The VICE Guide to Right Now Podcast

Why Rural Communities Are Struggling to Provide Emergency Services

As more and more people leave small towns for the city.

by VICE Staff
Jan 11 2019, 5:51pm

Volunteer firefighter Sam Cardarelli sits on a fire truck. Photograph by Justin Tang

Sam Cardarelli is a volunteer firefighter in the rural town of Clarence-Rockland, Ontario—the same Canadian city where he grew up. When he's not at his full-time job or taking care of his family, he answers emergency calls in his spare time. In such a small, tight-knit community, these emergencies often involve folks Sam knows. The work can be grueling, and very personal, but unlike firefighting in bigger cities, Sam doesn't receive benefits or a retirement fund for his time. Despite these challenges, Sam and his colleagues know that if they don't do the job, no one will.

As VICE's Ben Makuch wrote in a recent story for VICE Magazine, Sam isn't alone. As more and more people move out of rural communities and into cities, small towns across the US and Canada are struggling to provide vital emergency services. On this episode of The VICE Guide to Right Now Podcast, we talk to Makuch—who is Sam Cardarelli's cousin—about how rural communities are grappling with the problem.

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