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Shrinking Volunteer Pool Puts Mounting Strains on Rural Ambulance Services

Editor’s note: This article is brought to you by your local ambulance service. It is one of a series of articles that discusses the challenges rural EMS services face in the coming years.


For years, much of the rural EMS system has relied on volunteers to staff their ambulance and first-responder emergency services. But the volunteer pool is shrinking and today’s EMS services are feeling the loss.

What’s happening to our volunteers? It’s a combination of a number of factors. Becoming a volunteer paramedic is a commitment that requires time, energy and money – three premiums that are getting harder to find due to changing, social, economic and demographic changes.

First, many of our current volunteers are from an earlier generation – a time when people’s loyalty...

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