"We're heading to a motor vehicle accident," called Jason Groff, the paramedic driving the ambulance.
Excuse Nsikak's zeal for the situation. The 18-year-old Hempstead resident was on his first ride-along. And while the response to the car crash - a nonviolent collision on Fulton Street in Hempstead - was more precautionary than urgent, it gave him a glimpse of what emergency medical technicians do every day.
It was the first of three calls that gave Nsikak hands-on experience with his studies in the Explorers Program of the Northwell Health Center for Emergency Services (CEMS).
A partnership between Northwell and the Village of Hempstead, the program gives teenagers free EMS mentorship and training. At twice-monthly meetings, participants engage in scenario-based learning and work toward certification in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
"We reenact a car accident and have the students treat patients. We reenact a mass casualty incident and have them do triage," said Bernard Robinson, CEMS operations manager and Explorers director. "Some of it is lecture-based, but the way to learn is by doing it."
Developing skills not traditionally gained in an academic setting, students may focus on fracture management and how to splint broken arms and legs, or on controlling blood loss.
"I learned a lot about first aid," said Nsikak, who is pursuing an engineering degree at Hofstra University. "They gave us different techniques in CPR and how to save lives."