At South Jeff Rescue, everyone’s family

Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 1:15 PM EDT
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ADAMS, New York (WWNY) - EMS services can never have too many hands on deck. Services like the South Jefferson Rescue Squad welcomes new volunteers as if they’re family.

“Everybody knows everybody around here, and especially when you join here and we get new people, it’s like they’ve been here for 10 years,” EMT Justyn St. Croix said.

Since the COVID pandemic began, there has been an increased need for EMTs. South Jeff Rescue director of operations Brian Newell says that it was difficult to keep volunteers on while the pandemic was at its peak, but that didn’t stop some people.

“COVID was definitely a strain, especially when COVID first hit we didn’t know what we didn’t know and so we learned as we went through, and, you know, it was a difficult time,” Newell said. “Some of our volunteers didn’t want to volunteer at that time. They were concerned with bringing home a transmissible disease.”

“Definitely put a toll on everybody and it was hard,” St. Croix said, “but it didn’t change my desire to (keep) doing this.”

The rescue squad has multiple training programs that people can join to become a volunteer. In recent years, they’ve offered the training courses to high school students to jumpstart their EMT careers.

“You had to have the correct grades and the proper courage to do it,” St. Croix said, “so they hand selected a few of us and we went through and did it through the pilot program and it led us here to be here and start volunteering.”

If you’re interested in getting involved with South Jeff rescue squad, you only need to be 16 to join a ride-along”

“We’ve had an uptake lately with ride-alongs,” Newell said, “so we’re hoping to transition those into members.”

For more information about the training programs South Jeff Rescue Squad offers, go to southjeffersonrescue.org.