Meet Angelica Storino, the North Salem Volunteer Ambulance Corp’s new captain


North Salem resident Angelica Storino is captain of the North Salem Volunteer Ambulance Corps (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

Five years into her tenure with the North Salem Volunteer Ambulance Corp, Angelica Storino has accepted more responsibility for the safety and well-being of North Salem residents. On June 1, Storino was promoted to NSVAC captain, responsible for the 25-member all-volunteer crew.

As captain, Storino is responsible for managing most of NSVAC’s EMS operations, including keeping track of members and their training requirements, organizing paperwork and making sure that the ambulances are stocked with all necessary supplies at all times.

Angelica Storino inside the NSVAC headquarters on Daniel Drive in North Salem. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

Storino brings to the job both experience in and a passion for emergency services. The Fordham University grad is currently studying to be a physician’s assistant. She works in two area hospitals–Northern Westchester, in the emergency room, and Putnam Hospital, on a medical-surgical floor, providing care for people who are preparing for and/or recovering from surgery.

While Storino has spent the past few years immersing herself in a variety of aspects of medical care, she finds the work she does for NSVAC to be personally fulfilling.

“I really enjoy going to help people when they need it most,” Storino said. “I grew up in this town so I really enjoy giving back to the community and helping neighbors who I know. It’s different when someone is experiencing an emergency to have a neighbor come and help, rather than a stranger.”

Photo by Benjamin Allen, HudValley Photo

Perhaps surprisingly, there is no shortage of emergency calls in North Salem. Between June 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022, NSVAC responded to 592 calls, an average of 1.6 per day. Twenty years ago, that number was closer to 200 calls per year.

Storino attributed the increased call volume to a number of factors, including an aging population, the presence of two nursing homes in town and a slightly sicker population coming out of the pandemic.

“People avoided regular health visits during COVID,” Storino said. “There are people who haven’t been to a doctor in several years.”

Despite a call volume that has nearly tripled over the past two decades, NSVAC struggles to maintain enough volunteers to staff the vital organization. NSVAC relies on volunteer support 24 hours per day on weekdays. On weekends, NSVAC contracts with Westchester EMS, a nonprofit that provides mutual aid emergency response to many Westchester communities. This relationship allows for weekend relief for NSVAC members.

“A lot of people don’t understand why people choose to volunteer, to leave their families behind, but it’s all just to help the community,” Storino said. “A lot of people also think that they don’t have the time to volunteer. But we only require six hours per week. If people are willing to volunteer that small amount of time, it has an amplifying effect.”

Volunteers have the opportunity to take a variety of training, all reimbursable by NSVAC. Those include CPR, ambulance driving, and EMT courses.

Photo by Benjamin Allen, HudValley Photo

Storino said that the nature of calls NSVAC responds to tends to fluctuate with the seasons. During the warmer months, more emergencies are related to activities, such as vehicular accidents, swimming, and falls. The holiday season brings more stress-related calls, including cardiac arrests, stroke and psychiatric calls. 

How does a first responder cope when the emergencies they encounter are life or death situations? How do they stay calm and provide the necessary care? Storino said she tries to focus on what’s most important in the moment–the patient’s well-being. “You have to put aside the emotions and thoughts about what’s going to happen to this person afterward and try to give them their best shot at life.”

“It’s important work that we do here,” Storino said with a note of pride in her voice. “We’re helping people in their time of need.”

Community members who would like to learn more about becoming a NSVAC member can use the organization's contact form or call (914) 277-4944.

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