Five Quad wins Organization of the Year
By Madeline St. Amour
Associate News Editor
April 21, 2015
There’s one club on campus that helps dozens of students a month and asks for nothing in return.
Five Quad Volunteer Service, Inc. is an emergency ambulance service that has served the University at Albany and the surrounding areas since 1973. During the academic year, it runs 24 hours per day, seven days a week, helping students, faculty, and others.
It’s a necessity for the campus. Over the course of just six days, 22 people were transported by Five Quad to the hospital, according to UAlbany’s crime reports.
Currently, it has around 70 active members, and 15 in training. Five Quad also has a support system of alumni that stay involved and help out with larger events, like concerts. Nicholas Maenza, the president of Five Quad and a senior at UAlbany, said there are about 20 alumni who are still very active with Five Quad.
“It’s definitely like a second family,” he said.
Maenza was involved with the local firefighter department during high school. When he came to UAlbany, he decided to join Five Quad right away.
“I knew I was going to meet a lot of good people… and I would say that was pretty spot on,” he said.
This “second home” gives members a wealth of experiences and skills, and all their hard work just paid off in a big way.
The National Collegiate Emergency Foundation (NCEMSF) named Five Quad the EMS Organization of the Year in March 2015. Five Quad traveled to NCEMSF’s annual conference in Baltimore and was among 141 EMS teams from colleges across the United States that were in the running for the title.
Five Quad made many improvements this year to get this award. It bought a new ambulance, which was stocked differently with new medicines. It was their second year at a new office, located in Service Building A. It started an annual Collegiate EMS Week, during which it runs a food and clothing drive for the Capital District Mission and holds a CPR flash mob on campus. It also held a connection event in New York City to strengthen its ties with alumni.
At the NCEMSF conference, EMS teams completed two different competitions. Five Quad placed third in the Basic Life Support Skills competition, where the criteria was team building, how they dealt with trauma, and medical assessment abilities. The team won first place in the Mass Casualty Incident competition, where a mock large-scale emergency was created with fake actors who each had a line to say when someone from the team came to help them. Five Quad’s “incident” was an explosion in a chemistry room, Maenza said, and they had to treat each person to be successful.
UAlbany was also one of eight schools present (and one out of 14 in the country) to be given the HEARTSafe Campus initiative seal, which will last through 2018. This signifies that UAlbany has taken extra steps to make the campus safe. Five Quad has certified five percent of the campus in hands-only CPR, Maenza said, and it also conducts blood pressure and AED checks around campus.
As president, having such a successful year felt great for Maenza.
“Everyone in the organization played such a crucial part,” he said.
Prior training isn’t necessary to join Five Quad. And while Maenza said that a “good amount” of members are science majors looking to go into medicine, people from all disciplines join.
Five Quad trains its members in CPR and First Aid, as well as all of the skills taught in an EMT course. The Regional Emergency Medical Organization (REMO) has also helped teach the EMT certification course for the past three years. New York State does cover the cost if you are part of a volunteer organization, Maenza said.
All members of Five Quad are required to ride in the ambulance for three hours each week. At first, new members just help the crew without making any decisions. As they improve, there is room to move up, Maenza said.
If members would rather help out in other ways, they can help with the education portion of Five Quad or with planning club events, like softball games and movie nights.
Beyond running emergency services, Five Quad provides free CPR certification courses, holds one blood drive per semester, and does outreach programs to local schools. It has held EMS open houses at Hackett Middle School and Albany Leadership Charter High School for Girls. Five Quad also holds the EMS Week each November.
On top of all this, Five Quad runs fundraisers throughout the year. It partners with local businesses, like Yankee Candle, which gives a percentage of their profits to the student-run organization.
The largest fundraiser is the David C. Brinkerhoff Run/Walk, which is in its eighth year. This year, the Brink 5k is on April 25 at 10 a.m. It honors the memory of David C. Brinkerhoff, who was a member of Five Quad while at UAlbany. He went on to become a State Trooper and was killed in the line of duty on April 25, 2007. The money raised from the 5k goes into a scholarship fund, which is awarded to a member of Five Quad each year.
Five Quad is also in the process of creating a new partner organization called Friends of Five Quad. People could join this group if they are more squeamish or hesitant about working the ambulance. This group will help with trainings and membership events. A general interest meeting is in the works for the end of this semester.
While the job isn’t always glamorous, and you have to be able to deal with drunk people throwing up on you, Maenza said, he still loves what he does.
“I absolutely love going on calls. Even if it’s 3 a.m. and the person [who called] is grumpy… just knowing that I’m helping someone is why I do it,” he said.
Maenza is planning to keep helping people in the future. After graduation, he plans to go home to Somers in Westchester and work as a scribe at local hospitals before going to school for osteopathic medicine.