Frequently Asked Questions about Applying to SERT

Question not answered here?  Email us at and we will attempt to answer your question to the best of our abilities.

Are SERT members all medical students?

Nope!  SERT is a team of unique individuals from every faculty on campus; only a few members are studying medicine.  Many of our members are in the faculty of science, but we have members from all faculties on campus. Though our goals and backgrounds are diverse, we are all connected by our desire to help other people.
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Are SERT members paramedics?

No.   In Ontario, a paramedic is a person who has completed a two year training course at college and passed the Advanced Emergency Medical Care Assistant exam (Source).  SERT members are trained as Red Cross Emergency Medical Responders; for more information on SERT’s training and the equipment we carry, check out our Response page.
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Do SERT members get paid?

No, SERT members are all volunteers.  However, there are employment opportunities you may apply for once you are on the team, such teaching first aid courses for SERT (though you must first be certified as a Red Cross first aid instructor).
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Do you have to stay up all night on night shifts?

No, sleeping accommodations are provided for overnight shifts.
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Does SERT ever get called to emergencies?

SERT responds to all medical 911 calls on campus 24/7 during the school year (8:30 – 4:30 pm Monday to Friday during the summer), responding to 940 calls in the 2015/2016 school year and preceding summer.
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Does SERT only take care of drunk students?

As SERT responds to all medical 911 calls on campus 24/7 during the school year (8:30 – 4:30 pm Monday to Friday during the summer), we attend a variety of illnesses and injuries and are not limited to assisting those involved with alcohol. Alcohol calls do not make up the majority of our calls.
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How does SERT know when someone needs medical assistance? Do you have to patrol campus?

The team of on-call SERT members wear radios at all times.  Campus police notifies SERT via radio if someone has requested assistance.  Special event SERT teams may be hired for large campus events (such as during O-week), but SERT members do not routinely patrol campus.
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How many new members are you taking?

Unfortunately this question is almost impossible to answer because it changes year to year based on how many senior members are graduating, the number of spots available in various parts of the application process (i.e. the EMR course) and so on.
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I have comparable first aid experience from a previous job/volunteer opportunity; does that guarantee my acceptance to SERT?

Acceptance to SERT is based on the  many factors evaluated during our 8-step application process.  So while previous experience may assist you to succeed in that process, there are no guarantees.
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I heard only people who know people on SERT are accepted onto the team, is that true?

No, SERT admission is based on our 8-step application process.  You must pass each stage of the process to move on to the next.  So, for example, if you failed to achieve the minimum grade on the First Aid/CPR (which varies yearly based on the applicant pool) you will not be invited to attend Stage 2, no matter how much current SERT members may like you.  SERT is part of the university’s tiered response system and responds to all to 911 medical emergencies on the Main, Huron, and Brescia campuses.  Acceptance based on nepotism would be unsafe.
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I’m in first year; does that mean I have no chance of joining SERT?

Acceptance on to SERT is based on many factors evaluated during our 8-step application process.  Each year SERT generally takes members at all stages in their university education process; from first year to grad school.  We do not exclude candidates based on their year of study.
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What can’t you do while on call?

Because a SERT member might receive a call at any time, you must stay on Western’s campus, and cannot do anything on call that you cannot immediately leave.  This includes: any classes/labs/tutorials with mandatory attendance, quizzes, exams, swimming, etc.
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What does the requirement a “Standard First Aid & CPR-C” or higher certification mean?

There are many different levels of both First Aid and CPR training.  “Standard” refers to the level of first aid; Standard First Aid courses are about 16 hours long and  include basic information and training about how to care for some life threatening and non-life-threatening emergencies.  Emergency First Aid is a lower level of first aid training; First Responder, Advanced Medical Responder, Emergency Medical Responder are all higher levels of first aid training.

“C” refers to the level of CPR; CPR-C courses are often paired with Standard First Aid courses and include information and training about providing first aid for choking as well as administering CPR on adults, children and babies.  CPR-A (CPR/choking care for adults only) and CPR-B are lower levels of CPR training; CPR-HCP is a higher level of CPR training (Source here, here, and here).

As long as you meet our minimum standards, SERT gives no preference to applicants with higher training but merely evaluates them at the level they are trained at.  Please look at your physical certificate to confirm you have the correct level of training before applying; applicants not meeting the minimum qualifications by the application due date will be removed from the application process regardless of their ability to pass other stages of the application.

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What’s the time commitment?  Do you have to be on call all the time?


Each SERT member is responsible to volunteer for:

  • 1 on-call shift per week (you must be available for one day, one night and one weekend each week but will only be scheduled once a week on average)
    • The on-call shifts run during the day from 8:00am to 6:00pm and overnight from 6:00pm to 8:00am, sleeping accommodations are provided for overnight shifts.
  • 1 event shift per semester.
    • Event shifts occur sporadically throughout the month and are usually only a few hours long. 

 Every SERT member is also required to attend:

  • Monthly trainings, which are 5 hours in duration
  • Bianual skills evaluations
  • 12 hour Mental Health First Aid course
    • New members only, as older team members are already certified; held early second semester

While on-call a SERT member can do regular daily activities (e.g., homework, go to main campus classes, watch a movie at Western Film) and therefore will have time to complete assignments and school work.

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