Cedarville College began its history of emergency medical services in 1965, when Ralph Wenrick of the Wenrick Construction Co. in Medway, Ohio donated a 1939 fire truck to the college. A men's service organization known as Alpha Chi, advised by Dr. Murray Murdoch, formed the Cedarville College Fire Department consisting of 23 men and trained by the Cedarville Township Volunteer Fire Department. The Cedarville College Fire Dept. aided the township department. After several years, Alpha Chi realized that maintaining a fire department was quite expensive and the fire truck was sold. The proceeds were used by the college squad living in West Hall to convert an old station wagon, which Cedarville College donated to the squad, into an ambulance. Cedarville's fire department was thus transformed into a rescue squad, operating as a first aid/transport service. The squad was supported and maintained by Alpha Chi fundraisers and responded to calls on the college campus. The group was described as having a threefold purpose: "service for God's glory, for students and for the town."
In November of 1968, the Cedarville College Rescue Squad became the first college-based American Red Cross disaster team in the nation. The team was given the use of the "Ready Emergency Action Van III" (quite a catchy name, I think), a shelter warehouse on a semi-trailer truck equipped with 300 cots, blankets, and supplies for a Red Cross disaster shelter. The team aided victims of tornados, storms, fires, and also participated in several county-wide disaster drills. The Red Cross Eastern Area Headquarters in Washington, D.C. used the Cedarville College team as a pilot project to challenge other colleges and universities to begin their own disaster teams.
In February of 1971, Harold Rodin, chairman of the Greene County Red Cross Disaster Service, presented the Alpha Chi Rescue Squad and Disaster Team with the keys to a $4,700 Ford Red Cross van in appreciation for the group's efficiency. The van was stock piled with first aid supplies, emergency food rations, and other items necessary for the immediate care of disaster victims. The Red Cross also donated a radio communications system, jumpsuits, and gas and maintenance funds. Additionally, the Cedarville College Rescue Squad replaced the original ambulance with a partially equipped 1961 Pontiac Ambulance.
During the 1973-1974 school year, the students of Cedarville College voted to raise money to purchase a newer ambulance. In November of 1974, the Rescue Squad was able to purchase a fully equipped 1967 Cadillac ambulance. The Red Cross also presented the College Squad with another canteen van to replace the one obtained in 1971 because it was destroyed during the disaster relief in the 1973 Xenia, Ohio tornado.
In 1979, Cedarville College students once again voted to raise money to replace the now 12-year old ambulance. Through fund raising activities, students were able to raise $17,000 and a new 1978 Dodge MiniCruiser was purchased. The Dodge ambulance was able to remain in service until the fall of 1991, when it was replaced by a 1987 Ford F-350 Ambulance. This ambulance stayed in service until the fall of 2000, when the Cedarville Township Volunteer Fire Department purchased a 1991 Chevrolet Kodiak medium duty ambulance for CU-EMS. This ambulance was conveniently ushered into service when CCEMS became CU-EMS because of the name change of Cedarville College to Cedarville University. In 2008 the university purchased a new truck, a Ford E-350, 6.0 Turbo Diesel which was used until the spring of 2022. At that time a 2016 Ford F-450 Turbo Diesel 6.7 liter was purchased and placed into service.
The squad consists of up to 16 full-time students. On the Cedarville University campus, the squad can respond to an emergency scene in less than five minutes. Members are on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week during the academic year (even finals week). Squad members carry hand held radios and pagers and are notified of emergencies through the Greene County Central Dispatch Enhanced 9-1-1 system. The squad not only provides prompt first aid and emergency pre-hospital care, but is also present at many on-campus athletic events providing "stand-by" care. CU-EMS also provides services to the Cedarville community by responding as mutual aid.
Although CU-EMS has changed drastically over the years, its purpose has undoubtedly remained the same. Members of this organization share a passion not only for EMS but also for serving the Lord and serving others. An important objective of this organization is to care for not only the patient's physical needs, but also provide for their emotional needs by demonstrating compassion and comfort. It is also a goal of the squad "to provide opportunities for practical application of classroom knowledge", providing each member with valuable experience that will be utilized in their future careers. CU-EMS exists for the express purpose of providing holistic pre-hospital care for the University family and surrounding community in times of need upholding the Word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ. God has remained the foundation of this ministry and has been faithful in providing the resources and leadership needed to keep it in operation.
Cedarville University EMS ▪ 251 N Main St. ▪ Cedarville, OH ▪ 45314
937-766-7860 (Phone) ▪ 937-766-7865 (Fax) ▪ CUEMS@cedarville.edu