The newly formed First Response Club at University of Virginia plans to educate the community-at-large on first responder medical care and provide training on CPR, AEDs, and bleeding control. Their efforts are sponsored by Dr. William Brady, from UVA’s Department of Emergency Medicine, and the Club is currently in the process to become a CIO. Their philosophy: prepare bystanders to help while waiting for emergency responders to arrive.

First Response Club focuses on education, outreach, and research

Club volunteers will reach University students through information tables and training sessions on Grounds. They also hope to extend training to community members by partnering with local organizations. Through these efforts, the Club hopes to aid information retention so that bystanders are responsive and ready during emergency situations.

Alice Thomson, NREMT-A, and Lucian Mirra, M.Ed., NRP lead the club. Both leaders are trained in and passionate about emergency preparedness.

First Response Club of UVA volunteers Alice and Lucian present on emergency preparedness

Local hero and First Response Club leader: Alice Thomson

Alice is a captain and engine/tower operator at Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department. She is also a squad operator and EMT for the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad.

Alice continues to train as a first responder because she loves knowing what to do in emergencies. It’s also why she is so passionate about the First Response Club’s goal of educating the community’s immediate responders, those who are on scene before emergency responders arrive.

When we educate the community on basic, life-saving skills, it brings us closer together. If one person’s life is saved by a bystander educated by the Club, then our efforts are absolutely worth it. — Alice Thomson, First Response Club President

She will soon graduate with a Masters of Public Policy (MPP) from UVA’s Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. After graduation, she plans to start the University’s MSN/CNL (nurse leadership) program in May. Together, these degrees combine her love of public health policy with her skills as a patient care provider. Through this route, she hopes to help underserved communities gain access to high quality and affordable healthcare.

Local hero and First Response Club leader: Lucian Mirra

Lucian Mirra, M.Ed., NRP, started as an EMT in 2004 and became a paramedic in 2008. He worked as a career firefighter/paramedic before returning to grad school at UVA where he earned a Masters of Education. In his work for the University as the Emergency Management Coordinator, Lucian led the effort to expand the University’s AED program, increasing the number of AEDs from 180 to nearly 300 since 2014.

Lucian brought his desire to increase awareness of CPR, AED, and bleeding control with him when he returned to UVA to complete medical school prerequisites. Forming the First Response Club seemed like a logical fit for Lucian, who says his main motivation was losing his dad to sudden cardiac arrest when he was 18. “I can’t bring him back, but if I can effect change that helps one person survive, it is worth it,” he says.

Make a difference with First Response Club at UVA

University of Virginia First Response Club logo

To get involved with the First Response Club, participate in their meetings and events. Spread awareness by sharing first response information however you can–via word-of-mouth, social media, e-mail, etc.

Community partners can host events, sponsor projects, distribute information, help with advertising, and participate in meetings. The club accepts donations of food, pocket masks and tourniquets, bleeding kits, as well as print materials and incentives.

Send questions and comments regarding the First Response Club by email to Alice,, and/or to Lucian,

September 2019 Update

The First Response Club renewed their CIO membership for the full academic year. The Activities Fair was a huge success, with about 150 people expressing interest in the Club; there were 20 new people at the first meeting of the year. A first “CPR for Donuts” event on the Lawn successfully taught about 20 students to perform correct, hands-only CPR!

The Club will partner with the Charlottesville Public Schools Physical Education Coordinator to help teach CPR in the spring. Additionally, Noah Hillstrom, the Chief of the Charlottesville- Albemarle Rescue Squad, will certify some members of the club as CPR instructors.

Keep up the great work, FRC!