As the demand for healthcare rises, the number of first responders answering calls for help has not. The EMS shortage is an issue you could face when you call 911 for help, especially for people living in rural areas.
That's because crews often rely on volunteer EMS and firefighters for emergency calls. As it turns out, few people are willing and able to give their time to volunteer. These volunteers do get paid, but it is per call.
Spokane County Fire District 3 is no exception to the shortage. They say 70 to 80 percent of their calls are medical related.
Across the district, they have about 120 volunteers, but the district says that's still not enough.
"We cover approximately 570 square miles," said Dustin Flock, the division chief with District 3.
The district also has 11 stations in Spokane County, covering about a third of the county.
"The people that are calling in that are having that worst day, they're hoping that and expecting that somebody shows up," said Flock.