To Protect and Serve

The Department of Public Safety is one of the biggest reasons that Drexel was recently named one of the safest campuses in the country by Security magazine. They do this not just through their security and police forces, but by informing and educating the community as well.

Photo: The Rush Gardens


Meet MERT, Drexel's Medical Emergency Response Team.

Chief Dominic De Angelo and Captain Billy Messerschmidt head Drexel's all-student corps of 17 state-certified Emergency Medical Technicians.

Serving as a trained EMT in high school, Dominic was interested in continuing on at Drexel. But when he arrived on campus, he found there was no program in place. What's more, he noticed other students, like Billy, an EMT and volunteer firefighter, in a similar situation.

So Dominic did what any Drexel student would do: he started the program himself.

He approached Drexel's Department of Public Safety with the idea for a Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT). They immediately agreed to back the student initiative.

Members of the Medical Emergency Response Team provide stand-by support at campus events and also conduct regular bicycle patrols. The bikes are "pretty much an ambulance on two wheels," explains Billy. Each two-bicycle team carries all of the equipment the EMTs need to provide immediate care at the site of an injury. This allows them to respond even earlier than medical teams from nearby hospitals.

Dominic explains his role in supplementing, not replacing, city services. "What can I do," he asks, "that won't interfere with ambulance care?" Because his team is not authorized to transport patients, they don't replace ambulance crews. Instead, members of MERT must rely on their medical training to plan for the patient's future care while providing an immediate response.

While MERT is under the direction of Hahnemann Hospital and dispatched by the Department of Public Safety, there's no question that students are at the heart of this endeavor. Dominic is a senior Biology major with medical school aspirations. As Dominic prepares to graduate from Drexel, he hopes the program will continue to grow and serve the Drexel community. Billy, a junior in the Criminal Justice program, plans to help it do just that.