The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Rescue Squad Seeks Access: EMTs Unable to Enter Dorms, Must Wait for University Police to Arrive

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Last Wednesday, Nov. 10, at a student senate meeting, senators address a safety concern that the Fredericksburg Rescue Squad is not currently given access cards to the University of Mary Washington’s residence halls.

According to university police, when an emergency call is received a university police unit is dispatched at the same time the Fredericksburg 911 center is notified.

Ruth Lovelace, director of emergency management and safety, said that access is never denied to the rescue squad.

“They do have access,” Lovelace said. “When the UMW Police or Safety arrive on the scene or Fredericksburg FD assist with response Fredericksburg Rescue Squad has full access.”

The Fredericksburg Rescue Squad plans to hold a meeting on Sunday with their top officials to figure out how to proceed with this issue, according to Debbie Rice, president of the Fredericksburg Fire Squad.

Rice declined to comment until after the meeting takes place.

According to Lovelace, this is a non-issue for either squad.

“This does not seem to be an issue of either UMW or the Fredericksburg Rescue Squad,” Lovelace said. “Access is never denied for emergency response of any kind.”

According to university police, access cards have not been issued for the rescue squad because the police are not sure who would be entering the residence halls.

“Residents should always be concerned with who has access to their ‘home’ and as administrators we have their trust to oversee this responsibility,” Lovelace said.

The Fredericksburg Fire Department has been given access to residence halls. According to Lovelace they rarely use it since the police are already on the scene to assist.

Students are worried that this protocol puts them in danger. Sophomore Robert Schoonover lives in Eagle Landing.

“Definitely that concerns me,” Schlonover said. “If there is an emergency, police can’t do much for you. You need the rescue squad.”
Sophomore Graham Givens agrees.

“I’ve seen an accident happen in an academic building,” Givens said. “The police came and then the rescue squad. No offense to the police force—they are good at what they do—but they do not have the resources or training to help in medical emergencies.”

Junior Mitchell Bass said that there should be no question about giving the rescue squad access to residence halls.

“There should be some discussion to address issues of safety,” Bass said.

Freshman Hester Godfrey lives in Arrington, and said that the thought of the rescue squad not reaching her or her hallmates during an emergency is scary.

“When putting someone’s health at risk, you can’t get picky about territory,” Godfrey said.