The University of Rhode Island’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) offers an opportunity for students to volunteer in the program, giving them hands-on experience as EMTs.
“We are not the police,” Jon Marton-Rollins, a junior URI student and EMS volunteer, said. “If you’re drunk, we’re very likely not calling your parents or the police. We’re bringing you to the hospital.”
This is a common misconception for EMS, the entirely volunteer-based organization dedicated to keeping our campus and the surrounding community safe, and URI students. Jon has been volunteering at URI’s EMS since his freshman year at the university, and even longer back in his hometown of Katonah, New York.
The EMS program is heavily supported by the university. Marton-Rollins said they provide them with the necessary equipment to do their jobs and that the school has helped them develop a very impressive program. URI’S EMS runs a 24-hour schedule all 365 days of the year and always has members at the station, making their response time one of the quickest in the state at just two to three minutes.
The balance between being a student and an EMT is especially fragile for Marton-Rollins because he is also a freshman resident advisor (RA). He said his sleep schedule definitely struggles with his workload. During the weekends he gets little to no sleep. On Fridays he starts his work at EMS at 3 p.m. and gets out Saturday at 10 a.m.
Then, if necessary, Marton-Rollins works any events that take place during the day on campus, such as concerts or games. Usually, he is on call as an RA on Saturday nights, and then Sundays he returns to the EMS office and on rare occasions, works from 11 a.m. to sometimes as late as 12 p.m. on Monday. It is a life he happily accepts as incredibly busy, but tries to put his responsibility as a student first.
His work as an EMT and RA has changed some of his perspective on life, as his experiences have made him more attentive in many aspects.
“When you’re exposed to so many of those situations, you don’t do crazy things anymore,” Marton-Rollins said. “I’m very protective over myself and everyone around me now.”