colleges and universities in providing campus-based emergency medical services.

The “Heart Safe Campus” award was presented to representatives from WCU’s student-staffed basic life support emergency medical services (from left) Delaney Garris, Darius Pettiford, Zachary Gant and Michael Penland.

“At WCU EMS, we worked intensively over the past few months to gather necessary information and started doing what we needed to provide lifesaving cardiac care as first responders, which helped us obtain this award,” said Dylan Morgan, an EMS staff member and junior majoring in emergency medical care who plans to be a paramedic after graduation. “WCU being recognized as a ‘Heart Safe Campus’ is a great achievement by our campus as a whole and shows that our campus is able to provide rapid recognition and treatment of a cardiac arrest victim.”

WCU EMS launched a community service program as part of this project to provide hands-on CPR training and actively engages in preventative cardiovascular disease health care activities, he said.

WCU EMS is part of the university’s Health Services and is licensed by the N.C. Office of EMS and affiliated with Harris EMS for 911 responses.

“WCU EMS is committed to meeting the emergency medical needs of our campus community,” said Pam Buchanan, university health services director. “This award is well deserved recognition for the hard work, dedication and care that each one of the team members demonstrates on a daily basis. We are very proud to have WCU EMS as part of the health care services for Western Carolina University.”