A group of teenagers are the only paramedics available in the rural town of Sackets Harbor, New York, as the current pandemic wiped out the older EMTs, who were already struggling under COVID-19 calls. According to the story from NPR, every person on the current crew is under the age of 21.

From the story transcript: “Three teenage boys were shouldering an almost unfathomable burden – responding to heart attacks and car accidents and suicides, transporting COVID-19 patients to the nearest city hospital. In New York, like many states, 17-year-olds can become certified EMTs. Niklas Brazie was surprised he was allowed such responsibility.

NIKLAS BRAZIE: My first call as a certified EMT was a suicide. So that kind of kind of woke me up.

FEIEREISEL: He says it was never an option for the three of them to stop running the town’s ambulance, but they were also all working paid positions as firefighter EMTs nearby in bigger population centers. It got to be too much. They were constantly calling for backup ambulances from the nearest city. They felt so guilty doing that.

GRAYDEN BRUNET: It can be up to a 20-minute response time. And for someone who is in cardiac arrest, they’re just not going to survive that 20 minutes.”

The crew runs the ambulances no matter what; their high school allows them to leave class whenever a call comes in.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

SOURCE: The Rural Blog, NPR