1996 - 1997
In October of 1988 a group of concerned students formed the "Bandaid Club" in order to raise first aid awareness on campus. Over the next three years discussions between students and various departments of the University's Administration culminated in the creation of First Aid Response (FAR) in February of 1991. The original mandate of the team was to begin operations as a backup to emergency services available at extension 2000 on campus. The UofG FAR covered all pre-scheduled intramural games and special events as requested. In the spring of 1995, a delegation from the team attended the first annual Provincial Emergency Response Team Conference at McMaster University, and in September of that year, it also began its affiliation with the university's Security Services.
In January of 1996, the team became a division of St. John Ambulance, and set new training standards at the Brigade Training System level I. The following fall, the team officially changed its name from the University of Guelph First Aid Response to the University of Guelph First Response Team. 1996 also saw the creation of the Association of Campus Emergency Response Teams (ACERT), which is a federally incorporated, charitable organization in place to support, promote, and advocate emergency care on Canadian post-secondary campuses.
Starting in January of 1997, the team began to resemble what it is today when it started its on-call service to the university. Under this system, the U of G First Response Team is part of the tiered response structure in place on campus and responds to all medical emergencies. In 1998, this service was expanded to include coverage of campus residences. The following year, the team was awarded the John F. Bassett award, the top St. John Ambulance divisional award in Ontario. The following spring, in February of 1999, Guelph also hosted the National Conference of Campus Emergency Responders (NCCER), which the annual provincial conference had grown into with the creation of ACERT.
Starting in the spring of 1999, the team finally secured baseline funding through a student levy. Until this point, all funding for the team had come through donations and awards, both public and private. In a campus-wide referendum, University of Guelph students agreed to pay $0.61 per student, per semester. This results in a yearly budget of around $17,000, depending on enrolment. The next fall, Guelph FRT hosted the first annual ACERT Mixer, an event designed to give members of campus response teams a chance to try competing, judging First Aid competitions, and/or performing the casualty simulation that is needed for competitions to take place.
In 2007, the team was awarded the Eric Snow Trophy by the St. John Ambulance Ontario Council. This is given to the SJA brigade with the second highest number of volunteer hours. When it was awarded to Guelph FRT, each member on the team averaged 520 volunteer hours for the year. A referendum was held during the 2010-2011 school year to increase the First Response Team's budget to $1.01 per student. The referendum passed with 75% of the vote, raising the Team's annual budget to around $28,000.
In 2017, FRT decided to partner with the Canadian Red Cross to receive training and become a Canadian Red Cross training partner. For our responders, the new training standard became the Canadian Red Cross First Responder level. In the following years, FRT launched a mental health referral system that allowed responders to refer patients to Student Health Services and Student Wellness on campus. Responders also started receiving training from LivingWorks ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) program.