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A recent survey shows that a concerning number of students do not know how to contact Penn’s Medical Emergency Response Team.

The survey was conducted by MERT in order to increase awareness on campus and clarify questions that many students have. The first part of the survey gauged what students know about MERT, and the second part of the survey asked what their experiences had been when they called MERT.

“People did know a good deal of information about MERT, but they are still unclear of certain key aspects,” Maxwell Presser, MERT chief and College senior, said.

According to Laura Di Taranti, MERT equipment officer and College junior, many students are unclear on how to reach MERT. . She stressed that students should contact MERT by calling the Penn Police, not 911.

Since learning this, “we realized that the best way for people to get in touch with MERT was to store the [Penn police number] under MERT in their cell phones,” Presser said.

Related: MERT trains responders for mass casualties

Many people also had little knowledge about the hours when MERT is in service.

“A lot of people thought that if they called at 3:30 p.m., MERT would respond, which is not true,” said Di Taranti. She explained that MERT is in service 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day of the academic year and does not respond to daytime calls.

Presser and Di Taranti also wanted to ensure that students understand that MERT is a resource meant to help and not a patrol unit, out looking for patients. Mert is only dispatched when it receives calls through the Penn Police.

However, according to the survey, students do know several fundamental aspects of MERT.

Eighty-one percent of participants understood that MERT can reach a student anywhere within the Penn Patrol Zone, and 82 percent of students knew that MERT members are EMTs.


“We all go through 180 hours of training, and we have the real EMT-B certification through the State of Pennsylvania and that’s for every single one of our members,” Presser said.

Related: MERT recognized as licensed Pennsylvania agency

The survey also showed that students understood that MERT could respond to all forms of medical emergencies, not just alcohol-related ones.

The organization plans to tailor their campaigns based on what students knowledge about MERT.

“Our goal was to structure these questions around common misconceptions to see what people know and don’t know,” Presser said.

“As a result [of the survey], we are able to look out into the community and work on understanding the way the Penn students perceive of our organization and need us to function,” Samantha Stein, MERT member and College junior, said.

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