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Help, I’ve been hurt! — First aid on campus

by | Mar 5, 2024 | Campus, In The Mag! | 0 comments

It’s surprisingly easy to get minor nicks or scratches on campus. Maybe you opened a door too quickly, slipped and skinned your knee in the gymnasium, or wrenched a muscle while working out. If you were to get an injury on campus, would you know where to turn for help? 

There are a couple of options, according to Loredana Longo, the director of MacEwan’s Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) department. HSE ensures that MacEwan complies with legislative changes relevant to its portfolio and organizes first aid courses for staff, which are then taught by Sports and Wellness. “If it’s severe, we always say call 911 first, and then security,” explains Longo. Security can provide first aid for serious incidents such as someone losing consciousness or suffering a serious injury, she adds. 

Let’s take a few steps back. What options are available if you or a friend need first aid for a minor injury? You’ll want to start by taking stock of your surroundings. 

Sport and Wellness 

If you’re injured at the gym, there’s plenty of help available. According to Matt Fitzgerald, the manager for Sports and Wellness, all Sports and Wellness staff are certified in intermediate first aid. He says that staff can’t provide diagnoses but can treat different issues.

“If someone is having a heart attack, or seizure, or stroke, our staff will be able to identify that type of injury,” explains Fitzgerald. “Providing oxygen if their blood oxygen levels are low, if they require an AED or CPR … that’s something we can do.” 

Staff on the pool deck are also ready to respond and have their National Lifeguard certification, says Fitzgerald. “If there’s any rescues or first aids in the pool, our lifeguards would be that primary person.”

Students using one of the other areas of Sports and Wellness can chat with one of the staff members around the facility to get first aid. 

“If it’s severe, we always say call 911 first, and then security.”

Loredana Longo, director of MacEwan Health, Safety, and Environment

Michael Hartog, the department’s Aquatics Supervisor, notes that staff members will go out and assist people when needed. “If someone’s injured in a changeroom, we’ll send a staff member in to see what’s happening,” says Hartog. “It doesn’t matter where a person is. All of our staff are able to jump in and help a person in need.” 

For any incidents or injuries that require external medical attention, such as a chipped tooth or a broken finger, Fitzgerald says that Sports and Wellness notifies Security Services. Security Services can then provide additional support or take over treatment at the discretion of the attending first aider. If a student requires hospitalization following an incident, the attending first aider assists them until help has arrived. “The main goal of that immediate first aider is to deal with the situation, manage it until EMS arrives and then pass it along,” says Fitzgerald.

Security desks  

So, where do you turn if it’s not a serious injury and you’re not at the gym? Longo recommends dropping by one of the security desks dotted across campus. One is near the 104th ave entrance of Allard Hall by the staircase, and another is located close to the 105th street entrance of Building 5. While these desks aren’t always staffed, campus has 24/7 security coverage. If your nearest security desk is empty, visit the Security Service Counter at 9-112 for assistance.

“It doesn’t matter where a person is. All of our staff are able to jump in and help a person in need.”

Michael Hartog, aquatics supervisor

Faculty and administrative areas 

Your third option in non-urgent situations is to drop by a faculty office or an administrative area. The HSE website states that these areas are required to maintain first aid kits. However, there is no published list of first aid kit locations, according to Longo. This means that you’re likely to find one at your nearest faculty, but it isn’t a total guarantee. “I would probably tell you to call security instead,” Longo advises.

Looking out for each other

Longo explains that MacEwan is required to have sufficient first aiders relative to its employees under the Occupational Health and Safety Code. 

“Students are not workers under that definition,” she says. “We’re required to have so many first aiders to ensure we have first aid across campus … The secondary outcome is that we have enough first aiders across campus for visitors, or students, or whomever may need first aid.” In other words, MacEwan’s first aiders are here to help students, as well. 

“We would encourage anybody that has first aid to help and respond,” says Longo.

According to the First Aid page of HSE’s website, the university has 231 first aiders, so help is never too far away. It’s just a matter of knowing where and how to get it. 

Graphics by Thai Sirikoone

Sandrine Camminga

The Griff


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