The Medical Emergency Response Team will, for now, remain on bikes.
MERT’s request to add an SUV-type vehicle to their lineup — which received unanimous support in an Undergraduate Assembly resolution in September — has administrators on board to consider the idea, but it may take more time than originally expected to get an executive decision.
Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said there are many legal issues to consider before going forward with purchasing a vehicle.
“There is a discussion about what the next step may be for MERT,” said Rush, adding that they are currently looking at a “five-year plan” for MERT’s future.
MERT Chief and College and Wharton senior Sourav Bose said they have been meeting with their sponsors and that “whatever happens, it’s going to be a conversation between everybody involved.”
“Of course, in an ideal world, we’d be able to serve the University in the biggest way possible. We just have to work out everything else first,” he said.
MERT adviser and graduate student Ryan McCormick voiced a similar understanding of the situation.
“MERT recognizes that this transition requires extensive planning, and ultimately will be a process that takes several years,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Our aim is to demonstrate continued sustainability and clearly establish long-term goals for the organization.”
The request came as part of MERT’s aim to become certified as a Quick Response Service in the state of Pennsylvania. The changes in regulations for certification that MERT cited as set to change are now slated to go into effect in February 2012, Rush said.
However, she believes that the 2012 date “doesn’t make or break the car issue.”
McCormick noted that while a vehicle is not currently an explicit requirement for certification, MERT will need to “ensure that all equipment and supplies required by the guidelines could be transported to an emergency scene by alternative means” — in which a vehicle may play a role. Bicycles may not be sufficient for the equipment requirements.
Rush’s Executive Assistant Kevin Rurak said the next year and a half will bring legal changes that may affect MERT, and that a possible vehicle is “one of the components that we’d consider anyway.”
Rush stressed that the vehicle is “not the be-all end-all of MERT,” but rather “one of many components” of its continued success.
“I don’t see MERT going away,” she said.