FAQ

1. How do I call MERT?
To call MERT, call 511 from any landline on-campus phone, or 215-573-3333 from any cell phone or landline within the Penn Patrol Zone (43rd to 30th streets between Market and Baltimore streets). This will connect you with a dispatcher at the Department of Public Safety, who will then dispatch MERT.

2. What happens if I call 911?
If you call 911 on or off campus, you bypass the Penn Police Department (and MERT) completely, and go straight to the Philadelphia Police Department and the fire and medical responders at the Philadelphia Fire Department. PPD and PFD will respond to your call, but since they also serve the larger West Philadelphia area, it may take them some time to arrive. By calling 511 or 215-573-333, you summon MERT and Penn Police to the scene immediately (since they have more officers in a smaller area), and PPD and PFD can then be dispatched as needed.

3. What area does MERT cover?
MERT covers the entire Penn Patrol Zone covered by Penn Police, from 43rd to 30th streets between Market and Baltimore streets.

4. When is MERT in service?
MERT is in service during the academic year from 5pm to 7am nightly on weekdays and 24/7 on weekends. In addition, MERT services university special events like Homecoming, Hey Day, Graduation, Spring Fling, and NSO. MERT also is involved in staffing club athletics games.

5. Can MERT transport?
MERT does not currently own a transport vehicle.  The Philadelphia Fire Department is dispatched simultaneously with MERT and they provide patient transport if necessary.

6. Are MERT Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) as good as ‘regular’ EMTs?
MERT EMTs are regular EMTs. All MERT EMTs are certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as EMT-Basics, exactly like “regular” EMTs who work for the Philadelphia Fire Department. In addition, many MERT EMTs work as EMTs at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and volunteer in neighboring township fire departments as EMTs.

7. Is MERT capable of handling pediatric and geriatric emergencies?
MERT is fully capable of handling pediatric and geriatric emergencies. MERT maintains fully equipped pediatric and OB/GYN bags that can be easily brought to any pediatric or OB/GYN emergency. In addition, like all PA EMTs, all MERT members are trained fully for emergencies involving all ages, including but not limited to pediatric CPR, birth complications, and geriatric-specific health problems.

8. How confidential is MERT?
MERT’s Standard Operating Protocols require absolute patient confidentiality. Without patient consent, MERT members will never discuss case details, even between members. MERT understands the importance of privacy in a close-knit campus community, and will never reveal identifying details about a patient to any outside sources not directly involved in the patient’s medical care.

9. I know some MERT EMTs, and I’m afraid that if I ever need to call the ambulance, one of them will be the one who arrives. What should I do?
As mentioned in the preceding question, all MERT EMTs take confidentiality very seriously, and you should never worry that someone you know in MERT would gossip about your case. MERT members treat every patient with the same high level of respect, and your outside relationship with a MERT member will never affect the quality of service your receive or the confidentiality of your case.

10. Will the police come if I call for MERT?
Penn Police officers from the Department of Public Safety generally attend all MERT calls to ensure the safety of the EMTs, the patient, and any bystanders.

11. If I call MERT for an alcohol or illicit drug medical emergency for myself or a friend, will either of us get in trouble?
As stated in Penn’s Medical Amnesty Policy, “No student seeking medical treatment for an alcohol or other drug-related overdose will be subject to University discipline for the sole violation of using or possessing alcohol or drugs. This policy shall extend to another student seeking help for the intoxicated student.” Therefore, if you or a friend needs help for any drug or alcohol-related emergency, be sure to call MERT to get the help you need.

12. Do MERT EMTs get paid?
MERT EMTs work on a purely voluntary basis. MERT members join MERT for a variety of reasons, but a common one they all share is the motivation to help their fellow students and community members.

13. How is MERT funded?
MERT is generously funded by the Undergraduate Assembly, the Division of Public Safety, Fox Leadership, and Student Health Services.

14. Does MERT offer CPR instruction?
Yes, MERT’s CPR instructors offer individual, group CPR and Nursing Student certification sessions.