FILE PHOTO: CHARLIE LOWE/THE HOYA Construction detours caused GERMS to develop new ambulance routes.
Construction detours caused GERMS to develop new ambulance routes.

The Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service has cited slight increases in response times related to the closure of Library Walk and Tondorf Road because of the construction of the Northeast Triangle Residence Hall and the renovation of the former Jesuit residence.

GERMS has had to reroute its traffic on the now closed Tondorf Road to West Road, which runs parallel to Tondorf. All patients from south campus now reach MedStar Georgetown University Hospital via West Road.

“Though the construction has proved to be a minor inconvenience, we are still able to respond to calls and transport all patients to the hospital in a timely manner,” GERMS Captain Brian Monahan (COL ’15) and GERMS President Kathryn Stefos (COL ’15) wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Our night response times have increased slightly, but our response times during the day and response times to double dispatches remain close to our normal average.”

Monahan and Stefos also said that the construction of Village C West has been a small inconvenience, since GERMS ambulances are usually parked in front of the residence hall.

“Most construction activities have simply altered our normal procedures slightly,” Monahan and Stefos wrote. “We have been given notice when we would need to move our ambulances.”

The Georgetown University Police Department and the Department of Emergency Management and Operational Continuity both said that the construction and road closures have had almost no impact on their operations.

GUPD relies primarily on foot officers who are able to easily bypass any construction detours. Only a few vehicles are on patrol at any given time while the majority of patrols are on foot or bike, according to GUPD Police Chief Jay Gruber.

GUPD’s response time of one to two minutes for all emergency calls has remained steady even with the construction closures, Gruber said.

“Response times haven’t been affected because the officers can still access the areas around the construction pretty easily,” Gruber said. “The construction is an inconvenience for the campus, but as far as my department is concerned, it doesn’t affect the safety and security of the campus or our community on campus.”

GUPD has the ability to make any of the closed roads accessible to emergency services within minutes, according to Gruber. Because of this Gruber said that the construction would pose no obstacle to a major campus emergency.

GERMS, GUPD and the Department of Emergency Management and Operational Continuity have been in regular communication with Planning and Facilities Management regarding closures. Additionally, GERMS meets twice a week to receive updates from DEMOC.

In the event of a major campus emergency such as a fire or shooting, DEMOC has drafted a response plan titled “Initiative on Life Safety,” which details dozens of potential emergency response issues, according to Vice President for Planning and Facilities Management Robin Morey. The plan offers specifics on how the university would give D.C. emergency services such as the D.C. Fire Department and the Metropolitan Police Department access of closed construction areas.

“DEMOC has worked closely with … campus partners and external emergency responders to develop detailed campus maps and floor plans with up-to-date and accurate site drawings that incorporate campus access routes, construction activity, and critical infrastructure information,” DEMOC Director Thomas O’Regan wrote in an email to The Hoya.

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