GERMS aids, warms crowd

January 22, 2009

In preparation for the huge influx of visitors to the District for Tuesday’s Presidential Inauguration, the D.C. Department of Health called for the assistance of Emergency Medical Technicians from across the city. Many students in the Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Services, who are certified EMT-basic, answered the call.

Although GERMS was not officially affiliated with the governmental undertaking, some of its members volunteered from 4:30 a.m. to as late as 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, taking up posts along the parade route, on the National Mall, and throughout the District. They staffed medical tents with the DOH’s directors, according to GERMS spokesperson Taylor Burkholder (MSB ‘09).

Kelly Arledge (SFS ‘09) had the good fortune to take her place at the Capitol Building, where the temperature was the most pressing issue. Between the crowd and the cold, the day was a little frustrating, Arledge said.
Spectators pressed the medical tent’s staff to be let in from the open air and wind, even though the tent itself was not heated. Once they learned that the medics were holding hand warmers for medical need, they demanded access; the staff had to turn away the least urgent cases, according to Arledge.

“This one girl came up with UGG boots and a miniskirt, and was like, ‘I’m cold,’” she said. “We were like, ‘Yeah, I bet. Go home.’”

Emma Furino (NHS ‘11) was stationed on the corner of Madison Place and H St., where she spent the day working in close quarters with six strangers.

“It was so interesting how different we all were; yet one event brought us together,” she said. “It was a great opportunity to bond with some very different people and personalities.”

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