Arrowmen in Action: Saving Lives While Still Scouting

Back in February we pointed out a great feature in the NOAC Update Newsletter, called “Arrowmen in Action”. The first Arrowmen featured was involved with building houses in Mexico, the second serves in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, and the latest runs an EMS service.

Go to class, check. Do homework, check. Run an EMS service… check. That’s the average to-do list for Michael Pandya. Michael—a former lodge chief and section vice chief from Nakona Lodge in Texas—is a student at Rice University and works with the EMS service. “I got started with the EMS service as a freshman,” Michael says, “I took a course, really liked it and got really involved.”

He got so involved that he became Captain by the time he was 21. As Captain, he oversees all of the daily operations including staffing and equipment maintenance, the service’s educational program, which certifies students at the EMT-Basic and Intermediate levels, and anything else that comes with keeping Rice University safe. The service includes 30 staff members and provides state-licensed first responder support for the students, faculty and staff of Rice University.

Michael isn’t the only student on the staff, however. The staff is made up entirely of undergraduate students. “Our program is pretty unique in that they place a lot of trust in students with patient care,” he says. Staff members are on call for twelve hours shifts, during which they attend class and proceed through their day as usual and respond to calls as needed. Because the service doesn’t have an ambulance, staff members respond in vehicles ranging from an SUV to a bike to their own two feet. Despite their sometimes low-tech modes of transportation, their average call time is just three minutes—something Michael is proud of. “We provide comparable service—if not better service—than other EMS services in our area.”

Supervisors like Michael are assigned to work a 24-hour shift, which requires him to keep his radio and pager on at all times. “Sometimes it can be really busy and others really slow,” he says. “You can go three days without a call and then the next day is absolutely busy.” Although he enjoys the adrenaline that comes with the job, he doesn’t enjoy the paperwork that follows each call.

And how does he manage to run an EMS service and stay involved in Scouting? “I learned a long time ago that sleep is optional,” he says. Michael says sometimes he has to spend spurts of time on Scouting and focus on his EMS duties at other times. No matter what he’s doing, he’s always working.

In the future, Michael would like to attend medical school and maybe specialize in emergency medicine. But in the short-term, he has no plans to leave the EMS service. “I want to keep riding on an ambulance for a long time.” Whatever Michael does, he’ll use The Power of One…will you?

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