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UT Houston EMIG Adopts a Firehouse After Hurricane Harvey
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by John Peacock, Class of 2020

Medical students from the McGovern Medical School’s Emergency Medicine Interest Group (EMIG) visited Houston Fire Station #33 in the heart of the Texas Medical Center early last Saturday morning [October 21st]. This was the group’s inaugural “Adopt a Firehouse” event in which student volunteers spent the day helping out around the station, interacting with, and learning from Houston firefighters and paramedics. Thanks to the outreach efforts of current EMIG leadership and the support of Dr. Kevin Schulz, Asst. Medical Director for HFD and academic faculty at UTH, the students augmented their medical training with some real-world application as they rode along with paramedics responding to emergencies throughout the shift. “I think it’s important for emergency physicians to have a good understanding of what our first responders are doing out in the field prior to when we see these patients in the hospital,” said John Peacock, EMIG President. “The men and women of HFD do an incredible job and it’s a privilege to be out here learning from them.” The day began with EMIG members showing their appreciation by preparing and serving a hearty firehouse breakfast to the station personnel and getting a tour of the station and demonstrations of all the fire/EMS apparatus. “My favorite part of the day was being able to cook and share a meal with the amazing men and women that work at Station 33. It was important to us to show our appreciation for all that they do in our community, especially after Hurricane Harvey,” said Megan Mont, EMIG Vice President.

In between responding with paramedics to 911 calls, medical students took the opportunity to literally walk in the shoes of a firefighter as they learned first-hand the challenges of providing rescue and patient care in full protective gear. “Most civilians don't truly understand the entirety of HFD's roles in prehospital health care.  It is really important that the medical students, as future physicians and members of the health care community, understand the role that HFD plays in patient care,” said Dr. Schulz.  HFD is the third largest fire department in the United States and is responsible for preserving life and property to a population of more than 2 million. Just last year, The Houston Fire Department responded to 335,967 incidents, 87% of which were for emergency medical services. Organizers of the event said: “Our biggest goal in being here today was not only the educational experience, but it’s very important to us to show our support for our first responders, and solidify the partnership that we have.” This all comes in the wake of the heroic efforts of HFD during the hurricane Harvey response, in which first responders worked around the clock rescuing Houston residents trapped in Harvey’s path of devastation. Station 33 crews enjoyed spending time with the medical students and said they can’t wait to do it again!

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