Critical Shortage Of 911 Volunteer EMS Workers In Rural America | NBC Nightly News


SOME 57 MILLION PEOPLE AT RISK OF LOSING VITAL MEDICAL AT RISK OF LOSING VITAL MEDICAL SERVICES. VITAL MEDICAL SERVICES. OUR JOHN TORRES AND SERVICES. OUR JOHN TORRES AND WHAT’S CAUSING THIS OUR JOHN TORRES AND WHAT’S CAUSING THIS CRITICAL SHORTAGE. WHAT’S CAUSING THIS CRITICAL SHORTAGE.>>Reporter: CRITICAL SHORTAGE.>>Reporter: 49-YEAR-OLD JARED WAS>>Reporter: 49-YEAR-OLD JARED WAS PLAYING SOFTBALL THREE 49-YEAR-OLD JARED WAS PLAYING SOFTBALL THREE YEARS AGO WHEN PLAYING SOFTBALL THREE YEARS AGO WHEN SUDDENLY HE WENT INTO YEARS AGO WHEN SUDDENLY HE WENT INTO CARDIAC ARREST. SUDDENLY HE WENT INTO CARDIAC ARREST.>>IF THERE HAD BEEN CARDIAC ARREST.>>IF THERE HAD BEEN NO AMBULANCE THERE AND>>IF THERE HAD BEEN NO AMBULANCE THERE AND THE PEOPLE HADN’T NO AMBULANCE THERE AND THE PEOPLE HADN’T ACTED THE WAY THEY THE PEOPLE HADN’T ACTED THE WAY THEY DID, I PROBABLY ACTED THE WAY THEY DID, I PROBABLY WOULDN’T BE HERE. DID, I PROBABLY WOULDN’T BE HERE.>>Reporter: BUT NOW WOULDN’T BE HERE.>>Reporter: BUT NOW IN HIS SMALL TOWN AND>>Reporter: BUT NOW IN HIS SMALL TOWN AND OTHERS LIKE IT ACROSS IN HIS SMALL TOWN AND OTHERS LIKE IT ACROSS THE U.S., A SHORTAGE OTHERS LIKE IT ACROSS THE U.S., A SHORTAGE OF VOLUNTEER EMTs IS THE U.S., A SHORTAGE OF VOLUNTEER EMTs IS PUTTING THE SERVICES OF VOLUNTEER EMTs IS PUTTING THE SERVICES ON THE VERGE OF PUTTING THE SERVICES ON THE VERGE OF COLLAPSE. ON THE VERGE OF COLLAPSE. HOW DIRE OF A COLLAPSE. HOW DIRE OF A SITUATION IS IT HERE? HOW DIRE OF A SITUATION IS IT HERE?>>EXTREMELY. SITUATION IS IT HERE?>>EXTREMELY. AND THAT’S PUTTING IT>>EXTREMELY. AND THAT’S PUTTING IT MILDLY. AND THAT’S PUTTING IT MILDLY.>>Reporter: IN RURAL MILDLY.>>Reporter: IN RURAL MARMONT, NORTH DAKOTA,>>Reporter: IN RURAL MARMONT, NORTH DAKOTA, NO ONE REMEMBERS THE MARMONT, NORTH DAKOTA, NO ONE REMEMBERS THE LAST TIME THE TOWN HAD NO ONE REMEMBERS THE LAST TIME THE TOWN HAD A DOCTOR. LAST TIME THE TOWN HAD A DOCTOR. THE AMBULANCE IS THE A DOCTOR. THE AMBULANCE IS THE COMMUNITY SAFETY NET. THE AMBULANCE IS THE COMMUNITY SAFETY NET.>>WE’RE LITERALLY ONE COMMUNITY SAFETY NET.>>WE’RE LITERALLY ONE PERSON AWAY FROM>>WE’RE LITERALLY ONE PERSON AWAY FROM CLOSING IF WE LOSE ONE PERSON AWAY FROM CLOSING IF WE LOSE ONE OF OUR EMTs, ONE OF CLOSING IF WE LOSE ONE OF OUR EMTs, ONE OF OUR CARE PROVIDERS. OF OUR EMTs, ONE OF OUR CARE PROVIDERS. WE WILL HAVE TO LOOK OUR CARE PROVIDERS. WE WILL HAVE TO LOOK AT SHUTTING DOWN AND WE WILL HAVE TO LOOK AT SHUTTING DOWN AND CLOSING OUR DOORS. AT SHUTTING DOWN AND CLOSING OUR DOORS.>>Reporter: EXPERTS CLOSING OUR DOORS.>>Reporter: EXPERTS NOW WARN CLOSE TO 1/3>>Reporter: EXPERTS NOW WARN CLOSE TO 1/3 OF ALL RURAL MEDICAL NOW WARN CLOSE TO 1/3 OF ALL RURAL MEDICAL SERVICES ARE IN OF ALL RURAL MEDICAL SERVICES ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER OF SERVICES ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER OF CLOSING DOWN. IMMEDIATE DANGER OF CLOSING DOWN.>>NOBODY WOULD EVER CLOSING DOWN.>>NOBODY WOULD EVER IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE>>NOBODY WOULD EVER IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE YOU CALL 911 AND IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE YOU CALL 911 AND NOBODY SHOWS UP, BUT YOU CALL 911 AND NOBODY SHOWS UP, BUT HERE WE ARE. NOBODY SHOWS UP, BUT HERE WE ARE.>>Reporter: AS MANY HERE WE ARE.>>Reporter: AS MANY AS 70% OF EMTs IN>>Reporter: AS MANY AS 70% OF EMTs IN RURAL AMERICA ARE AS 70% OF EMTs IN RURAL AMERICA ARE VOLUNTEERS. RURAL AMERICA ARE VOLUNTEERS. NEIGHBORS HELPING VOLUNTEERS. NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS. NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS. THIS IS ESSENTIALLY A NEIGHBORS. THIS IS ESSENTIALLY A SIDE GIG, BUT ONE THAT THIS IS ESSENTIALLY A SIDE GIG, BUT ONE THAT OCCUPIES A LOT OF SIDE GIG, BUT ONE THAT OCCUPIES A LOT OF TIME. OCCUPIES A LOT OF TIME.>>YES, SIR. TIME.>>YES, SIR. WITH THIS CONSUMES A>>YES, SIR. WITH THIS CONSUMES A LOT OF TIME. WITH THIS CONSUMES A LOT OF TIME. BETWEEN TRAINING AND LOT OF TIME. BETWEEN TRAINING AND HOURS UPKEEP. BETWEEN TRAINING AND HOURS UPKEEP. EVERY YEAR YOU HAVE TO HOURS UPKEEP. EVERY YEAR YOU HAVE TO BE TRAINED AND EVERY YEAR YOU HAVE TO BE TRAINED AND CERTIFIED. BE TRAINED AND CERTIFIED.>>Reporter: AND THEN CERTIFIED.>>Reporter: AND THEN YOU HAVE YOUR REAL>>Reporter: AND THEN YOU HAVE YOUR REAL JOBS. YOU HAVE YOUR REAL JOBS.>>RIGHT. JOBS.>>RIGHT.>>Reporter: MOST>>RIGHT.>>Reporter: MOST STATES DON’T FUND>>Reporter: MOST STATES DON’T FUND THESE SERVICE. STATES DON’T FUND THESE SERVICE. IN 39 STATES, EMS IS THESE SERVICE. IN 39 STATES, EMS IS NOT CONSIDERED AN IN 39 STATES, EMS IS NOT CONSIDERED AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE LIKE NOT CONSIDERED AN ESSENTIAL SERVICE LIKE POLICE AND FIRE. ESSENTIAL SERVICE LIKE POLICE AND FIRE. EVEN EXPERTS ARE POLICE AND FIRE. EVEN EXPERTS ARE SURPRISED THAT UP TO EVEN EXPERTS ARE SURPRISED THAT UP TO 60% ARE PAID FOR BY SURPRISED THAT UP TO 60% ARE PAID FOR BY COMMUNITY FUNDRAISING. 60% ARE PAID FOR BY COMMUNITY FUNDRAISING.>>IT’S FISH FRIES. COMMUNITY FUNDRAISING.>>IT’S FISH FRIES. IT’S THE SPAGHETTI>>IT’S FISH FRIES. IT’S THE SPAGHETTI DINNERS AT THE LOCAL IT’S THE SPAGHETTI DINNERS AT THE LOCAL CHURCH. DINNERS AT THE LOCAL CHURCH. WE’RE RELYING ON THAT CHURCH. WE’RE RELYING ON THAT AS OUR FUNDING STREAM. WE’RE RELYING ON THAT AS OUR FUNDING STREAM. ONE OF OUR MOST AS OUR FUNDING STREAM. ONE OF OUR MOST ESSENTIAL MEDICAL ONE OF OUR MOST ESSENTIAL MEDICAL SERVICES. ESSENTIAL MEDICAL SERVICES.>>I THINK WE’VE GOT SERVICES.>>I THINK WE’VE GOT TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR>>I THINK WE’VE GOT TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR VOLUNTEERS TO SERVE. TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR VOLUNTEERS TO SERVE.>>Reporter: IN VOLUNTEERS TO SERVE.>>Reporter: IN WASHINGTON, SOME>>Reporter: IN WASHINGTON, SOME LAWMAKERS ARE WASHINGTON, SOME LAWMAKERS ARE PROPOSING MEASURES TO LAWMAKERS ARE PROPOSING MEASURES TO ENTICE NEW VOLUNTEERS, PROPOSING MEASURES TO ENTICE NEW VOLUNTEERS, RANGING FROM ENTICE NEW VOLUNTEERS, RANGING FROM RETIREMENT PACKAGES TO RANGING FROM RETIREMENT PACKAGES TO FREE UTILITIES. RETIREMENT PACKAGES TO FREE UTILITIES.>>MAKING SURE THAT FREE UTILITIES.>>MAKING SURE THAT THEY GET THE BENEFITS>>MAKING SURE THAT THEY GET THE BENEFITS THAT WE WOULD LIKE TO THEY GET THE BENEFITS THAT WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE EVERY AMERICAN THAT WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE EVERY AMERICAN GET. SEE EVERY AMERICAN GET.>>SO WHAT HAPPENS IF GET.>>SO WHAT HAPPENS IF MY FAMILY IS THE ONE>>SO WHAT HAPPENS IF MY FAMILY IS THE ONE THAT NEEDS THE MY FAMILY IS THE ONE THAT NEEDS THE AMBULANCE THAT DAY, THAT NEEDS THE AMBULANCE THAT DAY, FOR WHATEVER REASON AMBULANCE THAT DAY, FOR WHATEVER REASON AND THERE IS NOBODY FOR WHATEVER REASON AND THERE IS NOBODY HERE? AND THERE IS NOBODY HERE?>>Reporter: THE HERE?>>Reporter: THE SYSTEM THAT IS>>Reporter: THE SYSTEM THAT IS SUPPOSED TO SAVE SYSTEM THAT IS SUPPOSED TO SAVE AMERICANS NOW IN NEED SUPPOSED TO SAVE AMERICANS NOW IN NEED OF A RESCUE.

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