Emergency Response Team: Undercover Heroes

By J1 Reporters Ana Hingorani & Maria Gallegos

You’ve probably heard of the Emergency Response Team all around Marian. But here’s what you don’t know.

The intercom crackles to life as teachers stop in their tracks and students snap to attention.

“Emergency Response Team to…” Somewhere, a student needs help.

For as long as students at Marian can remember, the Emergency Response Team comprised of Melissa Brusnahan, Susie Sisson, Ronda Motykowski, and Jennifer Christen have been saving the day when students, and sometimes staff, need it the most.

So what exactly is the Emergency Response Team, and what do they do? Junior Sydney Monahan has always wondered about this team. “Handles emergencies?”

According to Sisson, an English teacher who has been a member of the team since the beginning, “The purpose of the Emergency Response Team is to be the first responders in a medical emergency and to always be equipped with special training. We are always the ones who decide if an ambulance needs to be called. Each member of the team has completed CPR training and learned how to respond to a respiratory shock.

Brusnahan is certified with the American Red Cross, and she holds a refresher course is held every year. The team has been around for about 10 years, and a complex protocol for those involved when they hear their call over the intercom has evolved.

Melissa Brusnahan, Photo by Ana Hingorani

Melissa Brusnahan, Photo by Ana Hingorani

Brusnahan, the head of the team, describes her plan of attack as follows. “We (the members of the team) all go to the site, while Ms. Sisson will stop and grab the first aid kit in the teacher’s workroom which contains a book with all of the student’s health needs. Between the four members of the team, one of us usually has some sort of knowledge of each student. If the student has a health problem, the team sees it. Then we proceed to the location and see what we find.”

Knowing that this team is always around is very comforting to Monahan. “I have a pretty severe nut allergy, and knowing that these staff members will be at my side in a matter of minutes if I have an allergic reaction helps me sleep at night.”

Sisson also finds a sense of comfort with her presence on the team. “Being on the team makes me feel helpful and useful; I have a calm personality which I think is important in any crisis.”

Although both Brusnahan and Sisson confirmed students will not be allowed on the team, Sisson said, “I think it would be a really good thing if students were trained in CPR, because you never know when you may have to use it yourself.”

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