Speed Reads

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New York teens become EMTs to solve shortage in their town

When their small town in New York needed volunteers for its ambulance service, a group of teenagers were the first to respond.

"We went from not even having our licenses to saving people's lives," Dalton Hardison told CBS News.

The teens live in Sackets Harbor, which, like many rural areas, relies entirely on volunteer EMTs. The pandemic caused a shortage of EMTs in Sackets Harbor, as the older volunteers were no longer able to work. In New York, 17-year-olds can become EMTs, and people even younger than that can serve as assistants. That's all the teens needed to hear — they quickly signed up for training, knowing they would be giving up time with friends and extracurricular activities to save lives.

Once their training was complete, the teens immediately got to work, helping their neighbors with everything from chest pains to falls. Cooper Antonson told CBS News when they show up to a call, a lot of people do ask, "Wait, how old are you?" but the teens are professional and have been able to handle the medical emergencies coming their way. "We just explain to them, we are the ambulance," Niklas Brazie said.