There is insufficient research on medical care at mass-gathering events (MGEs) on college and university campuses. Fun Day is an annual celebratory day held at Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, New York USA), a small liberal arts college in the Northeastern United States. Fun Day is focused around an outdoor music festival; students also congregate and celebrate throughout the surrounding campus. To improve care and alleviate strain on local resources, a model was developed for the provision of emergency care by a collegiate-based, volunteer first-response service – Skidmore College Emergency Medical Services (EMS) – in coordination with a contracted, private ambulance service.
The aims of this study were to: (1) analyze medical usage rates and case mixes at Fun Day over a four-year period, and to (2) describe the collegiate-based first response model for MGEs.
Data were collected retrospectively from event staff, college administrators, and Skidmore College EMS on event-related variables, patient encounters, and medical operations at Fun Day over a four-year period (2014-2017).
Annual attendance at the music festival was estimated at 2,000 individuals. Over four years, 54 patients received emergency medical care on campus on Fun Day, and 18 (33.3%) were transported to the emergency department. On-site contracted ambulances transported 77.8% of patients who were transported to the emergency department; mutual aid was requested for the other 22.2% of transports. The mean (SD) patient presentation rate (PPR) was 7.0 (SD = 1.0) per 1,000 attendees. The mean (SD) transport-to-hospital rate (TTHR) was 2.0 (SD = 1.0) per 1,000 attendees. Thirty (55.6%) patients presented with intoxication, seven (13.0%) with laceration(s), and five (9.3%) with head trauma as the primary concern. Medical command was established by volunteer undergraduate students. Up to 16 volunteer student first responders (including emergency medical technicians [EMTs]) were stationed on campus, in addition to two contracted ambulances at the Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Life Support (ALS) levels. Operational strategies included: mobile first response crews, redundant communication systems, preventative education, and harm reduction.
High medical usage rates were observed, primarily due to alcohol/illicit substance use and traumatic injuries. The provision of emergency care by a collegiate-based first response service in coordination with a contracted, private ambulance agency serves as an innovative model for mass-gathering medical care on college and university campuses.
FriedmanNMG, O’ConnorEK, MunroT, GoroffD.Mass-Gathering Medical Care Provided by a Collegiate-Based First Response Service at an Annual College Music Festival and Campus-Wide Celebration. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2019;34(1):98–103.