When people call for an ambulance in Sackets Harbor, New York — and the crew shows up at their door — almost everyone has the same reaction.
“A lot of people just come up and ask you, ‘Wait, how old are you?'” Cooper Antonson said.
“‘You’re the EMT?!'” Grayden Brunet said of how people have reacted.
“We just explain to them — we are the ambulance,” Niklas Brazie said.
These baby-faced first responders took over the town’s Emergency Medical Services not long after COVID-19 hit, when all the older EMS volunteers either couldn’t — or wouldn’t — do the job anymore.
That exodus is part of a national trend. In rural America, 35% of ambulance services are all-volunteer. And 69% of those departments say they’re struggling to find help.
Fortunately, in Sackets Harbor, desperation led to inspiration.