The Exchange Ambulance of the Islips Youth Squad is an organization for children ages 13 through 18. At weekly meetings Youth Squad members are taught advanced first aid at the New York State Certified First Responder level (CFR) as well as ambulance operations. Members who exhibit excellent mastery of skills compete as a team against Youth Squads from ambulance companies throughout the state. Local competitions are held as well as an annual state tournament. Starting at age 14 Youth Squad members are taught dispatching skills and work one 6 hour shift a week dispatching from our Head Quarters. Also, starting at 16 Youth Squad members are permitted to ride on the ambulance as observers for one 6-hour shift a week. It is not often that a 16-year-old can say that they have helped to save a life!
By both dispatching and riding, when a Youth Squad member turns 18 and steps up to the senior corp., they are already experienced in all aspects of ambulance operations. They are able to go through EMT class very easily as they have already mastered all most all of the skills, and make the transition to working as EMT's on their own as senior members almost instantly after becoming certified. To help reward our Youth Squad members for their hard work, they are also given 50% of their time in the Youth Squad towards their life membership in the senior corp. of Exchange Ambulance, to a maximum of 2 years. For example someone who joins the Youth Squad at age 13 and stays a member until 18 would join the senior corp. with 2 years towards their life membership.
Besides teaching first aid skills that can be used to save the life of a family member, friend, or even a stranger, the Youth Squad gives kids a way to serve their community and feel a sense of involvement and pride.
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